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The Future of Digital Marketing, Data, and Social Media Influencers

Data: It Simply Exists

Anyone who claims to be the next Nostradamus of digital marketing is likely to provide some entertainment value, but shouldn’t be taken too seriously. The truth is that the future of digital marketing is far from certain. Regardless, making predictions is the average digital marketer’s 50/50 swing at sounding like a genius—should their guess come true.

Data, on the other hand, tells us a much different story. In the Information Age, we live in a world of endless data, and it’s never been easier for us to get our hands on it. However, data doesn’t draw any conclusions. Data is both apolitical and unbiased. It simply exists.

So, while we might not be able to predict the future, we can go to the data to see what lies plainly before us. What’s the future of digital marketing? Despite what some digital marketers may tell us, let’s close our eyes and listen to what the data says.

The Rise of the Micro-Influencer

Like the final few minutes of an episode of Scooby-Doo, consumers are unmasking their favorite influencers one-by-one and discovering who they really are—product pushers.

Certainly, large influencers on multiple platforms will continue to have a major influence in 2019, but there is a certain level of betrayal felt by consumers after popular social media influencers began to plug products in overdrive in recent years.

What was once a trusting relationship between a consumer and an influencer has now become merely another form of overt advertisement. Product marketing specialist Cornelia Klimek recently said in a post at Hit Search Unlimited, “I predict the influencer market will see a downturn thanks to a perceived lack of authenticity on behalf of the marketer. It worked well initially because customers felt their best friends were telling them the product was awesome. People don’t want recommendations that are blatant ads.”

“I predict the influencer market will see a downturn thanks to a perceived lack of authenticity on behalf of the marketer. It worked well initially because customers felt their best friends were telling them the product was awesome. People don’t want recommendations that are blatant ads.” – Cornelia Klimek, Hit Search Unlimited

This is where the micro-influencer steps in. By using the term “micro”, we are differentiating product pushers from authentic leaders of thought and lifestyle who have a small, yet extremely engaged audience. With just 10,000 or less followers, most micro-influencers have yet to succumb to the temptation to plug every hair care, tire, and supplement product on the internet.

Micro-influencers can be sourced from all over the world and there are plenty of them. It’s a logical step to fight past consumer skepticism of those who sold their blogging soul to the highest bidder to reach out to those still deemed credible. So, will the micro-influencer take over in 2019? It’s certainly a trend to watch.

“Alexa, Explain Digital Marketing to Me.”

Amazon Alexa is the future of Digital Marketing

“I’m afraid I can’t do that, Corey.”

Voice recognition software is getting better and better by the day. It’s been predicted that by 2020 nearly 50% of all searches will take place via voice. That data is showing that this trend is going one way and one way only — upwards. With voice-activated products such as Siri, Google Home, and Alexa dominating the market, it’s only logical to assume that even more competitors will jump into the game as well.

As the technology improves and spreads, digital marketers will have to figure out how to compete when everything except the #1 search result is not even spoken by Siri or Alexa. It’s been said, “ask and you shall receive”, but in 2018, you might only receive what Siri or Alexa give you the first time.

Understanding this trend will be particularly important for the digital marketer in 2019, especially as regular search engine marketing (SEM) will continue to demand the lion’s share of attention. While it has declined in recent years, the data tells us that it will only decline at a very gradual rate as other marketing opportunities emerge. Increased privacy restrictions, particularly in Europe, make the collection of consumer data all the more difficult, reducing the impact of targeting the individual consumer.

The Future Will Always Need a Good Pitch

As always, the data is conclusive and a bad pitch will never win the day. The modern consumer lives in the land of a trillion clicks and marketers will always have to give them a better reason to trust their click over the rest. You might be the most technologically savvy individual on the planet, but if you are a marketer and you are bad at your craft, you will still lose big. Oren Klaff is a living digital marketing legend who would still be successful at marketing even if he were sent back to the Stone Age.

He succinctly sums up the need to be good at your craft with this quote, “The right pitch creates an immediate, positive reaction about your deal and lets you get past the gatekeepers that stop other deals from reaching the decision makers.” He would go on to elaborate by pleading with marketers to “correctly set the frame and tell the story.”

“The right pitch creates an immediate positive reaction about your deal and lets you get past the gatekeepers that stop other deals from reaching the decision makers.” – Oren Klaff

Yes, the data is giving us some pretty good indications on where the future of digital marketing is going in 2019. However, don’t let the bells and whistles distract you from being good at a timeless craft. A bad pitch on the fanciest tech platform on the world is still just lipstick on a pig.

Watch the data in 2018, practice your craft, and win the future.

About the Author Corey Singleton

"As a business owner, I put big money into sales and marketing without ever really knowing what results I was going to get. Tired of this ambiguity, I decided to create a new kind of sales support company: one that provides a guarantee.