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5 Things In Marketing That Will Evolve In 2019

2019 will be interesting as brands keep learning marketing, now is both the irreplaceable and effortless bond between sophisticated next gen technology and old school human emotions

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The marketing universe is now a multiverse of infinite possibilities. The relationship between the perfect customer and the ideal brand offering in 21st century is best defined by a 13th century Persian - “What you seek is seeking you.”. The only caveat being relevance, clarity and ability to tell their stories in fresh mediums. 2019 will be interesting as brands keep learning marketing, now is both the irreplaceable and effortless bond between sophisticated next gen technology and old school human emotions. (Hint: James Cameron)

1. Welcome to the WhatsApp Business Family

If customer support married business development and had a child called marketing promotions, the family would be called the Whatsapp Business Family. Sorry mailers and messages but with sleek spam filtering apps it was only time you guys were replaced with a more credible tool that just like Facebook will make regular ad presence beside a long messenger chat with your crush an acceptable occurence (for now.)

BookMyShow, Oyo, Netflix, Yatra four distinct service providers are using WhatsApp Business to send reminders, request reviews, promote campaigns and strengthen their client relations in a fresh informal tone that mailers weren’t cut out for. Even luxury brands can offer discreet advice and service to high-value customers. The actual business sense is also competitively higher. If Zomato knows 83% of young bachelors living in South Delhi love Biryani and they are given an exclusive 35% discount on it between 7 to 9 pm through an interactive WhatsApp creative versus via a mailer at the same time I bet it will have substantial conversion difference. 

So expect more innovative and specific campaigns with better engagement than all other social media channels. The average mailer open rate is 4%, WhatsApp is 98% for starters (ofcourse every quarter hereon it will decline now that spamming increases bit by bit, still good five years before reaching single digits.)

WhatsApp is far more popular in India than it is in the U.S. so expect the paid version for businesses gobbled up faster here than there for a change. 

Pro Tip: Connect & amplify your bond with existing loyal customers rather than trying to reach new users through this route. 

2. Original content creation & curation team is staple food

Just three years back if we leave a dozen big pocket brands in India, for most content creation was a witty post on Facebook or hiring a college kid to make a YouTube video with a promise of an Utopian backlink. Cut to today. Our access to the different categories of content is more than the subtotal of ALL the content available to any generation before us. (Am taking the liberty of not counting the unproven fact of alien invasion thousands of years ago). We are numb as a generation and addicted to it more severely than an obese kid to Belgian chocolate. ADHD is common fever and five TV spots, three radio jingles and two outdoors aren’t even registering to your audience. 

“In a world deluged by irrelevant information, clarity is power.” wrote historian Yuval Harari earlier this year. Brands will realise the critical importance of creating a parallel marketing channel DEDICATED to continuous content creation that’s smart, alluring and has a clarity of objective. Surrogating the products and services through engaging digital series (Tata Tiago x TVF Tripling), VR/AI spots in malls, hiring top talent through original content pull and constantly telling relevant stories in new formats is a dimension that will need the mixed understanding of advertising, PR and digital media in one. And that’s the way forward to both survive and thrive. Five years ago most brands started to hire in house social media team realising the potential and necessity of it. Expect the same to start happening to satiate the devil of infinite digital data. Especially video makers and editors will work either as regular hired freelancers/consultants or full time extension of the creative team. Irrespective if the category is selling Sushi or Scarves. 

Hiring an agency every fortnight to create content across channels as some new media (read new brief) like vertical IGTV releasing on the go is both financially difficult for some and a management loophole for most. The big ideas will still be handled by old school agencies but it’s the small continuous content that will eventually make you known, spike your sales and create a truly loyal following. Be a piranha in the world of sharks.

Pro Tip: Don’t put barriers and hierarchical positions between your internal departments. Let sales, content & marketing coexist and collaborate everyday. Innovative concepts realised through new immersive mediums help & elevate all three equally.

3. The death of average digital influencers 

Expect the industry to start creating more original content themselves rather than falling in the trap of digital influencer marketing marred in the web of fake followers and insignificant return on investment. Especially as the thin line between digital influencers and offline influencers blurs. Know a single A list blogger/vlogger who can get 10% of what Kohli makes per post? Who are we kidding global megastars like Will Smith are regularly updating their YouTube Channel with amazing original content. As eclectic and enduring Jamie Foxx gives us Off Script HollyWood interviews on Facebook & Youtube for free. Funding backed big content aggregators like Buzzfeed, ScoopWhoop & iDiva are not to be confused as influencers - they are more like handsomely paid parallel creative agencies.

