2019 has been an exciting time for media, but what trends can we expect to dominate in the year ahead? While there is a lot of uncertainty, we wanted to share our thoughts on what we predict will impact the marketing landscape in 2020 and beyond. 

The growth in digital media over traditional offline sources has transformed the marketing landscape and it is set to continue into 2020, with 84% of marketers planning to increase spend on online video and 70% planning to increase their social media budget. However, in a world of fake news, consumers are yearning for authenticity that hasn’t been digitally manipulated. We predict 2020 will see many online-first and socially-led brands return to their authentic messaging as they seek to redress the balance between the quick-fixes of performance marketing and long-term brand building. This re-balancing will likely take many forms across the industry, but these are the key shifts to watch out for:

Return to traditional brand-building methods

Many businesses will return to traditional brand-building channels to facilitate a closer connection with consumers. For example, Mozilla (who owns the Firefox browser) revealed it cut digital marketing spend by 10% and committed more money to offline marketing efforts, such as events and content marketing. Similarly, brands like online giant, eBay, are re-balancing their media spend in favour of more traditional brand-building outlets. For these names, diversifying a predominantly digital media spend is becoming a powerful way to cut through and amp up the momentum of their marketing.

More real-world experiences

For brands that have been built exclusively online, a broader marketing mix that incorporates offline is growing as an attractive prospect. For example, since fast-fashion disruptor Missguided agreed to store in Selfridges, the brand has opened standalone spaces to help grow and engage with their already huge online following. Likewise, it was a similar story for US eyewear retailer, Warby Parker, that now has over 100 stores. People have an affinity for brands with whom they have had real-world interaction, so there is a real benefit to be had by offering customers this. 

Pop-up stores 

However, not all companies can achieve that scale. As a result, many businesses will experiment with pop-up stores. This has been a big trend for brands pushing sustainability, a key example being Hellmann’s pop-up kitchen this summer which encouraged people to create mayo-orientated recipes with their left-overs. AiNZEL cosmetics also wanted to spread their message of minimal waste, launching the Lip Lab pop-up shop in London where customers could choose their own lipstick shade and have it made in just 15 minutes.

Integrating digital with offline experiences 

It’s also likely that marketers will be looking for ways to combine their digital efforts with immersive offline experiences, such as product launches. ‘Usage experience’ is the third most effective touchpoint for generating brand impact, so it’s right marketing should focus on enhancing these moments. Social media means these individual events have a far wider reach than before, making them highly effective when designed to be shared this way. 

So what will this mean for marketers in 2020?

Whilst we have yet to enter a ‘post-digital age’, brands will certainly be looking to balance their digital dependence with ‘real-world’ marketing methods. Online channels can be an invaluable tool for locating a target audience and delivering messages en-masse, but marketers will have to be careful to not overlook the importance of a consistent brand voice and a powerful creative message.