Digital Marketing Trends In 2019: Don't Get Left Behind!

Posted in Digital Marketing by Claire Dibben

With the arrival of a new year, comes time for a report on digital marketing trends in 2019. This blog refers to the Key Digital Trends Report penned by the folks over at Ogilvy Consulting.

If you attended Digital Gaggle back in November, you’ll have heard James Whatley (former Strategist at Ogilvy UK) talk about Ogilvy’s annual Key Digital Trends Report. The 2019 report has now been published so we’ve plucked out the top trends and shared them in this blog, along with some #BonusTrends2019 which James shared in his personal newsletter called Five Things On A Friday (subscribe if you haven’t already - it’s brill).

The trends below are the ones which are most relevant to SME marketers who work in B2B, professional services and ecommerce. All credit to James Whatley, Marshall Manson and the team at Ogilvy Consulting for creating a fascinating bunch of predictions for the year ahead! Oh, and you can watch the live webinar recording of their report right here.

Omni-channel resurrects the high street

If you think the UK high street is dying, think again. Ogilvy Consulting’s report states that 80% of retail sales are exchanged in an actual store and that non-ecommerce sales remain the most dominant force in retail. This will be a mainstay in 2019: this share is expected to grow by 2.3%.

On the other hand, online retail spend will increase by 15% over the next 12 months, snowballing to become 21% of total retail market share. In his newsletter, Whatley predicts that voice commerce is incoming, too, but don’t expect it anytime soon (more on voice and its trend longevity later).

The Key Digital Trends report goes on to discuss the coining of a shiny new term by Jack Ma called: ‘new retail’. This refers to the intermingling of digital and ‘real’ world shopping experiences: an example being smart supermarkets such as Amazon Go.

Importantly, this shows that Brick-and-Mortar is actually evolving, not devolving. In 2018, ecommerce giant ASOS saw their stock fall by 43%, resulting in a loss of £1.4 billion in market value. This is what can go wrong when business strategies rely solely on either online or offline existences. To keep up with industry changes, retailers must consider ways that physical stores can be paired with their brand’s digital strategy, or, as it’s otherwise known, omni-channel customer experiences, such as pop-up stores.

Head to slide 10 for an in-depth look at this trend:


In B2B, a new culture of business is emerging

The extinction of the stereotypical price and features-driven B2B buyer is imminent as a new generation have shifted from value-driven to values-driven:


Slide from Ogilvy Consulting's report shwing a shift from value-driven to values-drivenA clip from Ogilvy Consulting's report.


Ogilvy Consulting’s report predicts that the businesses who will see the most growth will be those who welcome new philosophies. It claims that millennials want meaningful work and careers which allow room for development: they want to have stimulating experiences that are based on authentic work relationships.

Ogilvy Consulting also reported that 80% of executives believe in transforming workplace culture over the next five years in order to not only grow and achieve success, but also to retain the best people in the business. This will result in a dramatic increase in talent searches as well as increased importance placed on a business’s wider relevance and founding values.

Here are the list of behaviors that #OgilvyTrends2019 identifies as drivers in the new culture of business. These should be intertwined in the DNA of the company, its leaders and its employees - all in equal measure:

  • Cultivate brand love through values-based existence
  • Create and engage the right sources of influence, i.e. communities that share your principles
  • Demonstrate values, relevance and differentiation through partnerships
  • Build and promote ecosystems of related products and services
  • Provide business solutions, not just products and services
  • Provide demonstrable benefit not only to your customers’ businesses, but address your customers’ own hierarchies of needs

Voice isn’t just a trend

Voice-enabled devices are becoming more prevalent - ownership of smart speakers has doubled in six months, as 10% of Brits now own one. Yet, they still have a few niggles to work through. For example, they lack the ability to remember most of the things you tell them. Maybe this explains why, as data from NPR reveals, demands - not brands - are what people speak to their smart speakers about. (Thanks to James for linking to the Smart Audio Report in his recent newsletter!)

Soon, nearly every application will integrate voice into their technology. And, contrary to popular myths, by 2020, 50% of all searches will be through voice or image. So, what are the possibilities as speculated by James Whatley recently?

Audible media is still very much in, with podcasts and radio remaining key players year after year. Advances mean personalised programmatic advertising is available (but this must be done on a large scale).

Ogilvy’s Digital Trends Report asks: what are smart brands looking out for in 2019?

  • Personalised responses with contextual understanding, meaning people want their devices to know why and where they’re talking to them.
  • Individualised experiences to allow your Alexa to differentiate your voice and your five-year-old’s voice.
  • As previously noted, by 2020 all searches will be through voice or image, highlighting a glaring omission from voice assistants: a missing visual interface. The consumer desire to see and touch will result in changing search behaviours.
  • People don’t just want voice in their mobile devices, as reflected in the automotive industry where in-car speech recognition is set to take off.

As marketers, you must consider the audio characteristics of your brand: voice applications that are irrelevant and don’t credibly reflect your brand promise will flounder. Additionally, be prepared for natural language to change the way you approach search marketing and SEO.

All of this, however, is a bit of a way off yet, but is still something to think about in the context of wider voice trends.

Let’s talk stories

James Whatley delved into Stories in his Five Things On A Friday newsletter. He gave loads of great advice on the phenomenon that, in January 2018, Mark Zuckerberg called ‘the dominant medium’.

As of June 2018, 40% of time spent on Instagram is in Stories - so as a marketer, how do you leverage this? James suggests:

  1. Test! See what assets you have that can be transformed into digestible story-format before testing with organic and paid content.
  2. Speaking of organic: consider the paid vs. organic algorithm of social channels before posting. While paid is optimal for your best content, organic is great for experimentation and storing experiences, e.g. through pinned Stories.

  3. Experiment and play with other platforms and features, but don’t go all in. He also highlights Facebook’s ‘Placement Optimization’ as a go-to for your toolbox.

A big thanks to James and the team at Ogilvy Consulting for sharing their insights with us. Are there any trends you want to try out in 2019?

Claire Dibben
Claire Dibben

Events & Marketing Manager Claire writes about events, and, uh, marketing.

Meet Claire Dibben

Monkey Mail 💌🍌

Get monthly digital marketing tips sent straight to your inbox.

Want to know what to expect before you subscribe? You can preview the monthly newsletter right here.

Don't worry - we won't EVER share your email with anyone. Even if they offer us a million quid. It says so in our privacy policy.
If you would like to offer us a million quid, email at once.

Related posts