Believe it or not, the term 'digital marketing' was originally coined nearly three decades ago, back in 1990, when the first search engine, Archie, was born.

Since then, digital marketing has grown rapidly as advancements in technology have enabled a mass collection of data globally. This has led to the birth of comprehensive search systems such as Google, ecommerce sites like Yahoo, CMS systems such as WordPress and the emergence of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

As we approach the end of 2019, digital marketing is still on the rise, with research claiming that £1.34bn worth of spend went online last year in Britain. White Marble Marketing's Managing Director, Andrew Scott, joins us to discuss the digital trends he thinks will be key in the coming year.

Machine learning and AI (Artificial Intelligence)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the science that creates intelligent machines that learn and respond like humans. AI is predicted to completely transform digital marketing over the next few years as it can help businesses deliver exceptional customer service: As machines get more intelligent, their ability to learn and solve problems improves, meaning they can deal with customer requests more effectively than humans.

Andrew believes that AI will "really start to arrive in 2020" and will have a big role to play in lead scoring and marketing automation, as well as helping to improve voice search.  As people are becoming increasingly comfortable with performing searches across desktops and multiple devices, he is excited to see what search will look like across voice enabled devices in the near future.

Social Media

The first social media platform, Six Degrees was created in 1997, and since then we have seen the emergence of numerous new and innovative platforms that have transformed the internet into an era of instant messaging and blogging. There are now over 3.2 billion social media users worldwide, presenting incredible opportunities to digital marketers in 2020.

Andrew believes there is a "real focus on the level of risk involved in social media, so we are now seeing firms invest in training, the processes and the software tools to help build employee advocacy but in a risk-controlled way". He recognises that asset and wealth management firms have always been a bit behind the curve when it comes to social media in B2B markets. However, he believes that this provides an advantage as we can see "what works well in other industries and apply that to ours".

Building foundations for clever marketing

Digital marketing has been expanding at a rapid pace and marketers are constantly trying to adopt new trends to implement into their operations. Andrews top tip for 2020 is to continue building those foundations that enable clever marketing: "this means having your data in good shape, having your data segmented, having your email lists clean and ready to go, and having a website that's easy to publish and easy for search performance to work well on". "If you have those right", he says,  "then personalisation, AI and machine learning are all easier to adopt later in the year".

*Check out some of our other interesting content from our 12 days of Christmas challenge*