Top Marketing Trends for 2020


A collection of trends that stood out in 2019 and the ones franchisors should be ready for in 2020.

By Beth Dailey, IFA

This past year featured numerous shifts within the marketing industry. With 2020 upon us, I asked members of the International Franchise Association’s Marketing & Innovation Committee their take on the biggest marketing trends from 2019 and what they see gaining momentum in the new year. Whether you’re a marketing expert or simply interested in the best tactics for building your brand, these are all key factors for your team and brand to take into consideration for 2020. 

Biggest Marketing Trends From 2019

One of the biggest trends that 2019 brought back was the depth and delivery of the consumer experience. Customer satisfaction is a brand’s top consideration, and with the new influx of advanced technology and digitization, businesses have had to find new ways to connect with their customers. A piece from titled, “Are Marketers Being Realistic About Their Consumer Experience?,” found that a whopping 63 percent of consumers agree that the personalized experience, “…is now part of the standard service they expect from a brand or retailer.” This statistic from the piece was taken from the March 2019 The Harris Poll report — a detailed survey that further confirms the notion that consumers now need more intimate interactions with brands. 

Brooke Budke, Vice President of Marketing at TITLE Boxing Club emphasized connecting with your customers online, saying, “Businesses having to learn how to utilize Instagram was one of the biggest trends. Ten years ago, people would sit around the boardroom asking what Facebook was and if it was needed. Today, brands need a strong presence on Instagram in the same way and need to get there quickly.” Brands should consider where their customers are digitally and make sure they are there too. 

When trying to further your understanding of a consumer, data analytics was a front and center resource. Keith Gerson, President of Franchise Operations and CMO at FranConnect states, “Data analytics provide a unified view of the customer across multiple sources. The holy grail will be to take data from across the organization into a single view to better understand the consumer’s wants and needs.” Again, the personalization of a consumer’s journey is more available than ever before, and brands increasingly amped up their consumer experience with the inclusion of social media and all the available insights it provides. 

Expected Trends for 2020

Having seen such an increase in consumer interactions with brands, it is only reasonable to expect that these interactions can be more refined in 2020. Customer experience management is going to be big, with Ziebart’s Director of Marketing, Larisa Walega, saying it will make or break a brand. “I expect there to be a big trend of retraining person to person communication,” said Walega. The importance of training never goes unnoticed, but franchises must adapt to different programs and ways to train their employees and continuously educate them on the brand’s mission. When your business is known for the positive interactions and connections it has with its members and consumers, you will want to be able to directly point at your training programs and employees for continuing the genuine connection that digital platforms may not be able to carry. 

Brands like to know why their consumers choose their business apart from others. Data driven creative will be crucial in the coming years, with personalized ads and content that are expected to increase ROI. Everything is immediate now, with brands needing to set themselves apart and make sure they do it in the fashion their consumers will respond to. 

Gerson mentioned following the “rule of seven,” which details the prospect hearing or seeing a brand’s message at least seven times before they buy it. Think about the outreach your business currently has and consider if it will need to increase in both size and repetition to maintain constant relativity and interest. 

Businesses can expect to be diversified through location and decoration, meaning a franchise needs to consider what makes customers feel at home with their business and what they can do to have people keep coming back. Budke weighed in on this notion as well, saying, “There is an importance of creating a space for Instagram — able moments in locations — have a space, a wall or design that makes the consumer want to take pictures inside your stores.” Start thinking about adding variety to your franchise locations and providing an environment that people not only want to be in, but also one that they are excited and proud to share in their personal, digital and social environments through established aesthetics in stores.

Trends Businesses Should Consider

The question that needs to be answered is simple. How do you make your brand stay relevant in an ever-changing era? Danielle Yuthas, Director of Marketing for SpeedPro Imaging, reiterates how this can be done through experiences with marketing campaigns and enticing consumers with more than words, but with valued actions and tangible strategies. Yuthas says, “Placing increased relevance on brand immersion and activation,” is crucial for your business to continue its growth and development of its consumer base. 

Other trends you will see in the future include AI and machine learning, which will soon be able to create experiences and algorithms uniquely doctored to adhere to the individual consumer’s wants and needs. As your business gets older and wiser, make sure that it keeps up with consumers that are doing the same. 

Think about what sets your brand apart from the rest and harness it into any marketing you do. Consumers now expect their experience to be catered to their wants and needs automatically, and if it isn’t, then your brand has a good chance of losing business. Expect to hear more about technology and updated forms of intelligence being on the rise as this new year progresses, but remember that it is the personalized connection your brand forms with your customers that will withstand the test of time. 

Beth Dailey is the Vice President of Marketing & Content at the International Franchise Association. She can be reached at