2020 Vision: Marketing Professionals List Year's Top Priorities

What does the future of marketing look like, and are marketers equipped to excel as the landscape continues to evolve with the technology and various social media platforms rise (TikTok) or fall (Snapchat)?

To get prepared for the coming year, Socialbakers reached out to marketing professionals to find out what’s on the forefront of their priorities in 2020. Whether it’s emerging industries, continued trends like influencer marketing and ecommerce, or determining the exact role of AI and machine learning, there’s a lot for marketers to grapple with and consider as they try to optimize their performance.

We collected insights from Socialbakers clients and also gathered thoughts from other CMOs and marketing leaders who are talking about what’s coming in 2020. Read through and get the insights you need to dominate the next year:

Jeff Lee

Head of Social, Influencer and Media Buy
ASUS

  • Ecommerce on the rise: Ecommerce will likely be integrated into social channels, letting users purchase products without being directed to an external website. This makes the experience more seamless and simplified, and also challenging brands to put UX as a high priority.
  • Engagement shift to Instagram: Facebook is becoming a more passive way to consume media, while engagement has shifted more to Instagram. We see engagement to focus more on IG stories as audiences in this platform prefer more bite-sized, interactive content vs. Newsfeed, which is more passive.
  • TikTok as the new engaging platform: We're seeing the rise of TikTok in Asia, and we think this platform will be a strong contender against Instagram, particularly for the millennial and Gen Z audience.
  • Video is king: Video content will still dominate in most social channels – as seen in TikTok and Instagram – specifically short-form content.
  • Personal touch: AI automation/chatbots will have more personalization and will continue to dominate the customer service requirements on social channels.
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Agatha Soh

Head of Regional Marketing
Shopee

People are demanding more social engagement and content will evolve to meet this trend. In 2019, we saw an explosion of real-time content as businesses aimed to forge authentic and immediate connections with consumers. For instance, we see that live-streaming is starting to transform online shopping in Southeast Asia by enabling closer interaction and information sharing among brands, sellers and buyers.

Real-time content will continue to be key in 2020, but I also foresee marketers investing more resources into interactive and personalized content that encourages social sharing among consumers. At Shopee, we design a wide range of fun and interactive content, including in-app games for special occasions such as Mothers Day and Labour Day. We also regularly produce creative data-driven content that offer users personalized insights on their own shopping habits. Interactive and personalized content allows us to stay top-of-mind amongst users and will be an essential tool in every marketer’s arsenal in 2020.

Kelvin Low

Toyota Brand Management Department | Marketing Planning Division
Toyota Motor Asia Pacific Pte Ltd. (TMAP-MS)

In terms of the trends in 2020, I see huge potential/growth that is going to grow and ‘explode’ exponentially in 2020 in the world of esports.
This arena will change the way marketers deal with their consumers, particularly the younger generation, and it highlights the opportunity that’s laid out there for collaborations and even to change the way we market digitally.

Let me explain why. For the first time this year, esports was registered as a medal sport for the Southeast Asian Games. Likewise, we saw one of the highest prize money checks – $3 million – being won in a Fortnite tournament by a young teenager. The gaming industry is booming, and with Google’s Stadia coming out, Nintendo Switch releasing a lite version and game developers continuing to come out with mobile versions of their staple games, it is hard for marketers to ignore this phenomenon. 

So as marketers, we need to acknowledge this booming industry, how it can affect other industries and how consumers, particularly the target audience of the gaming industry, plays out and how we can tap into opportunities there to reach them.

  • Marketing science catches up to the art: While once revered as more art than science, the discipline of marketing is becoming increasingly technical. As modern-day marketing practitioners, it has become table stakes to have some level of technical acumen on how the marketing technology stack plugs together. This year, CMOs will demand marketers expand their tech knowledge beyond marketing and into different business functions as marketing continues to traverse across organizational silos. At the end of the day, the more tech-aware and tech-savvy marketers are going to be the ones that win the customer experience battleground.
  • AI shifts marketers from tactical to strategic players: The roles within marketing organizations are shifting now that AI has arrived. For example, now marketing operations can leave list pulling, campaign execution and reporting to intelligent machines. Now, less burdened with these tasks, they’re shifting and reskilling themselves to become much more focused on data science as it relates to the bigger picture. The evolving role scape is moving away from order taking and execution to requiring that practitioners have a deeper understanding of and influence over the complete business strategy.

Jason Rose

CMO
SAP Customer Experience
From PAN Communications

  • Top 2020 skillset: Understanding your customer – all marketing should start and end here. Too many companies think tactics first and customer second!
  • Top 2020 challenge: Rising above the noise. We have seen diminishing returns on email and some forms of paid social as consumers either opt out of these tactics or tune them out altogether. Marketers need to find new and novel ways to connect with consumers, on their terms, and present helpful, relevant content that is a pull to your brand rather than a push to the consumer.

Just because you can do something with a machine doesn’t mean you should. There are plenty of examples of that in the world. I think what’s key for any CMO to be successful with artificial intelligence is, to start with the intelligence angle. We say in marketing that you can’t automate a process that doesn’t exist, and with artificial intelligence, you can’t expect a program or a machine to do what your human beings don’t already know how to do.

Focus on the intelligence, focus on accumulating best practices so that when it’s time to implement artificial intelligence, you’ve already got the intelligence part worked out and then a machine can augment what you already do well.

In a world that’s increasingly dominated by Amazon, where we have expectations for a personalized experience that anticipates our needs and is responsive over time, we must prepare for the future of customer experience.

Owen Hancock

Marketing Director of EMEA
Impact
From Talking Influence

Influencer marketing has seen incredible continued growth in 2019. For marketers this has been a huge opportunity, as when managed correctly influencers deliver both impact and results. The reality is, time spent on social media platforms is only going to grow, albeit at a slower pace than in the last few years, and influencer marketing will be more popular than ever next year.

In fact, brands are now ready to make an even greater investment in their influencer campaigns and programmes – so expect to see spending on influencers surpassing $9b annually in 2020. Influencer marketing will lead the way in producing authentic engagements, trustworthy quality, and endless scale but marketers will demand actionable performance measurement in return for this increased spend.

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