It’s no secret that the marketing industry has evolved drastically over the past few years. But, as we enter 2020, marketers will continue to fight the uphill battle that evolving with the latest customer demands and technology brings.

Look at trends that cropped up in the B2C space two years ago and you’ll see a glaring similarity to what B2B will shift its focus to in 2020. Unfortunately, many of these hot topics — such as AI — will once again lose its luster by the end of the year without the massive data sets and advanced algorithms needed to make this technology truly useful in the marketing space.

So in 2020, avoid the hype and remain focused on the opportunities knocking at your door that can be taken advantage of right now. Want to know what these opportunities might be? Let’s take a look at three of the top marketing trends to watch in 2020:

Leveraging ABM with customers

ABM is no longer a new trend in the marketing space, as many businesses deploy this strategy for their marketing efforts. In fact, according to a survey by ITSMA, 80% of marketers that measure ROI say that ABM initiatives outperform other marketing investments. In 2020, we’ll see this strategy evolve to not only influence prospects but also current customers.

As many B2B companies know, one of the most detrimental issues a vendor can face is when their main point of contact leaves their customer company. And as the subscription-based landscape continues to grow, this is only becoming more common. This means today’s marketers have to foster relationships within existing customer businesses on a more holistic level to avoid siloed relationships that can end the minute a single team member leaves the company. This is where modern ABM can save the day. By using the same tactics with existing customers that we’re so familiar with using on the prospect side, we can foster relationships within customer businesses that truly last a lifetime.

A tighter focus on data collection

The consumer privacy movement gained speed in 2019, with 81% of consumers noting they have become more concerned about how companies use their data. With 87% of consumers also stating that they want more substantial regulations around personal data management, we’ve seen some of these regulations already come into effect — including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). On top of CCPA, many other states are working on or have already passed new regulations around Internet and data privacy.

On top of these regulations, we’re seeing more and more extreme measures for data protection, such as country-specific internet in places like Germany and Russia and even cookie-less browsers. As third-party data becomes more and more regulated, marketers are going to have to evolve in 2020 to rely on other sources of data. Those who begin to shift their focus to first-party data from places like email will have a leg-up on their competition in 2020.

Employee email as marketing king

When it comes to our everyday business home, email is by far the top place we live. In fact, in 2018, we sent 124.5 billion business emails and the average professional spent around 6.3 hours in their inbox every day. Not to mention, over 86% of B2B business communication is done over one-to-one email. So, what better way to amplify your message than to use this channel your prospects are already living in?

Many marketers are yet to tap email as an owned marketing channel, but 2020 will be the year where email becomes the marketing king. With tools like opportunity stage inbox ads, marketers can now target prospects at every stage of their journey…directly in their inbox. As we look at more ways to scale our ABM strategies, email will be a top resource to amplify messages and attract prospects.

Where do you start?

Before your head starts spinning thinking about everything you need to accomplish in 2020, take a step back to prioritize real ways you can get ahead in 2020. Instead of getting caught up in the hype of fads like AI, prioritize strategies like using employee email as a marketing channel and reliance on first-party data as the basis of your marketing strategy. As we see new challenges emerge with data privacy regulations and building relationships in a changing business landscape, these new strategies can help you not only evolve your marketing strategy for the new year, but many to come.

About the Author: Bryan Wade is the CEO of Sigstr, an email signature marketing platform that allows you to standardize brand consistency and drive marketing ROI with every employee email sent.