Top digital marketing executives agree this year will be about reaching and understanding customers over channels.

Cat Prestipino, CMO, Employment Hero:
As we shift toward a single customer view, I predict there will be a breakdown in what’s considered digital marketing. When digital marketing started over a decade ago, it was the only channel where you could test and track the impact of your campaigns. Fast-forward to now with an increased focus on attribution, most marketing channels allow for some form of testing and measurement.

As marketers are forced to focus on the individual customer journey, rather than the channel, silos within the marketing channel will disappear entirely and teams will be set up more along the lines of customer acquisition or customer retention consisting of different skill sets rather than channel ownership.

Guy Yalif, CEO, Intellimize:
Historically, digital marketers have thought about personalization and conversion rate optimization as separate things, and in 2019 the lines will blur significantly. I think marketers will increase use of AI-based tools to optimize conversion rates to yield better results than the current ‘winner take all’ approaches that treat all prospects the same.

In 2019, I think we will also see time-starved marketing leaders will use machine learning to automate more of the rote work their teams do. Rote tasks, such as the basics of experiment management, will be increasingly automated, freeing up time to do the things marketing teams are uniquely great at doing, like understanding prospects’ motivation and developing creative approaches to persuade prospects to convert.

Dunja Lazic, Head of Marketing, Sked Social:
With Twitter shutting down millions of fake accounts this year and Instagram tackling automatic likes apps, brands are starting to compete for more authentic engagement. On the other hand, with Messenger & other chat apps usage on the rise, brands are looking for ways to reach their audience’s inbox, so we’re hoping next year will mean a stronger focus on building relationships and more authenticity in marketing.

Justin Cannon, CEO, Cooperate:
Great digital marketing communications are built on the foundation of intelligently designed customer communications journeys that feed into well-crafted full customer experiences. Very quickly as marketers, we can find ourselves caught in the weeds carrying out activities and making evaluations about channels, often digital ones, and creative choices disconnected from the full customer experience.

Well-constructed and interactive customer communications journeys are the starting foundation of great marketing teams and work. Only then, once you have an intelligently constructed customer journey with clear goals defined for each stage, an optimal message as a starting point for plenty of agile message split testing, should you get anywhere near deciding what channels are the best to use for your marketing challenge.

My tip for 2019 is that marketers must start to realize digital marketing is just part of marketing, and smart marketers will start to use large networks like Instagram and Facebook to help with the awareness/brand layer of their customer journeys as well as bottom of the funnel, call to action response advertising.