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Digital Marketing 2019

Through my teaching at the School of Professional Studies at NYU and day gig as Sitecore’s digital marketing evangelist, I regularly engage with digital marketers from around the world. They come from brands and agencies large and small, and one of my favorite things is hearing about the successes they’ve enjoyed.

I’m also interested in the challenges these digital marketers are facing. Looking at my notes from classes, conferences, customer and prospect meetings, and other interactions, I’ve noticed some common challenges these marketers face in their daily quest to “do the work.” Here are three areas for improvement digital marketers should be working on in 2019 and beyond.

Digital Marketing 2019: Staying Relevant

The digital marketing space is broad and deep. It’s like a fast-moving wave, and as any surfer knows, it can be hard to catch up once you get behind the wave.

Staying relevant in an industry where the consumer moves faster than the brand and the industry moves faster than the marketer is a lot like trying to catch a wave.

For digital marketers, staying relevant means ensuring they understand the problems their customers are trying to solve, mapping the customers’ journey, and developing strategies and activation plans to meet those needs on the customers’ terms.

Staying relevant has been – and will continue to be – a significant challenge for digital marketers and should be an area of focus for the serious marketer.

Digital Marketing 2019: Being Digital

Digital marketing is more than buying a bunch of marketing technology and puking your messaging all over a target audience. You’ve got to develop a digital way of thinking.

That means filtering everything you think and do through the lens of the customers you serve, understanding the “what,” “why,” and “how” of digital, from “What is a digital product or service” to “How do we get paid?”

Being digital means having a robust understanding of marketing technology. You don’t have to be an expert, but you need a basic knowledge of martech and how you can use it to deliver remarkable customer experiences and exceptional results for your business.

Being digital requires a commitment to continual improvement and staying relevant. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary. Developing a “digital relevancy roadmap” should be at the top of every marketer’s professional development todo list.

Digital Marketing 2019: Embracing Change

It’s an undisputed fact that digital is driving continual marketing change. In fact, among the many roles a marketer undertakes, marketers are change agents. We help our customers go from where they are to where they want to be (not where we want them to be).

But how can we keep pace with a customer who moves faster then we do if we’re not ready, willing, and able to manage change in our own professional lives? Resistance to change keeps marketers from gaining the relevancy they need to be digital.

Embracing change has been a source of significant fear and frustration for many marketers. Change management skill development should be a focus area for professional development going forward.

Digital Marketing 2019 and Beyond

That’s my take. If I had a crystal ball, I might look into the future and take a shot at predicting what’s in store for digital marketing over the next few years. Alas, I don’t have a crystal ball. And I’m not entirely comfortable leaving those predictions to artificial intelligence, either. Besides, the way the digital marketing wave moves, anything beyond 9 months or so is just a wild guess.

Read more on the How Digital Marketing Works® blog or listen to the podcast