As the world continues to go digital, most interactions are happening at the ‘edge’ – close to population centers. Places where the digital and the physical worlds meet face to face and where businesses across the board come together to exchange ideas, services and information. This edge is called the ‘Digital Edge’.  Simultaneously most major technology trends have created a new normal in every global industry and its plain and clear that if your business is not digitally ready, or part of this sharing economy, then you will struggle to engage or be relevant.

Leaders must harness connection – but this connection is not just digital/technology related-it actually runs deeper- it is about forging relationships across borders/cultures and is driven primarily by dynamic interactions between people, and the systems they are a part of, at the heart of this digital edge. Companies are finding new business models that transform the delivery of technology and digital which enables them to be agile when it comes to differentiation and customer loyalty. This is why everyone is striving to get a foothold because the volume of data and information that is being produced and consumed at this ‘digital edge’ is constantly and rapidly expanding. 

It is the forward thinking ones: the visionaries who understand the importance of human connection that drive the essential digital business value. Those who have already laid down the future when it comes to the business of digital, and here are some key aspects that we know are going to unfold in the year 2020:

Leveraging opportunity and unlocking growth is not something any single company can achieve alone- it is about interconnectivity and collective opportunities that go beyond the digital realm.

Let’s take a peek into the future with what is coming…

  • Loyalty is beyond transactions – Every offline and online business is offering additional benefits and unexpected perks, in a bid to gain customer loyalty. But loyalty is more than this, it is about having a trustworthy relationship based on experiences that the customer then takes beyond transactions to brand advocacy. With increased digital competition from all directions, with Amazon taking a chunk out of most businesses online, just rewarding your consumers for spending money is not going to be enough. Instead of reducing the value of ‘loyalty points’, or increasing the spend required to earn a loyalty point, instead why not look at what is missing? Does your brand have a relationship – online and/or offline – with your customers? Do they know and understand your brand ethos- is there a connection that is not just based on a give and take but on ‘adding value’ ? Answers to these questions will engender loyalty that goes beyond the ‘click’ !

  • Slowing down Innovation– The past decade has seen brands/companies jump from innovation to innovation and the desire for more reactive products has been fueled by Digital and technology, that no one can compute or cope with on any human level anymore. Also we have failed to consider the serious impact on the planet as a whole thanks to this fast innovation business-where everything is transient; lacking in quality, service and the attention and care that ought to be part of any business venture. Where does this leave brands? As most companies will now testify – having reached ‘peak innovation’ has had a very clear negative effect – less focus on quality and values and more on quantity. But there is a global pushback with leaders now looking at a larger purpose for the brands and companies they helm. The responsibility that comes encumbered with a brand’s life cycle is to reflect the needs of communities and societies everywhere and also consider one’s imprints on the planet which is an equally huge responsible factor. Marketers are now needing to refocus and re-adapt their strategies that are in line with an ethos that is  based on having an impact that turns people’s lives around for the better. Less innovation and more engagement is the answer that many brands will align to going forward in 2020.

  • Influencer marketing– The ad spend for influencer marketing is predicted to reach 10$ billion by 2020. This means that every company/brand that has a digital reach will turn to its own consumers to play the role of influencer in the decision making and buying cycle of the product/service. A consumer’s voice is a voice that can be easily trusted and consumer recommendations hold a far greater value than corporate advertising. So 2020 is the ascent of Social Influencer marketing.

  • Emerging Tech/Interactive content–  AR, VR, 5G, AI, ML, everything is going to advance even further with seamlessly connected TVs, mobiles, and greater personalisation with digital videos on Instagram, Facebook, and other streaming platforms. OTT (Over the top media) will enable users to interact with ads on their mobiles and TVs leading to increased product placement within streaming video.  Voice search has already begun and most digital marketers, brands and companies are now gearing up to work on this aspect with Google Home, Siri and Alexa.

  • Chasing ROI or Future growth: ROI as a decision metric is now up for deconstructing as brand leaders/CMO’s have realised that at best it is an accountancy term and at worst it is an obsession to find a formula that basically makes you more money than what you invest/put out with your marketing efforts. ROI for too long has led to short term vision, when used to define the effectiveness of a marketing activity/strategy, rather than focussing on long-term brand growth and what exactly is needed to get there. But year 2020 will see short-term digital, or on the ground marketing initiatives take a backseat, despite how attractive they may seem, as they are not scalable nor do they unlock future growth. No more mediocre improvements for the sake of ROI but a well thought of, long term strategy and vision that encourages a brand’s team to bring more to the table, whilst forging a stronger connection with their customers and the world.

  • Global Media management– It was almost a year ago when Unilever threatened to pull out all advertising  on Google and Facebook in a call for more transparency, responsibility and accountability. Most big brands have already tightened their online scrutiny in the wake of unmitigated immeasurability and non-trackability of digital advertising spends. In the light of various digital scandals, negative online reputation, brand/individual trolling, child pornography websites, online sex trafficking,  padephile content, hate campaigns etc – the list is long and has virtually done more damage to brands and humanity on a scale unimaginable. But all of this will now be even more under scrutiny with how digital agencies and their clients conduct online businesses. As it should be! Privacy laws, browser crackdowns etc has affected targeting and marketing endeavours. This is also however leading to digital advertisers running out of options and towards the walled gardens of Google, Facebook and Amazon who will rake in more than 70% of the total US digital ad spending in 2020. So whilst these three are a gargantuan triopoly, consumer loyalty will be determined by measurability and consistent digital stock taking. Brands, individuals, societies and communities will come together to ask for greater transparency with cross-platforms and clarity when it comes to digital/online content and cross-media measurement.  New standards in Global Media Management is all set to take precedence over anything else.

There you have it. This is what we feel are going to be some very important aspects of not just the digital economy but also part of everyone’s life. Our purpose at Elixir is to bring to you future insights based on how the world is currently, and where we are at in relation to that. 

There is going to be a major shift in all aspects in the coming times and our efforts are to bring attention to certain aspects where we can collectively come together to bring trust, transparency and responsibility in not just our professional spheres, not just how we conduct businesses- global or small – but also how we live our lives in every other aspect. 

So enjoy the ride into 2020 – and see you on the other side.

Our ethos @Elixir is that we love to give back to the world by working with our clients and fostering long term relationships.

Our brand founder and author of this blog Chetan Jha is leading not just change but also innovation across the board through best practises that echo compassion understanding and reflection. To know more, email us: [email protected] 

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