Who will be the winner in 2019?

10 January 2019

Who will be the winner in 2019?

Jesper Vagtel Johansen has dusted off her trusty crystal ball, and here is her prediction of some of the events you can expect in marketing land in 2019.


Data will go from buzzword to hands-on

Looking back on last year’s predictions, I noticed something interesting: In a way, almost all the predictions I made about 2018 were about tech and data, Tech and data are self-evidently huge topics which will also characterise 2019. Still, in my view, there is one thing that is particularly on the path to change, and that is our perception of technology.

The initial astonishment – for some, perhaps even fright – is wearing off, and instead there is an understanding that data in itself is not worth anything. Parallel to this, there is a growing understanding of the human aspect. So here is my first prediction:

Data and emotions are connected – it will be about who can crack the code of how the use of data can be made intelligent, and simultaneously understand that people talk to people.

Or to put it another way: In 2019, we will get better at qualifying our endless, wonderful data so that we get real value out of them. I believe that data-driven creativity will really take off. Data-driven creativity means using data to qualify and make creative briefs even better, so that campaigns and content are always relevant to their recipients.

GDPR will become something positive

The GDPR will celebrate its first birthday on 25 May, and last year we all spent a lot of energy understanding the rules and making our companies compliant. Lots of pain for very little gain – unless your business card read “lawyer or accountant specialising in GDPR”.

With almost a year of GDPR experience behind us, it is now time to use it for something positive. As consumers, we are becoming more and more aware that nothing online is really free, and that we are always entering an exchange using our data. If this trade-off is uneven, we do not want to be involved.

Therefore, I predict that the GDPR and the ethics of personalisation can become a competitive advantage: Those who can demonstrate the use of data as a real value for the consumer, voter, customer, etc., will win – and get access to data!

A practical example is Netflix. They utilise their many data when they create new entertainment, but also to help you choose when you can’t do it yourself. Like on New Year’s Day, when they hit the spot by suggesting that I, suffering from a hangover, should watch Bird Box.

Hello and goodbye

Soon, the only constant will be change. 2018 ended with us having to say goodbye to Toys “R” Us, whose sales figures had become a sad sight to behold. A large and well-known brand is no longer a guarantee of survival, and I doubt that we’ve seen the last chain buckle to disruption.

The retailer will be under pressure again this year, but those who know how to integrate the online and offline will have a significant advantage.

Finally, we know for certain that Google+ is one of the brands that we will have to say goodbye to in 2019. As a consequence of last year’s data leak, Google+ is closing, which is scheduled to happen in April.

It’s still about people

I started the last paragraph by saying that soon, the only constant would be change. But some things never change. Well, not for those of us who work in marketing. It is still about getting someone to spend some of their limited time here on earth on your message (on this note, I send my thanks to those of you who have read this far).

And how do you do that? I like this quote from Bill Bernbach – the B in DDB, and the man behind the advertising industry’s creative revolution:

 “It took millions of years for man’s instincts to develop. It will take millions more for them to even vary. It is fashionable to talk about changing man. A communicator must be concerned with unchanging man, with his obsessive drive to survive, to be admired, to succeed, to love, to take care of his own.”

So yes, it may well be that the world in 2019 can sometimes feel like a noisy and confusing place. But we are still just people, talking to other people, with ordinary human needs and emotions, and if you remember that, you cannot go wrong working with data-driven creativity in 2019.

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