2020 Tech and Marketing Trends Distilled

It’s a new year, a new decade(?), so you know what that means: it’s trend time! We dusted off our crystal ball (not to be confused with our Cristal Ball) and took a peek at the future of marketing. Here’s what we saw (actual footage above).

Techlash: The Fallout

It’s been a rough time for platforms, fire hose marketers, and data vacuums lately. Enough scandals have piled up that users seem legitimately interested in their privacy and data security. A mix of regulations, technical changes at the browser level, and ad blocker use is going to make it more difficult to track users around the web and will shake up the current status quo. 

How should you adapt? Provide value and service via your marketing. It’s about messaging transparently, having people opt in to your movement, and providing value to them through content. Or, it’s the opposite of spam. Treat your marketing and messaging as an invitation, not an offer they can’t refuse.

These changes, in tandem with some device trends, could mean it’s time to start thinking beyond the screens. Eyeballs are so 2010s.

The Robots Cometh

What will replace our love affair with screens? Robots! (we are contractually obligated to mention robots at least once per quarter) 

Improvements in voice assistants and chatbots, machine learning capabilities (especially on consumer devices), and devices like smartwatches and headphones becoming increasingly robust could lead to a shift from screens to a more ambient form of technology. Like Radio 2.0: now with screens too!

In the more immediate future, we should have a growing number of toys that utilize machine intelligence to give us more ways to automate different tasks, both internally and externally. 

Venture into the Dark Forests

Another trend arising from the shine fading from social media and similar algorithms? The growth of “dark forests”. Sounds ominous, right? It’s not, it’s just a fancy term for mediums like email newsletters, podcasts, private groups, and other non-broadcast messaging platforms. People increasingly want the information they’re interested in waiting for them when they’re ready versus bombarding them, and usually without a comment stream of sadness attached. They want community, not trolls with megaphones.

Does this mean social media is dead? No, but it is changing. Or at least we need to change our approach to it, especially as organic reach continues to decline. Approach these as focused content and story platforms more than broader social connecting.

Fly Your Flag

You know what is in your control? Your brand, story, and the content you create. Yes, your brand and story can change and transform once they hit the public domain, but it is still your brand. Tools and tactics change over time but the strength of content and stories endures. Craft your anthem and build a storytelling platform around it, with a focus on the channels you own.

Own the Moment

Gone are the days of the monoculture and the cultural moment. That one thing we all watch or hear. Our approach to marketing needs to reflect this reality. Customers move through a series of micro-moments in which we can message them, small windows of opportunity to catch their attention. These moments typically occur as they’re exploring on mobile, avoiding ads, in control, and expect to be able to act with the touch of a button. You have to utilize the other trends above to craft and deliver messaging that fit these moments and start a conversation.

Trends 2020 Distilled: Respect your customers. Own your channels. Tell your story.

What do you think we should expect in the future?