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A glimpse into what’s coming in 2020

SmartBrief Media Digital Editor Mike Driehorst layout what 2020 is expected to hold for the marketing community, with trend predictions from 4A’s, IAB, Zappar, The Richards Group, Fantasy, Hart and Analytic Partners.

5 min read

Marketing Strategy

A glimpse into what’s coming in 2020

Free-Photos / Pixabay

What’s that phrase – The more things change, the more they remain the same.

No matter the latest trend, the shiniest new object or techiest technological breakthrough, marketers and communicators are all still trying to do the same thing: stir action.

That action could be as simple as a sale, a click or a stronger bond.

In our effort to help you stir action in your 2020 marketing efforts and be prepared for the changing business climate, SmartBrief sought the perspective of some key associations and markers, and asked them to share their foresight as we move into 2020.

If you have a marketing prediction for 2020, let us know on Twitter and @SBonSocialMedia.

Marla Kaplowitz
President and CEO
American Association of Advertising Agencies

It’s time for national data privacy legislation: The year will kick-off with the implementation of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the ongoing assessment by other states and municipalities to enact their own legislation. The increased focus on data privacy will continue with Congress recognizing the critical need for federal legislation. A plan outlined by the Privacy for America coalition addressing consumer needs and calling for the creation of a Data Protection Bureau inside the FTC will be recognized as the way forward.


Zoe Soon
Vice President of Mobile

Mixed reality is poised to go mainstream: Augmented reality is the killer app for 5G. Statista estimates that the value of the AR market will explode from $5.91 billion in 2018 to $198.17 billion in 2025 and it’s no coincidence that this coincides with the arrival of 5G. The best and earliest places we’ll see AR is in mobile gaming, but that’s just the start. Gartner predicts 100 million consumers will shop in AR in 2020, both online and in-store. For brands and advertisers, this is an unprecedented opportunity to reach consumers in a mobile-native environment, no special equipment required.


Caspar Thykier
CEO and Co-Founder

Excitement around wearables hits a fever pitch: The talk around wearables has already been dubbed the “Face Race.” We expect the hype cycle is going to jump exponentially when augmented reality glasses with heads-up displays enter the conversation. Many of these programs will fuse audio and visual information with gesture control, and bring the technologies together to get users and designers more excited about the intersections between AR and wearable tech. All of that said, content is still the most important element in these experiences, and that is what brands should always stay focused on.


Trey Green, Digital Strategy
Helina Seyoum, Digital Strategy
The Richards Group

Collaboration fatigue is coming. Here’s what to do about it: As we see the rise of influencer marketing now hit its peak with oversaturation, it can be argued that brand collaborations are headed for the same fate. If 2020 is sure to bring a massive surge of collaborations, should we worry that consumer brands are headed down the same path?

The next iteration of collaborations is co-creation. In a time where consumers can immediately see through inauthenticity, brands have to work harder and smarter to make meaningful and lasting partnerships with those that are moving culture. Other industries have been doing this for years – namely the music industry. Since artists have been able to master the art of sincere co-creation, might music have the blueprint we need to keep collaborations alive?


Peter Smart
Managing Partner + Head of Product Design

Multimodal design for frictionless user experience: We want digital experiences to operate as frictionlessly as possible, but our devices still don’t speak the same language. We control our smartspeaker with our voice, our phone with our fingertips, and our tv with a remote and its endless buttons. 

The technological challenge to simplify this experience is huge. In the user experience and design world, there’s a name for it: multimodal design. The goal is a world in which all of our devices operate with a universal set of controls and commands that feeds a much larger, integrated technological ecosystem. And the tech company that solves this grand challenge will win the user experience arms race. It’s a matter of placing a laser focus on creating seamless, connected human experiences: ecosystems that don’t think and act like single devices but as one that acts in harmony.


Marc Paulenich
Senior VP, Strategy/COO
Hart Associates

Soft metrics will be eschewed for highly specific, curated measurement data: Coming are the days of social engagements being the sole driver of social analytics. For communications and marketing strategies, defining what success “looks like” is becoming more important than the strategies themselves. Consider that some measurement methods may not even be identified, much less defined, as we approach 2020.

As the push for curating strategic metrics aligns with increasingly distinctive measurement points, each marketing organization will require its own interpretation of the metrics. Proprietary scoring may become the key differentiator from one agency to the next. Additionally, a growing detail will emerge to incorporate dynamic measurement throughout the sales cycle or the customer journey. Meanwhile, ease the transition and close the divide by making metrics a pivotal conversation as early as possible in the onboarding process.


Mike Menkes
Senior VP
Analytic Partners

Social media’s growing role in driving sales: Social media may struggle somewhat in the future, particularly given rising advertising costs. Increased demand with limited supply (in comparison) leads to CPM and cost increases that in some cases won’t be offset by increased effectiveness.  This is not to say that brands shouldn’t maintain a strong social media strategy, only that they should follow audience behavior closely and “buy smart.”

One exciting trend we’re seeing are brands utilizing social media for more upper funnel awareness and brand equity, which has driven strong results for many brands. This approach, when combined with additional channels in a comprehensive strategy, can lead to up to a 35% growth in ROI (source: Analytic Partners ROI Genome).