We take a look back at what worked, what didn’t, and what’s sticking around.
Out with the old, in with the new. This phrase isn’t just ubiquitous with hopeful new year’s resolutions; it’s become an adage to live by for the marketing industry. Nothing bright and shiny seems to stay that way very long, whether we’re talking about a tech innovation or a social platform. With trends ever in flux, and with January just about in the rear view, Team Mindstream has looked to the past to figure out the future.
Hear from three subject matter experts on what 2018 trends are subject to shift, along with forecasting for 2019 trends. Our panel includes Chelsea Lord (Sr. Art Director), Hallie Pendergast (Sr. Social Strategist) and Sarah Kahley (Sr. Strategist). As a collective representing many areas and disciplines of the business, they offer a helpful macro view of everything you need to know, follow, and implement this year. Let’s get started, shall we?
Just about every forward-thinking brand put chat bots to use in 2018—and they had every reason to. The AI solution is cost-effective thanks to so many options currently in market, and it’s a simple way to provide customer service or straightforward calls to action. An obvious limitation? The “human” side of the technology is still evolving. “I foresee them sticking around and becoming smarter and even more human this year,” says Lord. Chat bot front-runners able to cut through the saturated market with an even more intuitive, person-like program will be onto something big.
For a long time the universe has screamed for more and more content. Last year, the cosmic stew of content consumption finally boiled over. Just because you’re putting content out there doesn’t mean it’s of value. Pendergast echoes the sentiment with, “I’ve realized that if you have to force yourself to come up with interesting content just because you think you need to post to Facebook five times a week, it’s probably not interesting content at all.” She says this idea transcends personal opinion—all one needs to do is look to their engagement rates. We’re sure there will still be more content than ever in 2019, though we think quality versus quantity is catching on with even some of the biggest brands.
As a marketing artifact, Personas have been used for decades. In 2018 they enjoyed a resurgence among brands and agencies alike. However, they remain just a piece of a much larger puzzle. They’re still not telling us everything we need to know about customers; perhaps that’s because they’re not supposed to or simply can’t. “It’s not just a box to check,” says Kahley. “Personas need to provide actionable insight into a segment of the customer base.” 2019 may find Personas becoming more targeted, increasingly actionable, and no longer thought of as a be-all, end-all solution.
Customer experience and design drive everything we do at Mindstream. Part of creating a stunning, user-friendly site experience is making sure they’re as accessible as possible. Page load speed, for creators everywhere, has long been a detriment to this need. But we’re happy to say the days of bulky, image-heavy sites are on the retreat. Lord cites Google as a huge factor in this with their pushing of AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) and updating their search engine with mobile-first indexing. “Increased load speeds will push UX design and development forward this year,” she offers optimistically. “It will help us maintain something that is functional for the user and aesthetically pleasing.”
Pendergast admits that Story Ads aren’t really a new feature in the social space, but she’s already thinking about how they’ll benefit future strategies after a year of mass popularity. “They’re a fun and creative way to get quick, timely content in front of your audience instantly,” she chimes in. And not only is there endless opportunity present, but platforms are always rolling out new functionality. Because Stories are not the same placement as the feed, the unique strategy and perspective required means anything is possible for brands making good use of them.
There’s a lot going on in the world. A lot. If last year wasn’t a testament to brands getting behind what they believe in, we don’t know what is. Major players like Coca-Cola and Walmart have taken a stand, and effectively helped pave the way for other brands to feel confident in doing so. Kahley says cause marketing is only going to grow in popularity in 2019. “I look forward to seeing who jumps in next and owns it, regardless of the backlash.” Going back to creating quality content over quantity, cause marketing is an opportunity to infuse your brand messaging with relatability and a human perspective.
Do these trends inspire you as much as they do us? If so, check out our current open positions. We’re always on the lookout for talented people wanting to innovate in the marketing space. Get a feel for our office while you’re at it.