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8 essential marketing trends for 2020

8 essential marketing trends for 2020

We took eight recent market studies, read them carefully and selected the most important and useful insights. We hope this material will help you feel more confident in the coming year. After all, when you know exactly what metrics are growing, what market leaders are betting on, how and what budgets are spent, what marketing solutions are chosen, what practices should be implemented and what to focus on in the near future, life becomes better.

A/B tests, multichannel CJMs, and customized content: everyone starts doing it

Source: State of Digital Marketing 2019 (by Altimeter)

This report provides an update on how companies use digital marketing to drive growth, what goals they set, what practices, metrics, platforms, frameworks they use, and what challenges they face. It is based on a study that brought together marketing experts from North America, Europe, and China.

How to meet customer expectations

As the role of digital marketing has grown, marketers have to reassess their own roles and capabilities. User expectations and pressure on companies have increased: they must be present in multiple channels, generate personalized content and positive user experiences in each of these channels. To meet these expectations, companies had to shift their marketing focus from creating brand awareness to managing customer relationships and life cycles. 

Segmentation based on geography and demography has given way to mixed segmentation techniques that take into account online user behavior, demographics, previous purchases, and more.

customer segmentation

Personalization, real-time communication, and continuous testing

The key practices are those that focus on multi-channel personalized communication: 

  • creating multichannel CJMs, 
  • user segmentation based on multiple measurements, 
  • content customization frameworks.

This also includes launching a process of continuous testing and training: most companies launch 3 to 5 A/B tests and multivariant tests every month. 

Marketers succeed in personalization in real-time. Using services to deliver customized content in real time based on user actions and data is one of the time milestones. 

Everyone’s already doing it

The study found that most of the study participants had already implemented or were in the process of implementing these practices. However, there is a wide gap between regions. Europe lags behind North America and China in almost all respects, while in China the development of digital marketing is closely intertwined with the active development of e-commerce.

Goals VS metrics

While in tracking metrics the focus has already shifted to LTV, when it comes to setting goals, most marketers continue to give priority to brand recognition rather than developing relationships with existing customers.

key purposes and key metrics in digital marketing

Brand awareness continues to be most often cited as a key purpose of digital marketing. This is followed by lead generation and the formation of a positive user experience. At the same time, only 5% of respondents used digital marketing to develop business with the help of existing customers. Looks like a missed opportunity, doesn’t it?


Interestingly, respondents who prioritized the creation of a recognizable brand were more likely to suffer from a lack of marketing budgets and receive less support from the management. While respondents who identified other goals, such as increasing product awareness or LTV, were less likely to face these problems. While overall, management expects more results from digital marketing and is not prepared to invest more resources in it. 


The most serious challenges for marketing organizations are:

  • hiring staff with up-to-date digital skills such as data analytics, technical expertise, and marketing automation; 
  • innovation scaling;
  • integration of multiple marketing tools;
  • centralized collection and management of data and communications. 

Which skills are in demand

The following creative skills are up-to-date: video and content editing, copywriting. Such old-school digital skills, such as the knowledge of SEO and expertise in advertising, are at the very end of the list.

skills required in digital marketing

China is the only region where data analytics is not on this list. On the other hand, knowledge of the basics of UX design was in the first place. It’s again related to the e-commerce boom on the web and mobile.


  • Manage customer relationships and their life cycles.
  • Product recognition instead of brand awareness.
  • Use mixed methods of segmentations.
  • Build a multi-channel personalized communication system.
  • Launch the continuous testing and training process.
  • Give priority to developing relationships with existing customers.
  • Match the goals to the metrics.
  • Learn data analytics and marketing automation.
  • Develop creative skills.

Average OR and CTR in all industries are growing

Source: 2019 Marketing Benchmark Report (by Acoustic) 

This report provides statistics on the “processing” email marketing metrics and mobile marketing metrics: delivery rate, open rate, repeat open rate, clicks, etc. The data is presented in terms of geography, industries, and message types.


