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20 Trends from 20 Friends to Help You Prepare for 2020

Bob Bailey Bob BaileyDec 19, 2019

20 Trends from 20 Friends to Help You Prepare for 2020

The end of the year is a time to celebrate our wins, mourn our losses, and prepare ourselves for the next wave of challenges the new year will toss onto our paths. The more prepared we are as marketers and leaders for the changes swirling around us, the more we can help lead our teams through the changing winds toward the ambitious goals we have set for ourselves.

With that in mind, we reached out to some of the smartest marketers we know and asked them what is on their minds for the coming year.

Here are 20 trends to help inspire you and your team to begin the year ready to chase your Noble Ambition.

1. I’m most excited about the potential that resides within next-level artificial intelligence (AI), machine-learning (ML), and robotics. There is a wide democratization of AI and ML, in particular, which makes these high-impact capabilities more accessible than ever before. As a result of all this progress, it’s imperative that business leaders play an even more active role in creating AI-driven companies in responsible ways. How might we better leverage AI, ML, and robotics to enable sustainable development goals (e.g., pioneer new ideas and innovation that can help society at-large, through purpose-driven brands)?

— Scott Sweeney, Global Business Leader, Unilever


2. “Yes, I’ll have…” my oil changed, my annual physical, my haircut…right at my home, today. Services that have been traditionally bound by a store are unbound now, with an app as your ultimate remote control. I wonder how far this will go.

— Bob Bailey, CEO and Founder, Truth Collective


3. Balance. That is my trend for 2020. People are going to continually seek out more real-life experiences. Social will always be important, but there seems to be a desire to temper it with more real-life human connections. At our distillery, we are not seeing people on their phones; we see people having cocktails, talking, laughing and connecting. The balance between digital and real experiences is an important trend for 2020.

— Tommy Brunett, Founder, Iron Smoke Whiskey


4. I’m excited about the intersection of authentic social media experiences, personalization, e-commerce, and product customization that is shoppable social commerce. Creating a frictionless customer journey from the content most authentic and valuable to our audiences is an exciting opportunity for all brands. Social media is democratizing creativity and truly blurring the lines between awareness and lifestyle executions with the transactional power to impact business in significant ways.

— Jeremy Schwartz, Chief Creative Officer, Truth Collective


5. Truth will be a more essential trait for brands. In a sea of opportunistic, cynical and often disingenuous brand communications and marketing, the more authentic and genuine voices will gain traction.

— Simon Dixon, Co-Founder, DixonBaxi


6. I’m hoping for a stronger focus on inclusive design. User experiences (as well as all other objects, systems, and content) need to catch up with the strides made over the last several years towards the inclusion-focused reshaping of our culture(s) to include people of all makeups, abilities, and backgrounds. By taking time to reflect on who may be excluded by a design decision (or better, bringing them into the process), experiences will be relatable to a broader base and should improve results.

— Ian Maroney, Creative Technologist, Truth Collective


7. Curiosity is going to be key in 2020. Be curious, definitely be more emotional, and push yourself outside of your comfort zone. You’d be surprised with what could be achieved and the impact you have on the businesses you work with.

— Brent Snider, Chief Revenue Officer, Maru/Matchbox


8. Transparency showing up in every aspect of the process! From improving performance metrics in influencer marketing to combating fraudulent engagement in media buying, there’s no denying it’s already started. But we have a long way to go. So in 2020, we predict brands will fully expect partner agencies to be crystal clear about their business practices — and prove their value with KPIs beyond likes.

— Becca Post, Founder, Helen & Gertrude


9. Driving creative disruption in strategy. That’s a first for me, actually three tautologies in one line! First, creativity is effectively taking something known and creating a new way of expressing it. Second, disruption as a positive energy of change in the world for the betterment of all. Third, strategy as an inherently creative process because we have to find ways to win that are different and better than before. So let’s drive creative disruption through strategy because it leads us to better — better work, better results, better teams united around a bigger purpose and a better world.

— John Roberts, CSO and Founder, Truth Collective


10. Technology allows organizations to connect in ways with customers that were impossible just a few years ago. In 2020, we can continue to use technology to help us provide personalized micro-moments to delight customers through real-time, in-the-moment messaging. We are now starting to see the potential of these innovations giving us a new way to deliver relevant, timely content to our audiences.

