The marketing landscape is undergoing a period of unprecedented change. Some of the biggest online/consumer brands, including Not On The High Street, Uber, Deliveroo and Snapchat gave a rare insight into their marketing strategies at Mad Fest 2018, a conference where marketeers discuss the future of their craft. In summary, it’s a case of ‘out with the old and in with the new, innovative and different’. Here, Difference Collective consultant, Claire Delplancq reveals the top five marketing trends for 2019:


1. Creativity, creativity, creativity

Targets, KPIs, reports and data may be at the heart of marketing strategies. But the importance of creativity was very much on the minds of many speakers. Although you can use data and technology as much as you want, if the creative concept has been neglected then the campaign will fail.

Nick Bamber, Digital Media Director at Missguided, warned that people don’t just want to see adverts anymore. This means marketers need to concentrate on creative ways to bring the right message to the right audience in the right place and at the right time. But customers will accept ads if they are relevant – which is why Missguided concentrated its efforts on native advertisement during the Love Island TV show and on social media.

But according to Patrick Meehan, Senior Vice President at RevJet, despite investments in media optimisation not paying off like it used to anymore, most of the investment is still dedicated to media planning rather than the creative process.

Penny Parnell, of Not On The High Street and thought leader of all things creative, insisted that people must go beyond tech-driven solutions in order to inspire customers with meaningful creativity. She encouraged the audience to invent more imaginative methods to segment people, show more respect to the customers and make them ‘feel’ something. “Get technically sophisticated with the creative,” she concluded.


2. Personalisation is key

Messages need to be personalised and the content needs to be on the right platforms to deliver value to customers in productive and nonsalesy ways. In fact, according to a 2018 Salesforce study, 52 per cent of consumers would switch away from non-personalised communications and 65 per cent said that personalisation influences their brand loyalty. This means marketers cannot rely solely on automated activities – they need to trust their human instinct as they develop the campaign ensuring that personalisation is done in a tasteful, flexible manner.

According to Parnell: “Personalised content can be personalised but it is not always personal, which can be creepy.” A good personalised experience should feel tailor-made for you, save you time and money, reach you at your convenience, knows what you like and delivers truthful content, she explained.

With people scrolling through around an astonishing 93 metres of content each day, our attention span is getting shorter and most ads are now ignored. Talking about his work with Uber, Paul Greenep, Managing Director at Iris, said that in order to grab the attention of the audience through the content “noise”, marketers now need to focus their attention on their audience’s life flow and adapt to where daily activities take their customers.

Martin Verdult, Managing Director at Media Monks shared a great case study about how they created a dynamic video content campaign for Netflix adapting its message to the audience location, culture and situation – from a professional setting to leisure.


3. The traditional platforms do not work anymore

Most speakers were brutally honest about the fact that traditional platforms such as TV and radio don’t work anymore. For a brand to be relevant today, it needs to concentrate its efforts and resources on delivering customer experiences. Marketers face new challenges with new devices being constantly introduced and the associated fragmentation.

Colin Kavanagh, Global Vice President Marketing at Pernod Ricard, explained that with technology changes growing at an exponential rate, now is the time to embrace digital marketing. He shared a staggering figure: three years ago all Pernod Ricard budget was spent on traditional media. Today 75 per cent of the budget in the US is now spent on digital.

“The usual formats are no longer working. Funnelling all your marketing budget into TV won’t build brand love in 2018. In short, don’t sell to your audience, engage with them,” according to Cameron Worth, founder of SharpEnd.


4. Team integration is essential to the success of a project

Long gone are the days where the creative team does its thing and then hands it over to the media team and account managers to deploy. Today, the traditional model of content production is disrupted and agencies need to make sure that all the customer touch-points are involved in the process.

Dan Thwaites, Chief Strategy Officer at Tug Agency, explained that to avoid creating beige content for people to consume, we need to embrace difference. Look for different skills and get different people to truly work together.

It is important to empower and enable the local market team to do what they are good at acknowledged Kelly McConville, Head of Content & Social Media EMEA at Uber. They are the experts and they know their market better than anyone.


5. Influencer marketing will keep growing

Love them, hate them, influencers are not going anywhere, if anything they will work more and more closely with brands. In a sea of fake followers and bots, there is some good news and most speakers believe that technology will help push out the fraudulent users in favour of quality content creators.

Adam Williams, Chief Revenue Officer at Takumi, reminded the audience that we have always used celebrities and big names, but one thing that has changed is social media. He recommended working with micro-influencers for engagement and big influencers if you want to reach a broad diverse audience. He also explained that influencer fraud – fake followers and bots – was driven by the rapid growth of Instagram and because people focused only on follower count. He emphasised on the importance for marketers to identify great content creators with high engagement and good follower ratio instead of looking at the number of followers.

Lauren Spearman, Digital Manager at Benefit, shared Influencer Marketing tips, advising to concentrate on building good long-term human relationships. She also highlighted the importance of embracing the content creator’s vision and creativity. Instead of dictating what the influencer content should be, leverage their talent and give them creative freedom. If your budget is low, think of value exchange – what can you give the influencer and what can they give you in return? Finally, don’t be afraid to reflect, review and revise when needed.

Time to put our creative hats on and adopt all things digital as us marketers will be busy following these 5 marketing trends in 2019!

About the Author

Claire Delplancq is a PR and Digital Communications Manager with more than seven years’ experience working for a leading healthcare technology company and with NHS Trusts. She is also a travel, interior and beauty content creator, the founder of Claire Imaginarium, a lifestyle blog, and a Difference Collective consultant.

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