  • Since 2014, average OR and CTR have been growing steadily every year. The biggest jump was in 2018. The constant growth is due to two factors: the cleanliness of mailing lists is being taken more seriously (including with regard to legal regulation), and thanks to personalization, users are receiving more and more relevant emails.
  • Thanks to legal regulation, Canadian companies are in the best position to do business: the OR of their emails exceeds the global average more than twice as much. 
  • American companies managed to increase their average clicks by 20% during the year. This was mainly thanks to content optimization for mobile devices.
  • The percentage of emails opened on mobile devices has stopped growing. 
  • In some areas, the number of repeat openings of emails reaches 3-4 times per recipient. 
  • The OR of transactional emails is very high and accounts for 73% on average, which is several times higher than the OR of all other message types. 


  • Track industry average metrics.
  • Personalize emails and other messages.
  • Take the hygiene of your mailing list seriously: collect it yourself, only with honest methods and clean it regularly.
  • Optimize content for mobile devices.
  • Do not disregard the possibilities of transactional emails.

What profit do marketing investments bring

Source: Marketing Budgets 2019-2020 (by Growth Marketing Stage)

This report will help you plan your budget and select the most profitable channels depending on the industry and size of your company. It provides data on how companies in different industries allocate their marketing budgets and what the economic impact of these investments is.


  • The smaller the company, the more its profit depends on investments in marketing. 
  • Retailers invest the most in marketing.
  • Product companies get more profit from marketing investments than outsourcing them.
  • Marketers increase content and growth marketing expenditures.
budgets in marketing


  • Don’t save money on marketing. Especially if you’re a small product company. 
  • Content generation, SEO, growth hacking, social media, contextual advertising, and email marketing are the most important areas. 
  • Nobody needs to be printed and TV ads. But you’ve already known that for a long time. 

Content marketing yields great results

Source: B2B content marketing — 2020 (by Content Marketing Institute)

For 10 years, the attention that marketers pay to content creation has not diminished. Marketers’ perceptions (and knowledge) of the audience for which content is produced have changed dramatically. 


Content marketing tasks are concentrated mainly at the top of the funnel.

50% of marketers in B2B produce mainly content for customers who are in the early stages of the product cycle. Less frequently, content marketing is responsible for strengthening relationships with customers. From year to year, the number of those who use content marketing to engage customers, build loyalty and increase sales and profits is growing.

Small teams are the norm.

One can rarely encounter content teams of more than 5 people working full time. Even in large companies, teams created for content creation only consist of 2-5 people. This may be explained by the fact that 84% of respondents prefer to outsource content generation. 

Among all types of content that are used, personalized content generates the most leads and helps maintain them better.

Blog posts and short articles work well to increase brand awareness, while emails are the best way to warm up customers.

Targeted content delivery is still an issue for one-third of respondents.

71% of survey participants confirmed that their companies try to send relevant content at the relevant time and use their preferred channels for this purpose. And only 66% segment clients by information preference using qualification emails.

84% use paid channels to distribute content.

Advertising in social networks is at the top of paid channels that are used by B2B marketers. LinkedIn is at the top of paid and organic channels. According to respondents, this very platform brings the best results in content marketing. 

Most use metrics to measure content effectiveness, but only a few set KPIs and measure content marketing ROI.

KPIs are common among market leaders compared to other respondents (83% vs. 65%). Among those who measure content marketing ROI (only 43% of respondents), between 59% and 84% of the leading companies note that they get excellent or very good results.

Research over the past three years confirms that having a documented content marketing strategy is almost a recipe for success. By 2020, 69% of successful content marketing companies have developed such a document. Another interesting point is while digital marketers complain about the lack of resources, content marketing budgets continue to grow steadily. 

A similar study on content marketing in B2C is also conducted annually, but the 2019 report has not yet been published. If you’re interested, you can look through last year’s report


  • Develop a content marketing strategy if you still don’t have one.
  • Strengthen customer relationships through content marketing.
  • Think about marketing inside an account.
  • Use more than just processing metrics.
  • Segment your customers and personalize your content.
  • Use the channels that users prefer.
  • Don’t forget about LinkedIn.

What is conversational marketing and who needs it

Source: Conversational marketing (by Drift and SurveyMonkey Audience)

This study focuses on how people prefer to be in contact with a business. For those who do not really understand what conversational marketing is and why it should be singled out as a separate category, this report is an interesting introduction to the topic. The starting point is that services like Uber, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Now have created new behavioral patterns for users and their expectations have changed. Customers expect to get what they want right away. But not all businesses are ready for it. Using platforms and solutions related to conversational marketing helps provide a higher level of customer service and simplify the buying process for potential customers at a convenient time. 

