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Strategizing 2020

Strategies, goals, objectives and tactics are constantly changing and evolving in marketing. With the rise of digital and social media, it is nearly impossible to predict where the industry is headed.

In creating Social School’s 2020 marketing strategy, we took a different approach to yearly projections. Rather than making unfounded assumptions, we looked back throughout the past few years and carefully analyzed what has worked vs. what hasn’t.

When we revised our top marketing trends from the past 4 years, we realized a common theme.


Year: 2016

Best known for: Puppy Filters

Marketing trend: ‘Know, Like and Trust’

  • Content marketing allowed us to do this at scale
  • Beyond social: blogging, email marketing, podcasting, video, live broadcasting channels..

Year: 2017

Best known for: Fidget Spinners

Marketing trend: ‘4P’s move to 4A’s

  • So long product, price, place and promotion.
    • ENTER: Authenticity, Accessibility, Authority and Advocacy
  • Leading brands pull back the curtains and let people in
  • Authenticity turns up as barriers are removed and customers want access

Year: 2018

Best known for: Tiny Sunglasses

Marketing trend: The rise of paid reach

  • Pay to play social strategy becomes a must
  • Organic reach declines, digital ad spending skyrockets
  • Tailored content is a must, audience expectations grow

Year: 2019

Best known for: Crocs and Socks

Marketing trend: Storytelling becomes story-living

  • Product differentiation is replaced by experience
  • Brands give up the reigns, recognize that if they set the stage, their people will engage
  • Privacy, transparency, empowerment of the consumer

Year: 2020

Marketing trend: Belonging is everything

  • Leading brands will look to build human impressions, not optimize their ad impressions
  • Brand values will dominate consumer decisions even more
  • Traditional ‘push’ marketing will be even less effective, replaced by brand affinity, locality and belonging

Whether we like it or not, marketing is harder now than it’s ever been.


Because humans make choices.

We live in a time and culture where choice has never been so readily available, and is fully in the consumer’s control. Brands that have wholeheartedly realized that our emotional attachment to their product goes deeper than our attachment to the product itself.


Because we can join the organization, we can see into the company and the people behind it, and we care like never before.

Brand affinity is no longer a direct facilitator to purchase frequency or repeat behaviour, and organizations can no longer rely on their heritage or history. New technologies and greater choice across the customer journey means shopping around, making brand-swapping the norm.

The reality is that consumers are dismissing products if there is no attachment to the brand. For more than a century, we’ve built our biggest brands through an accumulation of ad impressions. Now, we build through human impressions. We must discover an entirely new way to connect to our customers.

Enter: Emotional Connection

Trust, loyalty, humanity and transparency.

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