27th November 2018

2019 – the year marketing really enters the Age of Human?

Marketing and communications professionals came together at the event we hosted recently with marketing agency Junction at Soho Farmhouse. Personalisation was one of the industry trends that dominated discussions as we explored how to close the gap between sales and marketing activity.

CubanEight MD, Sian Gaskell reminded us in her opening remarks what a tumultuous year 2018 has been. As UK plc faces challenges as diverse as Brexit and the gender pay gap, marketers are navigating a brave, new, post-GDPR world with a shifting media landscape where our ‘on demand’ expectation is changing how we all consume content.

These are challenging times for marketers. How will we cut through to ensure our brand messages are the ones that get heard? How will we engage our target audiences? In short, how will we truly connect with individual customers or prospects?

There are a number of new methods emerging to assist marketers who are under increasing pressure to do more with less in 2019 as marketing budgets come under ever closer scrutiny to ensure greater ROI amidst rising business demands.

Steve Kemish Managing Partner of Junction pointed out that B2B marketers must keep abreast of technology trends. From connected fridges to Amazon’s Alexa, there’s a growing number of new devices infiltrating our homes. While these gadgets may seem a far cry from many people’s professional lives, these technologies are evolving rapidly and will have an impact on how brands interact with people – both in B2C and B2B communications.

AI already exists to help marketers choose the most effective subject lines for emails, to crunch vast amounts of data quickly and accurately, and to create the most compelling video content to engage viewers. These kind of emerging uses of AI are already improving the effectiveness of communication and saving man hours. Today’s marketers should be looking at how they can augment their people with technology in the future.

But, far from robots taking over the world, a human touch will remain essential to marketing in 2019. While the number of possible touchpoints between brands and their customers continues to grow, truly connecting with an individual to influence their behaviour remains the ultimate marketing goal.

Central to 2019 B2B marketing strategies should be an understanding of how customers and prospects want to be engaged with. Every business purchase involves a range of decision makers whom brands need to influence, and each of them typically consumes 3-5 pieces of content during their research process before even contacting a supplier. The role of compelling content has never been more important, especially in the B2B space. The opportunity for brands to become a trusted, invaluable source of information on their area of expertise has never been clearer.

There’s a growing need for brands to be truly authentic and human, a need for creative storytelling that will bring a brand proposition to life and resonate with today’s consumer.

By all means, use technology to give you greater insight, to augment your content creation and to connect with your target customer – but remember the human element. At the heart of every personalised marketing campaign is a person.