It’s that time of year again: preparations for the new year are in full swing, from full blast holiday music flooding every department store to magazines announcing the seven kinds of juice cleanses that will kick off your new year right. And those new year preparations hold a special place in the hearts of marketers, as we all magically transform into futurists, ready to unleash our yearly “marketing trends to watch for” blog posts on the internet.

But are these often unfounded predictions really where you should be spending your precious year-end planning time? We’ll let you in on a secret: more often than not, these trends and predictions come back to killing the basics of marketing.

That’s why instead of making predictions this year, we’re re-focusing on what actually works to drive a successful marketing program today — not what might work in the next few years.

So, let’s get back to basics…

Create Quality Content

If you’re a savvy enough marketer to be mining for yearly marketing trends, I don’t have to tell you that quality content matters. In a digital landscape where only 9% of buyers prefer to engage with sales before the middle of their buying journey, your content has to work double time to attract buyers into your funnel.

The other critical aspect of content creation that marketers often forget about is that your audience’s experience in engaging with your content matters — especially today when there is so much for them to choose from. Your audience should be getting value here, and they shouldn’t have to sign away their first name, last name, company email address, and first born child behind a lead gate to get to it.

76 percent of marketers believe they could increase ROI and brand lift by two to five times with an expert team producing strategic, high-quality content.

Instead of focusing on chasing marketing trends this year, focus on making yourself a content creation expert and watch good, old-fashioned content marketing work its magic in 2019.

Qualify Your Leads the Right Way

Just because a prospect walks into a your bakery doesn’t mean they want to order a wedding cake. Maybe it smelled amazing and they couldn’t resist stopping in for a cookie — which is great to know, because that means you are an awesome baker! But it also means you shouldn’t waste your time and energy working to sell them a wedding cake.

This same concept applies to less inherently delicious kinds of marketing: if you’re passing every person who downloaded your eBook to sales for dutiful cold call follow-up, you risk creating a poor buyer experience, and losing a customer.

Instead of chasing a new trend this year, take a hard look at the backbone of how top marketers operationalize this concept: lead scoring. By separating out what is a latent behavior (your bakery customers dropping by) and what is an active behavior (perusing wedding cake samples and prices), marketers can better invest their time and resources.


To learn more about how to nurture your leads based on buying intent, not interest, check out this guide.

Treat Your Prospects Like People

When we are increasingly being asked to hit aggressive, revenue-based goals, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the numbers and forget that, at the end of the day, we are working to connect with people.

And to do that effectively, you have to meet people where they are, and interact with them in a human way. This means allowing your prospects to dictate what the next steps of their buying journey look like, and not stubbornly attempting to force them down the funnel with a drip campaign or persistent sales follow up.

This also means giving your prospects options for engagement to meet their preferences and needs. From an ROI calculator promoted on social media, to a live chat tool on your website, these varied content types give your prospects opportunities to raise their hands and either opt in or out of further engagement.

What does this look like in practice? Instead of walling off your content behind a lead gate, simply ask your buyers to dictate their own next steps in their decision making process. Check out this example from CoreSite:

Read more about how CoreSite gave their prospects different options to engage here.

Bring it On, 2019

As you explore your options to plan a successful 2019 for your marketing, I hope that you’ll also spend some time coming back to the basics that have always driven successful marketing: a message that matters carried by quality content, delivered to the right people, in the right way.

Want more planning tools to organize your 2019 campaigns? Download our reason for the season planning guide!