Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 25 April 2019

Marketing trends entrepreneurs should embrace in 2019

What was working well for you in the past two years may not work effectively next year

YouTube is the largest search engine after Google but Instagram's video platform, IG TV, could change the game. Bloomberg
YouTube is the largest search engine after Google but Instagram's video platform, IG TV, could change the game. Bloomberg

The upside of working in the marketing world is it never gets boring. The downside for some means you can’t get too comfortable. Trends evolve all the time. What was working well for you in the past two years may not work effectively next year.

As we start our new year, here are four marketing trends that you should embrace:

Influencers going hyperlocal

Though influencer-marketing is here to stay, businesses are looking more closely at micro-influencers. A well-known, beloved, local mother in a small community, for example, would be an effective choice for a baby’s product brand, rather than a mega-influencer with millions of followers who wouldn’t relate very personally with the target audience.

A couple of clients I worked with asked me to connect them with micro-influencers, though they had the budget to work with mega-influencers. They believed that their message would be diluted with a mega-influencer, and a local one would provide them with an optimised reach.

Video dominance

I spoke about video earlier this year, and I can still say that this trend isn’t going anywhere. Everyone from government officials to media organisations are choosing video as a key channel to share their stories. It’s an effective, engaging and efficient form of communication.

YouTube is the largest search engine after Google, and Instagram has introduced IG TV that allows users to upload vertical videos. This means that users don’t need to flip their screens (which many users, including me, hate doing) to watch the video, and it allows to longer uploads. It’s growing at a slow pace though, but I believe it will pick up more in 2019, especially since many regional influencers, such as fashion blogger Ascia from Kuwait, have embraced the platform. She uses IG TV to share her vlogs for her skincare routine.

I also believe that more media organisations will be using it to share video reports, mini documentaries and interviews for its convenience. Users don’t have to switch between social media apps such as Instagram and YouTube to watch different content – it’s all in one place. IG TV could be the perfect substitute to watching television, and media organisations should jump on the bandwagon so as to not lose momentum.

Rise of quality over quantity

Businesses are becoming more aware of how different their audiences are. In the case of one of my clients, they worked with a local personality who was prominent in the business field, but only had 400 followers on Instagram. You may think she’s not an influencer at all. What is 400 against someone who has a million? However, when we did work with that thought leader to host a small gathering to launch my client’s fashion collection, they made a five-figure sum in under two hours. Bottom line: it’s not about the quantity, but the quality of who is promoting your business. In the end it doesn’t matter how many followers a person has, but whether they can influence a sales conversion.

Evolution of AI

Artificial intelligence makes our lives much easier, especially when there’s a lot of data to analyse, and it can save employees a lot of time on mundane admin tasks.

For retail businesses, it can help you monitor your customers’ shopping patterns online, or even analyse your readership behaviour if you are running a media publication. We already engage with it every day – in the form of online advertisements.

If incorporating AI doesn’t apply to your business, I’d suggest you stay up-to-date with its evolution and watch how the market, and especially your competitors, are working with it.

Marketing, though an exciting field, is becoming more and more complicated. It’s a combination of cutting-edge technology, psychology, sociology and old school business. Though these are the major trends to watch out for next year, keep an eye out on other trends that will emerge along the way, and analyse how they can benefit your business.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati journalist and entrepreneur, who manages her marketing and communications firm in Abu Dhabi

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Updated: December 29, 2018 01:44 PM

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