10 Digital Business Trends for 2019


The web agency Petra publishes an annual list of the 10 most important digital business trends set to shape industry in the year ahead. The list, published since 2012, focuses on the digital trends that drive sales and position companies in an increasingly competitive market.

In 2019, the following trends will determine your business opportunities:

1. Data and analytics light the path to increased profitability

While data has been a hot topic for the past 10 years, many companies are only now realizing that they lack strategies and plans for how to utilize their data. What should be done with the data, and how can they enrich that data? Is it IT's responsibility to manage the data, or is it a job for the marketing department? Analytics provides a foundation for powering customer insight and further marketing actions. Marketing organizations need to build more knowledge and capabilities to take full advantage of their data.

2. Integrated B2B customer portals show record growth

Marketing organizations have traditionally had responsibility for public web pages and their appearance – often the first door in for potential customers. However, integrated B2B portals are now becoming more prominent, and e-commerce typically plays a role. A growing number of B2B customers expect more power to manage their orders as well as access to visual dashboards on ongoing relationships. Enhanced customer experience drives portal development, but many companies are also trying to find ways to lower operational costs. As the amount of available data increases exponentially, it is impossible to manually manage customer information.

3. Insourcing of digital marketing knowledge

Many companies have realized that they need to create competences within their own organization to take full advantage of digital marketing capabilities. Another alternative is to find an agency to work closely with over the long-term. Too many times, companies spend their money on ad-hoc campaigns when they need more long-term brand building combined with tactical digital marketing execution.

4. AI-powered customer services and websites improve conversion rates

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is expanding from advertising to website analytics and personalization. AI will power marketing organizations to perform more targeted actions and recommendations to their target groups. AI will even be able to recommend segmentation and suggest appropriate content for the right target audience. This will improve conversion rates and customer experience.

10 Digital Business Trends for 2019
2018 was the breakthrough year for voice-controlled devices
C-G Hanson, Sales Director
5. Marketing organization needs to deliver the digital customer experience

On one hand, marketing organization will see further specialization towards specific channels and tools like marketing automation. At the same time, there is a need for individuals with holistic knowledge of customer experience, CRM, websites, IT, digital marketing and analytics as well as excellent project management capabilities. Without this holistic knowledge, companies are not able to make the big leap. And without subject matter experts, the execution will fail.

6. Machine learning paving the way to a whole new digital marketing era

Machine learning has had a profound impact on the future of marketing. Marketers can use it to automate their processes and considerably boost ROI. Machine learning runs in the background of most sites and collects massive amounts of data, including keyword searches, time spent on a page, and how often a product is added to a cart. Examples of systems that uses machine learning are Google Ads, Facebook Ads and LinkedIn ads. We have found that when combined with manual digital experts, the machine can create staggering conversion rates.

7. Voice to become an important new channel

2018 was the breakthrough year for voice-controlled devices, with Alexa leading and Google Home as the runner up. Will 2019 be the year when companies on a broader front create and launch services for these devices? SAS, H&M, ICA and SJ Labs are some of the Swedish companies that already have launched applications for Google Home. Alexa has more than 50,000 “skills” in the United States, and it will soon be launched in Swedish.

8. Striking the balance between short- and long-term digital marketing

Researchers Les Binet and Peter Field have focused on how to balance short- and long-term marketing activities. Their findings indicate that 60% brand-building activities and 40% sales activation represent the optimal mix – online as well as off. Many companies focus on conversion in digital marketing but forget the brand building part. Some channels, such as YouTube and Instagram, naturally lend themselves better for brand-building communication.

9. Two parallel themes: tech and storytelling

As tools become more advanced and sophisticated, we leave more and more of the decision making to machines and systems. Technology helps us with targeting and personalization, but all companies need a soul and a story. Content creation, curation and optimization will become more important and can be the difference between systems.

10. Customer insights for better digital emotions

Few of the great things in life got that way by accident. It springs from hard work and research, so we need to understand what triggers emotions. The field of deep customer insights has grown and will have increasing importance. Tools for this can be anything from Hotjar and Tobii analyses to new types of Brand Potential Analysis.

An article by
"C-G" Hanson
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