Staying on top of marketing trends is no small task and sifting through an abundance of emerging trends and technologies to find what’s genuinely worthwhile is harder still. As 2019 gets fully underway, retail analysis firm, RetailDive has published its five key trend predictions for retail marketers, drawing on a panel of experts and a slew of reports to pinpoint five things most likely to shape your efforts over the course of the next 12 months.

  1. You’ll think bigger and bolder

The retail analysts say that 2019’s campaigns will be bolder as marketers become braver. This may mean courting controversy with a thought proving piece of marketing, taking diversity to the max or otherwise taking risks with your advertising and marketing creative. RetailDive cautions this isn’t for everyone – and of course you shouldn’t force controversy for the sake of it – but for brands with younger demographics, Nike is the epitome of how it should be done.

  • Loyalty sets the bar high

If your brand has a standard loyalty program, such as money off after a certain spend, points to be redeemed against purchases or a free gift after so many orders, revamping it could well dominate your 2019 marketing sessions. In the US, RetailDive reports that many big name brands have recently entirely overhauled their loyalty structure and seriously raised the bar for rivals. Some brands have taken it further with entire member’s only stores, platforms and assets (Nike are leaders here too) but Starbucks also gets a slew of praise for its app-based loyalty system which offers perks like pre-ordering to skip queues. One of the trends is for loyalty programs to be more personalised with perks tailored to users in a much more clearly defined manner.

  • You’ll probably get social… or political

A host of major brands and retailers have long since used their marketing to air their social and political causes – ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s for example which is often credited as pioneering this style of marketing – but the analysts expect that political and social issues will be more prevalent than ever in 2019’s ad and marketing campaigns. We’ve seen this recently with single use plastics but it’s set to grow.

  • Your brand may need to pivot

Even established brands are finding branding tricky of late with RetailDive pointing to the example of Victoria’s Secret, which built its image around the Victoria’s Secret Show that now doesn’t resonate quite as effectively as it did. Despite its successes, Nike also navigated a slippery slope in 2018, with boardroom and corporate missteps affecting how its ads and products were perceived. The bottom line? Don’t be surprised if a backlash brews and be prepared to pivot.

  • Social media will be a bigger part of your marketing process

Even social media sites are using social media as part of their marketing process – Twitter announced just a few days ago that it was launching a new beta program which will see it recruit users to test new features, give feedback and share their opinions and suggestions with the network, in order to help it hit all the right notes and remove user gripes in 2019.

Social media has long since been used to build loyalty and engage with customers, but you may now find yourself asking your followers to weigh in on your campaigns with their opinions, get them to test products or initiate word-of-mouth recommendations.