Report authors tried to present the strengths and weaknesses of different communication channels (online chats, chatbots, video calls, video messaging) from a new perspective.

Key insights:

  • Dialogs instead of forms. Because speed matters.
  • Chatbots and online consultants are expected to respond at approximately the same speed. 
  • Chatbots are no longer an alternative to communication with real people. Spoiler: You need both at the same time.
  • Emails are not going anywhere. Whoever says anything. 


  • It’s time to focus on what your leads can tell you, not just what you have to say.

What do customers expect from customer service

Source: State of the connected customer 2019 (by Salesforce)

This is another great study of user expectations. Customer experience is not new either. But it’s never been more important. 

customer experience
  • Standards are going up. An extremely successful user experience with one company raises expectations for all other companies. 
  • New expectations are triggering a series of transformations: 75% of customers expect companies to use new technologies to improve customer service.
  • Trust in the brand is becoming more important and more difficult to earn. 
  • The importance of corporate values and ethics and their impact on purchasing decisions have increased.
  • Communication should take place in real time and be unified, not scattered.

The study covers 3 regions (North America, Europe, and Asia) and 14 countries separately. There is data on what channels users prefer, what they expect from technology, how important corporate values and customer service are to them. Some data are presented by industry, some by generation, some by users and potential buyers of companies. 


  • To succeed, you must provide an extraordinary level of customer service.
  • Customer service isn’t just about support.
  • People quickly get used to new technologies and expect you to use them too.
  • Ethics matters.

How does the mobile industry evolve

Source: The State of Mobile 2019 (by App Annie)

The App Annie report contains a lot of interesting statistics: the number of installs, the distribution of markets among applications; the time users spend on different applications, and how much money they spend on them. It presents not only global statistics but also lists of top applications and top companies for 28 countries.


  • In 2018, users downloaded 194 billion (!) applications. This is 35% more than in 2016. Wow, that’s pretty dynamic, huh?
the state of mobile 2019

This growth was mainly driven by developing countries in Asia and Northern Europe. At the same time, the number of installs in mature markets such as the US and UK also continues to grow steadily. 

  • In 2018, non-game applications accounted for 65% of all installs. Twice as many as in 2016.
  • Users spent $101 billion shopping on the App Store in 2018. 

This figure increased by 75% (!) compared to 2016. By comparison, this is approximate twice the size of the world market for large feature films. And it is predicted that the mobile market will continue to grow five times faster than the entire world economy. 

The statistics take into account only transactions that pass through the application: paid installs, purchases, and subscriptions within the application. This does not include payments made outside the apps, such as travel via Uber or Amazon, or advertising revenue. 

  • On average, users spend three hours a day on a mobile application. This figure has increased by 50% compared to 2016. 
  • Entertainment apps with the ability to create and view video content have seen the most growth. 
  • Time spent in financial applications has increased by 65%. 

Mobile application marketing

  • 65% of App Store installs are organic searches. 
  • The number of platforms that marketers use to promote their applications has increased by more than 30%. 
  • The number of installs that come with paid traffic increases by 10% every year.


  • The mobile world is growing and developing at a crazy pace, and growth will only accelerate soon, especially in emerging markets. Keep up!

What makes companies change their marketing technologies and solutions

Source: The MarTech Replacement Survey 2020 (by MARTECH)

The number of technical solutions in marketing has skyrocketed in the last five years. Technology is developing many times faster than organizations are able to master it. At the same time, the vast majority of companies (83%) have changed this or that solution over the past year. The report reveals the motives and internal processes that lead to a change of decision, even if it is painful.


  • It is very difficult to replace the already “employed” technologies, whether it is a solution developed in-house or a paid program. 
  • Both solutions are being replaced equally.
  • In half of the cases, the change of decision is accompanied by the recruitment of new staff.
  • Not only low-level solutions are replaced, but also business-critical ones, such as CRM systems and marketing automation systems.
  • Management influences the decision to change technologies, but this is truer for small and medium-sized businesses than for large corporations.
  • Better functionality is the most common reason to make such decisions, but the price and possibility of integration are also important factors.
  • ROI measurement capability, flexibility and data management are critical.


  • Assess the risks and challenges of moving from your chosen solution to a fully integrated one.
  • The future is in third-party decisions.
  • Choose/create flexible solutions that can be integrated with all channels and systems that are important to you.
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