Especially in India the majorly active internet users are interested in Taimur memes, online games like PUBG and gossip articles on what Priyanka Chopra & her to be mom in law fought about. So the 3.6K likes say a NIFT second year fashion blogger gets on the post with your 6K handbag doesn’t quite reach to the right audience nor converts even 1% of them. 

Saying that creators like Bhuvan Bam & Prajakta Koli will be hired by bigger brands (how Lily Singh aka Superwoman was in the last two years in the West) but the 97% profiles who charge anywhere between 35K-1L per post will see a substantial decrease by the end of next year. In essence if brands can’t hire the top 3% genuine following talent (more or less 50 people/category in the country) they will prefer to put their hard earned money into creating and promoting their own original content with a better shelf life. Or, dare I say spend the same on strategically planned Instagram stories and niche targeting of curated product banner ads.

Pro Tip: Before you hire any digital influencer for your brand ask ONE sacrosanct question: What are they adding that your creative team & digital ad manager can’t?

4. The Truman Targeting

As we hear the word phigital more often in implementation than theory the coming year, the imperativeness of knowing ‘exactly’ what your customer wants will be the deciding factor between the desired and pushy brands. The secret service level sophistication available to know intricate detailing reminds one of the classic Jim Carrey The Truman Show and last year’s Westworld Season 2. Unfortunately you can’t deny the power of persuasion it comes with or have the luxury of bypassing it as everyone rides on it. 

Data Miners will be needed regularly and digital strategists will be expected to zero down on bettering the conversion possibility to a near perfect figure. What keyword targeting used to be till early this year, audience targeting will be by the end of the next. Detailed filtration of the various audience types and lists by making pertinent layers can make the messaging impossibly relevant and feel as personalized as possible. 

In 2019 brands won’t target SEC A, 25-35 M, post graduate who has made two International travels this year likes Beyoncé and works for A, B or C company. Way too broad at the age when Netflix changes its whole homepage including all banners for every single one of its users. Today the ad makers (Google, Facebook + Instagram and your own website/app insights) know mind boggling details of what you want, how you want it and most importantly when you want it. Google has started to promote a new phenomenon coined as micro-moment (I-want-to-know moment, I-want-to-go-moment, I-want-to-do moment or I-want-to-buy moment) where the user in a spur decides which movie to watch, which restaurant to go to in the locality and according to Google the brand has ‘span of only seconds to catch their attention.’ The psychological understanding of your targeting hence needs more than a Google ad manager certificate & an MBA degree. Data Analysts will level the targeting nuances available for grabs.  The 2019 ad sets will start becoming: The 23 year old Potterhead girl from South Mumbai who has watched the new Fantastic Beasts movie yesterday at PVR Gold Class, has liked six posts with the same tag on 9Gag, read three BuzzFeed articles about it online last week, saw two long cast interviews on the IMDB channel, told her best friend on Messenger how big a crush she has on Eddie Redmayne and usually spends INR 1200 on movie merchandise like cups & coasters will be shown the Fantastic Beasts Tea Cup set for sale. 

Basically think of Cambridge Analytica but with consensus and regulation.


Pro Tip: Make sure your media team is well versed in programmatic advertising and is working with multi advertisers simultaneously. 

5. Personalised for everyone and for YOU

We will want to feel even more special by next year on the minutest of purchase. Feeling like royalty is no longer a luxury brand’s prerogative. Forget the name carving on the engine of a Ferrari, the Coca Cola can you are buying for your ‘Bro’ needs to say that and the Snickers you just bought for the ‘Drama Queen’ of your group needs to say that too.  

Brands like Coke, Nutella, Oreo and Heinz have already been doing this in UK & US from the last 3 years but now expect to see this more often with both Indian brands and International brands in India. And even if you keep aside the feel good pampering factor for the customers, it is great for business. When ‘Share a Coke’ campaign started, it single handedly revived the stagnant sales in Europe. Oreo had priced it’s special editions five times the regular yet managed a three times higher industry average purchase conversion. Headphone brands can add rebel, classy & vogue to its visible logo labels with the name of the person on the packaging box for extra as a perfect holiday gift. Expect a lot of digital ecommerce startups to also swim with this flow whilst making stronger relationships.

Even the usually snobbish Apple in terms of its packaging and colors now comes in six bold colors in its most premium & updated phone. If a X laptop bag gave you the option of getting your name or initials engraved at the edge vs Y who maintains the same quality & price but not the personalisation, which would you go for? That’s 2019 for the takers.

Pro Tip: We live in Instagram world, the bridge of seducing packaging & making your customer intimately connected to you is indispensable. Do just one less campaign next year and work on some really beautiful personalised packaging for your audience. It might end up being your most memorable campaign. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Abhik Choudhury

The author is Chief Strategist & Founder, Salt & Paper Consulting

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