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Oh, hello there. Welcome to 2019. Have you emerged from your cocoon of holiday warmth? Judging by the leftover cookie crumbs on your face, the answer to that question appears to be “sort of.” No matter, the year is off to a blistering start as it always is in the world of sales and marketing. Perhaps you’re still wrapping up plans for the new year, or maybe you’ve hit the ground running right away. Wherever you are to kick off 2019 there are some trends you need to be aware of to be fully prepared.

Before we ticked over into the new year, CMO.com ran through a list of upcoming trends in the marketing space for 2019. It’s an instructive look at where we stand as we start the year, and will serve you well in your thinking for approaching the year.

Data, Data, and More Data

If there’s one takeaway from this decade (the 2010’s? the 10’s? twenty-tens? We need to workshop some better names) it’s that data rules everything—for better and worse. We kicked off this decade by opening the floodgates of data, more became available than ever before. It has taken to the end of the decade to realize the ramifications of this amount of information being available. We’ve gone from the Wild West of data to the handling of sensitive information becoming more scrutinized than ever.

What does this mean for marketing professionals? Most likely you won’t have to worry about congressional hearings related to your handling of billions of people’s personal information, so that’s good! But it does mean every organization needs to have a concrete plan for recording, storing, and analyzing data. At this point we need to think not about just capturing data, but how to sort through all the information to make better decisions.

So how does all of that relate to 2019 trends? Stacy Martinet, VP of marketing strategy and communications at Adobe says that it will play out in hiring trends. “Adobe’s Martinet said she wouldn’t be surprised if more companies begin to offer data/analytics training more broadly across the organization in 2019, as well as invest in their creative teams’ data and analytics competencies, specifically.”

Data is a powerful thing, but make sure your organization is fully prepared to handle all the information you capture.

The Need for Personalization

Now, more than ever, personalization is necessary for connecting with buyers. They need to feel seen, and like their specific problems are ones that your organization cares about solving. The upside of personalization being a trend in 2019 is that it dovetails beautifully with our other trend: data.

In the CMO.com piece, they quote Jason Heller, partner and global lead, digital marketing operations at McKinsey about this topic. He says “the single view of the customer is the single most important asset that a modern marketer can have, and it’s the core of their personalization efforts. It also becomes the core of their next-generation marketing ROI capability, as well.”

That’s an important point. Personalization is of course a goal for any marketer, but how do you personalize when your data can’t communicate across disparate systems? You have to find a source of truth that can handle these different sources and provide end-users with an intuitive way to personalize buyer interactions. To that end, Heller says his expectation is organizations will “work on building agile marketing execution models in which cross-functional teams can experiment, leveraging the data and technology stack to capture value.”

So the takeaways as I release you into 2019 are:

  • There’s more data than ever
  • You need to be prepared to properly manage all that information
  • Personalization is a necessity
  • Data and personalization can intertwine beautifully with the right systems in place.

That’s it! Go off and achieve all those resolutions you set. And if you don’t, well, there’s always 2020.