Leverage 2020’s Six Key Communication Trends To Your Advantage

Scott Dieckgraefe Insight

The pace of change throughout the communications industry has only intensified over the past several years. To help you  ramp up for 2020, Studio/D  identified six key communication trends, together with a game plan for how to leverage each to your advantage.

  1. Just being heard will be difficult.  In 2020, we will experience  a national fall election, plus other unique events such as the Summer Olympics, adding tremendous volume to the constant drumbeat of messaging.  But 2020 also promises increased clutter beyond that, considering the current volume of political news and divisiveness, including impeachment proceedings.  This cacophony will numb audiences, most of whom will choose to  tune out many of their standard communication  channels.

    Game Plan Response:  Multichannel your messages beyond your typical approach.  Increasing the channels will broaden your reach and provide more opportunities to impact your audiences.  If you understand only the channels you’ve been using, solicit expert advice from others with a deeper knowledge.
  2. Privacy concerns will grow.  Remember Cambridge Analytics and the last election?  The easy accessibility and potential advantages provided by private information is an addictive draw for black-hat hackers, going well beyond just political communications.  The difficulty of tracking the guilty parties and the low likelihood of prosecution makes online privacy a growing concern.  Companies will be held increasingly responsible for security breaches.

    Game Plan Response:  Be vigilant and engage knowledgeable experts to ensure that any data you collect is completely secure — doubly so if you handle financial transactions.  Ensure you are in full compliance with the new California standards (CCPA) and the European (GDPR) standards.  Be transparent in your approach.
  3. Audience polarity will become more extreme.  Whether polarity is based on income, public policy, religion, sexual orientation, or any number of other factors, we anticipate people will have less desire to learn beyond their current beliefs.  The segmentation of media opinions allows people to selectively expose themselves only to a parrot of their own thoughts, often leading to a demonization of opposing thoughts.

    Game Plan Response:  We urge companies to take the high road.  Be the bridge to, or at least encourage exposure to, new/different thinking.  We believe this will make the world a better, more informed and more tolerant place.  We also recognize that many companies will select an audience that will embrace them, and reinforce themselves only to that base.  

    Organizations have achieved great success with either approach (think of the NRA marketing to their base, or Dove marketing to all body types).  Choose the path that best matches your brand and corporate/personal ethos.  Learn and grow your audience through building personas, utilizing PRIZM clusters or by researching look-alike audience segments.
  4. Up to 94% of purchase decisions are researched/influenced online, making digital media critically important to any marketing strategy (2014 Acquity study (B2B): 94%; 2013 GE Capital (Retail), 81%; 2017 eCommerce Foundation Study (B2C), 88%; 2018 Salesforce (retail), 87%).  Showing up near the top of search engine result pages (SERP) will not be good enough – “Zero-Click Results” will grow in importance. 

    Game Plan Response:  By answering FAQs online with snippets, your SERP results can appear above the most-costly SERP response.  Without any cost.  Work with a marketing partner who understands SERP snippet strategy and knows how to get results. 
  5. Online misinformation will breed the need for “confirmed” SERP and news stories.  We feel that regulation is coming, but it may be years away.

    Game Plan Response:  When making a claim in your communications, be sure to cite credible sources. Attempt to engage known influencers to speak on your behalf.  Having others confirm your information will add value, emphasis and endorsement power to your message.  Develop alliances with others who can independently back your efforts.  (We expect to see influencer marketing grow considerably through this need).
  6. Video continues to capture the eyes and attention of your audience.  Watch for the continued exponential growth of video in marketing communications.  We used to talk of the power of TV residing in its ability to use sight, sound, motion and emotion to connect with viewers.  Online video provides all of this now while reaching niche audiences too.

    Game Plan Response:  Learn to utilize TikTok for short clips and continue to utilize YouTube.  Link cross-channel to your other messaging for seamless communications.  It’s now a simple task to shoot, edit and upload video for social media channels.  Work with a marketing partner who understands the power of video, and who understands the audience differences of each social media channel.

2020 will be atypical from a communications standpoint – reaching your audience effectively will be more challenging than in prior years, and the pace of change will continue to increase throughout the year.  Now is a great time to assess your communications partner, ensuring that you’re well-served for the year ahead.  Please let us know how we can assist your efforts.