It’s time again for our top marketing trends 2019, Bluetext’s annual look at what trends are going to drive digital marketing come the new year. In this and subsequent blog posts, we will discuss additional trends for 2019, including the public’s change of attitude towards social media platforms, and then assess what to expect next year in website design, digital marketing, branding, and public relations.

For 2019, identifying an over-arching theme that will drive a significant part of the marketing industry is not hard. Privacy, ranging from significant new regulatory requirements, massive industry failures, and changing consumer expectations, wasn’t merely a distraction (or some might say annoyance) – it was a bludgeoning that top marketers had to take repeatedly, as changes to successful digital strategies got turned on their head over and over throughout the year due to changes in privacy rules as well as blow-back against platforms that appeared to disregard privacy.

First and foremost for us marketers was the General Data Protection Regulation, better known as GDPR. The regulation, which took effect in the European Union on May 25th, is a legal framework that sets guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information of individuals within the European Union. Of course, since just about every brand either does business now in the EU or wants to do business there, it is a framework that impacts every organization that interacts with our friends across the pond.

GDPR in and of itself tells you everything you need to know about how privacy is becoming the driving force behind changes to digital marketing. In a nutshell, the regulatory framework behind GDPR places personal information back in the hands of the individual, and removes it from the control of private companies, because it requires the explicit informed consent of an individual to make their information public. There are other requirements as well in the regulation, but it essentially requires marketers at every company that does business in the EU to obtain the “opt-in” consent from their customers (and non-customers). And because few people can be expected to give that permission, it is drastically changing how marketers can use the types of behavioral data that we generally collect for marketing (and other) purposes.

Here’s how summarized the impact of GDPR on digital marketers:

“(A) s a digital marketer, you are going to have to be transparent any time you wish to collect data on someone. You will have to communicate very clearly that you want to collect data, and explain explicitly how that data is going to be used. You then have to gain consent while also informing consumers about their right to refuse or withdraw their consent. This means that you might have to get a lot more creative when trying to convert a website visitor into a lead.”

GDPR presents some very real challenges to digital marketers, who are going to be held to a higher standard than pre-GDPR. But it’s also forcing fresh thinking and more creative strategies, and ultimately it should help build better relationships between businesses and their consumers that are built on trust and transparency.

Next in our Top Marketing Trends 2019 series: How privacy blow-back to top digital platforms is changing digital marketing.

Learn How Bluetext Can Help Navigate the Top Marketing Trends 2019!