— Shannon Finberg, Senior Director of Marketing Strategy, Fannie Mae


11. In 2019, usage of Instagram stories took off. In 2020, I see this trend continuing to grow. By utilizing Instagram’s built-in features, like polls, gifs, AMAs and music selection, it’s never been easier to engage with your followers. It will be exciting to see how brands further customize their storytelling with the use of apps like Unfold or StoryChic that have built-in templates to help catch the eyes of your followers. Another feature that will increase growth of story usage is third-party posting apps like ContentCal or Later, which recently enabled stories to be scheduled in advance, allowing brands to creatively share stories in a time-efficient manner.

— Leah Williams, Social Specialist, Truth Collective


12. To embrace intimacy. Don’t hide behind Google planning and boardrooms — The world becomes real when you’re in the same room as the people you’re trying to understand, to impress.

— Gunny Scarfo, Co-Founder, Nonfiction Research


13. Digital-first branding is going to continue. I’m going to adapt our brand-identity development to take full advantage of today’s mobile- and screen-first (and, in some cases, digital-only) brand landscape. Of course, developing RGB and screen-adapted logos is not exactly a new exercise for creative companies such as ours, but the modern marketers’ emphasis on digital channels is pushing the bounds of logo exploration further. More intricate approaches ranging from complex 2D and 3D animations, responsive logos based on application and screen sizes, and more dynamic spectrums of color that only our gorgeous backlit screens can render are all challenging the traditional identity-design tenets made popular in print mediums.

— Jeremy Schwartz, Chief Creative Officer, Truth Collective


14. IRL will gain traction. Humans are getting burned out on the increasing reliance of their devices. As much as we love them, we also feel a little bad about how they are replacing humanity little by little. Brands will invest in human-to-human experiences that bring people together through their brand fandom.

— Bob Bailey, CEO and Founder, Truth Collective


15. I would say the closing of what I’m calling the “media joy gap”. Faris Yakob has written about this, as have others.

We have more media choices now than ever before, but so much of the media we choose to consume causes us stress and unhappiness. The news, Facebook, technology in general, etc. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I’d like to see us make more thoughtful choices about the media we consume. I think we’d all be happier.

— Mike DiCaprio, Director of Communications Planning, Truth Collective


16. I hope we move away from project-based work and we see a trend toward longer client/agency partnerships. A trusting relationship between the agency and the client is integral to the success of the work. As your trust in one another grows, so does the opportunity you create together in the market.

— Jenn Piper, Director of Client Services, Truth Collective


17. Human ears will connect to technology. Alexa sounds nice, but she’s also your future. Last holiday season, Amazon sold more than 100 million Alexa devices, and this past September, the company launched a dozen new “voice-assistant” gadgets, including earbuds, eyeglasses that listen, and links to home-security systems.

What this means is voice, not Google Glass-type digital displays, will be the future of humans connecting to artificial intelligence. Poppy Crum, chief scientist at Dolby, notes that humans’ ears are both input and output devices. New technology gizmos can not only listen to your voice, but track your heart rate, blood-pressure level, stress levels, even direction of attention by the nerves and blood vessels in your ears. Watch for voice devices and earbuds to continue to change how we interact with technology.

— Todd Engels, Executive Director, Business Development, Mediassociates


18. The democratization of big data will begin in 2020. The know-how and access to machine learning have been reserved for the mega companies and organizations. We will start to see more small and midsized companies be able to tap into the promise of data science to predict marketing opportunities, pinpoint successful and wasteful strategies, and automate repeatable processes.

— Bob Bailey, CEO and Founder, Truth Collective


19. Slow and sustainable fashion movements, alongside other more cause-driven marketing initiatives, will be a focus for many brands.

We want to see trends focused on educating people to make more considered choices when purchasing products, footwear and fashion. Instead of seeking cheaper, more accessible styles with the intention of wearing them for only one season, we would like to see people making investment purchases. Buying products from transparent retailers striving to slow down the fashion chain and make products more sustainable.

— Samantha Mickleburgh, Managing Director, DuoBoots
— Sara Elston, Marketing Leader, DuoBoots


20. Our ads are going to look less and less like ads. With the explosion of user-generated content across a zillion different platforms, the consumer expectation for what is well produced is different than it used to be. Instead of big budgets and flashy production, consumers are looking to connect authentically with brands in the channels they use every day. They want to talk with — not be marketed to — by brands, and that will dramatically change what we are making as an industry.

— Joshua Coon, Experience Director, Truth Collective

A special thanks to all our amazing contributors. We hope they inspire you as they inspired us to start the year with energy, ambition and truth. Good hunting.

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