Marketing trends for 2020

Updated: Dec 23, 2019

Yes, it's that time of the year again. Time to map some significant marketing trends for 2020. Do you want to stay ahead of the curve? Then read on!

Back in 2018, I wrote a similar article, covering trends like chatbots, video marketing, voice search, Machine learning, AR and influence marketing. Most of those trends have already come to fruition. So I won't be tackling them in this article. 

Now let's have a look at some exciting developments that will have an influence on 2020 marketing.

#1 Google's BERT update

The algorithm update rolled out mid-October and will in the first instance have an influence on English search queries. BERT stands for "Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers." Basically, BERT allows Google to understand words in the context of search queries better. Search queries are getting more conversational by the day, according to Google, 27% of the global online population is using voice search on mobile. Additionally, Active users of the Google Assistant grew 4X over the past year. 

Now how does BERT work? 

The algorithm uses pattern recognition to understand better how human beings communicate so that it can return more relevant results for users. It helps Google to understand better subtle nuances, context and the use of prepositions in a search query. 

How can you react to the BERT update?

Create more relevant and useful content for your website visitors. Give them answers to what they are searching for. Write content for users, as you should always do.

This is Google's efforts to understand the searcher's query better and matching it better to more relevant results.

Read more on the topic on Google's official blog post. 

#2 Other forms of media consumption.

From the growing use of podcasts, vlogging and live video to new players on the block such as TikTok, the media landscape continues to evolve.

According to Google, Mobile searches for "podcast(s)" have grown by over 80% in the past two years. One of the largest growing media to add to your content marketing strategy is podcasts. If your not familiar with podcasts think of it as a radio show that's available to you on-demand. 

Why should you add podcasts to your content marketing strategy?

  • For one, it's one of the largest growing media, check out the Music Oomph Podcast statistic infographic and the Podcast trends report.

  • Secondly, a podcast is an easily digestible content piece for your audience. Users can easily listen to it when commuting to work, for example.

  • And thirdly, producing a podcast is inexpensive and easy. The only things you need is a computer, a microphone and an audio recording and editing program.

  • Additionally, podcasts are particularly attractive to make for those who are no onscreen talents and hesitate to start with vlogging. 

With YouTube being the second largest search engine in the world, it might not come as a surprise that vlogging and live video is hugely popular, especially amongst a younger audience. Check out some interesting stats in this article of TechJury.

Now, what's going on with TikTok? Having 3 teens under my roof shows me each day how this channel is winning in popularity. Only 2-years old the platform is already the 4th biggest in the world. Although the platform is still rather new and it is not tried and tested yet I do believe that it holds some potential and that it might be worth doing some experiments with it. Read more on why TikTok should be ticked by your brand in 2020 in this article.

#3 Marketing Technology.

If you feel overwhelmed by the vast number of choices or paths that you can take with your own MarTech stack, this makes more than sense, since there are more than 7000 tools available on the market today.

According to Scott Brinker (, the average company uses 91 marketing cloud services or tools. Here you'll find Brinker's complete marketing technology landscape supergraphic. 

If your company adopt the right Martech blend, it can gain an advantage over competitors. If not, you might be missing out on the automation processes and the insights they are using. 

Need help with selecting your tech stack?

Over the years, I carefully curated a list of tools which I compiled for you to choose from in my toolbox.  

#4 Privacy and digital wellbeing

In 2019 standards were being raised in user privacy, trust and digital wellbeing. Over recent years, there were a lot of privacy and trust scandals. From the Facebook and Cambridge analytics scandal to the Fyre scam and general awareness-raising concerning fake news and misinformation.

Online consumers lost a critical amount of trust and became more sceptical towards all sorts of marketing messages. 

"To be successful, marketers need to work to win people's trust by raising industry standards and by providing more tools and insights to help them manage their digital wellbeing". As Google states in its 2019 research review.

Being a tech giant itself, Google has set the example by introducing digital wellbeing tools for its users. Earlier this year, Apple introduced the screentime option to help you manage how much time you spend on which apps or platforms on your mobile phone. 

Now, what can you do to gain back trust?

  • Be authentic and honest in all your marketing messages. Give costumers what they need and be useful and relevant instead of trying to force a commercial message upon them.

  • Be clear about what you'll do with your clients and website visitors data (have a cookie alert on your website and a privacy disclaimer for example)

  • If you collect data for email marketing purposes, be clear on the frequency and topics that you will send them emails on.

  • And make sure you have a preference centre, where subscribers can change their personal information and email preferences.

#5 T-shaped Marketers 

As I stated in my 2018 blogpost, AI, automation and machine learning will make a lot of marketers tasks' obsolete soon. The future of marketing will be smart human marketers working along with machine learning-based automation entities. But there are some things that machines will keep having a hard time with such as Strategy, empathy and basic human psychology knowledge.

This is where T-shaped marketers come in. A T-shaped marketer will have all the base knowledge and a good marketing foundation to build on with at least one marketing domain wherein they can call themselves an expert. But a T-shaped marketer is more than that. The best T-shaped marketers emphathize with their audience, understand the why of a business and understand how to execute a marketing strategy. The best T-shaped marketers can develop a marketing strategy, implement it, measure the results and use the insights to improve the Strategy. 

Needless to say that this is the profile you should be looking for as a startup founder or you should aim to become as a marketer. Ow and surprise, surprise. Don't expect people to learn these skills at university or college. The best T-shaped marketers are self-taught.

Now, what will you be doing to stay in the game?

Want to make improving your Marketing Strategy your New Year's Resolution? Then register to the Strategy Academy before Dec 26th and claim a 20% off special Christmas discount!

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