Top trends in digital marketing and what remains constant (digital marketing part 5)

June 13, 2019 ATB Financial

Two peoples’ hands holding a phone and pen on a desk with a computer and documents.

Digital marketing trends are always changing, but there are some constants in all of the noise. Staying on trend while remaining true to your brand in your digital marketing efforts can be tricky and exhausting. Luckily, four digital marketing specialists who sat down with us during our EMERGE summit gave guidance on just that balance. Want more of their advice? Take a look at the first, second, third, and fourth articles in this series.

Our panelists included Andrea Gibson, Account Director at Vovia, a premier marketing and media buying agency based in Calgary; Neil Smith, ATB’s Senior Manager, Digital Conversion; Tyler Butler, ATB’s Senior Manager of Story and Karl Yeh, who leads Brookfield Residential’s digital marketing program in Alberta and has worked in the digital marketing field for more than 10 years.

Here’s their final piece of advice for digital marketing in 2019:

Digital marketing is always changing—but some things are constant through the trends

When it comes to the digital world, something is always trending. Our experts weighed in on the digital marketing trends they’re seeing in 2019:

Karl recommended that entrepreneurs take a look at social channels that may not be “popular” for their industry. When it came to Brookfield, he focused on ranking organically for search on YouTube instead of trying to fight the noise of Google Search, since no one in his industry was utilizing that platform.

He also pointed out that one-on-one messaging with customers on social media platforms has gained traction.

Facebook just merged Instagram DM, WhatsApp and FB Messenger, so they all have the same backend. When Karl looked at how he conn I look at how he connects with customers regularly, he says that he uses those one-on-one messaging platforms and Slack way more than he uses email—he only uses email if he has to.

“I’m sure they’ll try to monetize this in some way,” Karl hypothesized. “But it’s a way to have a more authentic conversation vs. email—you check that instantly, whereas there are gaps of time between emails.”

Tyler agrees, encouraging entrepreneurs to scope out less mainstream social channels like Quora or Reddit to gain traction. He also agrees that one-on-one messaging is key to interacting and creating meaningful connections with customers. 

Andrea gave insight from a digital advertising perspective. “We’ve been keeping our eye on voice search. With so many people having Google Homes, Alexa, etc, they’re using that to search for answers. Also there’s a trend in terms of privacy—people are becoming more and more conscious of the information that they’re giving out online.” This can make targeting ads more tricky, as people aren’t sharing personal information the way they used to.

Neil’s take is a little more intangible and applies to trends in general.

He reminds us that time is the one resource that none of us can get more of, so when it comes to using digital marketing tools, important that you’re finding the right ones to spend your time on. And there are technology tools that can help you save time. But using technology for efficiency comes with a reminder from Neil.

“The second your work is costing you a bunch of time or you’re confused on how to work a technology, there are a ton of resources out there,” Neil shared. “Rely on searching the internet and researching these things, because that will help you spend your time more effectively by knowing how to properly work the tools you’ve got.

“It’s going to get more and more complex, more and more niche, more and more noisy, and my fear is that we’ll run out of time to stay on top of it. So find ways that make sense for you, and you’ll be able to stay on top of the trends.”

One last word of encouragement from Neil:

“Digital marketing is unfortunately filled with buzzwords, and there’s something new every day. It will be impossible to always be up to date. But I think if you’re authentic and your personalize your messaging, and you understand your customers and you’re telling great stories, then those marketing principles will translate into digital.

The beautiful thing about digital is that we don’t have these massive audiences anymore—you can get to an audience of one. But it’s only relevant if you have a message made for that one person. So really focus on understanding your customers, and then digital just becomes a set of new channels for you.”

There will be new channels every day, we guarantee it. But if you know your customers, you can find them on any channel and tell them a great story.

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If you’re looking for more advice to help you with your business, our Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting a Business is full of resources and advice for emerging entrepreneurs like you.
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