Funny things, new year celebrations. Happen every year, without fail. The completion of a circle (err..ellipse, rather) around the sun seems to elicit lots of celebration around the globe – besides all the partying of course!
As I hit a certain age that makes me tend to agree with my favourite aliens above, I decided that rather than partying, reflection better suits my temperament now. So here are my reflection-based predictions for 2020 – what will be hot and what is ‘not’ when it comes to marketing, learning and design. So, drumroll please, here it is, Ladies and Gentlemen:
|What’s hot||What’s not|
|Voice and voice-driven devices||Primetime TV|
|OTT||5-minute explainer videos|
|Blogs||Written case studies|
|Data privacy||Password-based security|
If you’ve survived the first week of 2020 without hearing about 2020 being the year of perfect vision, you’ve been living under a rock, my friend! That joke is getting as old as 2019 as we speak, but hey, corny jokesters will flog it for all its worth for another week or two maybe.
The march of Alexa, Siri, Cortana, Alice, Silvia and other voice assistants continues relentlessly. There are 300 now and counting, per those who keep track. Why are they all female anyway? They need not be – if you’re a Samuel Jackson fan, he recently lent his voice to Alexa. So you can soon say “Hey Samuel! Turn the lights on” and feel like you’re in an Avenger movie (any of the 19, your pick).
Voice can be used in exciting ways for businesses – from podcasts to voice-driven software. We’ve been exploring some of these ourselves.
Speaking of entertainment media, primetime TV is yesterday’s news, baby. If you’re still racing home to catch that appointment TV at 9 pm and haven’t forked out a small fortune for Digital Video Recorders, I’ve got news for you – the hottest shows in the country are now on Over The Top (OTT) platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, HotStar, Zee 5 and others. Subscriptions are nominal for individual channels but if you want it all, the DVR may still be cheaper. OTTs have made binge-watching the de facto way to spend weekends for those who don’t have invites to the gazillion parties around town (which maybe most of us anyway). It makes me confidently declare 2020 the year of mega binge-watching in India.
It’s also going be the year when B2B marketers harvest the OTT media for views and clicks – yes B2B marketing on OTT is going to be big in 2020.
If you’ve got the “Still watching?” question from Netflix, you’re a certified binge watcher. Yes, you.
As we’re in the video business too, albeit not yet at Netflix level, we’re also confidently declaring the death of the 5-minute explainer video, and even the 3-minute explainer video. [Btw, if you’re still in the contemplation stage for an explainer for your product or service, say ‘Hullo 2018’ again please!]
Our video analytics research shows that online video watchers (who’re not on Netflix, that is) drop off like flies near a blue light after 2 minutes 50 seconds. Yep. That’s the threshold for videos to make sense folks. So tell your video teams to set their time markers to 2:00 or below for 2020 to tell their stories. If they say they can’t do it, let us know – we’ve told stories in videos of under 10 seconds and can show them a thing or two.
Overall, videos are still sizzling hot and are gobbling up written text forms (will the next generation even read?), including familiar marketing assets such as case studies. We’ve built video case studies to great effect. Call them success stories, call them testimonials, it makes eminent sense to send a camera crew to a happy customer’s location and get their sound and video bytes praising you. Augment the video with your branding and some relevant stats showcasing results and voila! Video case study served up for your digital channels. Try it this year if you haven’t already.
That’s not to say that written content is dead. Blogs have made a surprising comeback and shall continue to shine in 2020. After getting flogged mercilessly in the name of SEO (keyword stuffing? Focus keywords? aaargh!) and suffering with mediocrity, blogs have come the full circle (ellipse? Heh, heh). Just the sheer novelty of engaging writing filled with deep insights has made people gasping from the inanity of social posts turn back to blogs, in my opinion.
So, here’s the next prediction: 2020 will be the year of long-form content. Yes, again. So hear ye, all newsletter editors, marketing managers and digital CMOs – give your content writers a break and ask them to write REAL blogs.
Now that I’ve mentioned social media, let me go out on a limb and predict that TikTok is on the ascendant. Yes, yes, we have to do the big 3, well, now the big 4 of social media, almost like hygiene. We shall continue the 15 posts a month (hopefully, with novel content) and keep the lights on. We shall all explore TikTok too. The video platform is being used for everything from schmaltzy karaoke to teaching English to goofy videos from WaPo. B2B marketing with TikTok, you ask? Go on, experiment if you want to reach Gen Z, I say.
Now that we’ve gazed enough into the crystal ball for marketing, what about learning? The days of ‘pure’ e-learning – a passive viewer gazing at scores of videos and ticking off questions in assignments – are numbered. This is evidenced by the startlingly low completion rates of MOOCs – as low as 3.13%.
If 2012 was the year of the MOOC, 2020 shall be the year of the SPOC – Specialized or Small Private Online Courses used for qualified sets of learners (think employee onboarding, small classes on campus) and complemented with in-classroom sessions for discussions, brainstorming and presentations. E-learning is valuable if done right, such as augmented learning, microlearning and SPOCs to supplement classroom training. In fact, self-paced e-learning is set to suffer a decline in 2020. Humans, for the most part, like to learn along with other humans.
Finally, something underlying all these digital advances – data privacy. As governments, corporations and hackers the world over seek to squeeze out all the bits and bytes about us that make us, well us, we the people should arm ourselves with all the knowledge and tools necessary to ensure our data, and that of our customers, employees and suppliers remains safe. Learn what laws protect you, and be a vocal advocate for their implementation. This year, data privacy will be huge, huge, huge – to borrow the favourite word of a world leader.
Happy 2020 to you!