January 15th, General Assembly Santa Monica hosted a live panel discussion THE FUTURE OF DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2019. The expert panel of digital marketers shared their ideas about the hottest digital marketing trends in 2019. I bet, something very futuristic will pop up in your mind, and you are right — the speakers did talk a lot about AI, and VR; but at some point the conversation went to the old-style instruments and to the importance of the marketing fundamentals. The GO RIDE team attended the event and we have created a discussion summary with the top trends, instruments, and some practical ideas for your success in 2019.


  • AI Marketing (Artificial intelligence marketing). AI concept is based on collecting real-time data, anticipating customers next move, and generating a real-time multi-channel communication to deliver a personalized message to the customer. A case study from the speaker: “After 2 hours of Christmas shopping with American Express card, a customer is receiving a personalized message from AMEX You have been Shopping for a while, it’s lunch time now, here is a coupon, stop by the Cheesecake Factory, it’s a step away from you. In 10 minutes a Cheesecake factory ads is popping up in your IG stories.”
  • Marketing Funnels. Create multi-step communication through the customer’s journey on every stage of the buying process and walk your customer from awareness to the purchase and to the brand evangelism. You can use e-books, free trials, podcasts, videos, advertorials (a blend of advertising and editorial). An example from the speaker: “An article ‘7 ways to lose weight’ ends with ‘read more – get an e-book’ ‘21 ways to lose weight.’ Next step: customer is getting an email with ebook and a link to the podcast. Your product is mentioned in the podcast while comparing different products”.
  • Partnerships. Do a win-win online collaborations with the brands of your size selling different products to the same audience. Create stunning content, tell an amazing story and double the campaign audience and sales with no additional marketing cost.
  • Integrating online and offline. Go offline for a day with pop-up events, redirect your offline audience to your social media platforms. Customers are getting engaged with the art content. Create an art-installation or post-worthy object, become a trendsetter (e.g. Paul Smiths (@paulsmithdesign) wall in LA. The #pinkwall hashtag has 126K instagram posts).


  • CSR-marketing. To approach the younger audience you will need to have a story behind the brand, the value which the brand brings to society. Abstractive missions won’t work well, your brand needs to make a real social impact. ( e.g. Imperfect produce, a produce delivery subscription service, claims that “20 billion pounds of fruits and veggies go to waste on farms every year, oftentimes because they don’t live up to the cosmetic standards of grocery stores. We’re here to change that”. The brand has 143K IG followers and has all communications build around their mission of reducing food waste. )
  • Create your brand experience. In 2019 you are not selling products and services, it’s all about the experiences. Make your brand experience memorable, post-worthy, and share-worthy.
  • BFF- marketing and Storytelling. There is a lack of human relationships in businesses. Build trust and show the real face of your brand in social media. Create the brand stories, not just the content.


  • Instagram is the main social media platform for the majority of B2C products. Low cost of paid ads and high engagement rate makes an IG the most attractive SNS in 2019. Make sure to keep up feed activities and IG stories, try IGTV. Create more video content in 2019. Make your paid SNS ads relevant and make it look more organic.
  • Multiple-platforms = multiple-strategy. If you have decided that your brand needs multiple SNS platforms — think twice. In many cases it’s better to use more budget on the most effective channel instead of adding a new platform. Once you are done with your analytics and 100% sure you need multiple channels, make a separate strategy for each channel. Reposting same content from one platform to another wont bring brilliant results.
  • Micro and Nano-influencers. Instagram is the main platform for influencer marketing in 2019 and everyone already knows that using 40 micro-influencers with 10K followers will result in a better ROI than using one 400K influencer. But you can also try a low-budget barter or zero-budget partnerships with nano-influencers (1-1,5K) who have 20-30% engagement rate.
  • Honesty. Audience is fine with sponsored content when it’s relevant, so focus on targeting and don`t try to fool your customers: be honest and mark sponsored content. Influencer marketing is about brands and people partnering together to tell stories. Do not force influencers to use your confirmed content as “it is”, let them create their own content for your brand to make the message sound more native and honest.


  • Go offline. Personal sales has always been the main marketing communication tool for B2B. Go offline, meet your customers. Do some homework before attending conventions and business events: get a list of speakers and/or attendees, reach out to them via Linkedin, set up meetings during the event.
  • Cold emails. Surprising news — cold emails are working amazingly for B2B. Automate the process, but make your emails look personalized – use some fun instruments (e.g.


  • Understand your product and your customers’ needs. You don’t need to use all popular marketing channels just because you want to be in the trend. Use MVP (minimal value product) strategy to test things out, understand your market and your customers’ and adjust your marketing-mix.
  • Track your results and make a use of the analytic report. Use marketing automation as much as possible, make sure you read your marketing reports and use it to adjust your marketing communications as often as possible.
  • Marketing is a perfect blend of creativity and statistics. Find your balance. Think and talk numbers, but don’t forget about the creative part. Be creative but don’t get carried away – you are generating sales, it’s not about art. Brand value is important, but all that matters short-term are the numbers in your sales report.


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