Microsoft conducted a poll on LinkedIn with its six hundred senior marketers participants from around the globe to set a list of the most important and impactful trends in marketing for the next decade of the 2020s. This study enabled Microsoft to draw a trend list of hard and soft skills where SEO took the leading position under the most in-demand of all Hard Skills.

Hard skills:

  1. SEO
  2. Data analysis
  3. Copywriting
  4. Behavioral analysis
  5. Automation

Soft skills:

  1. Creativity
  2. Humility
  3. Empathy
  4. Adaptability
  5. Transparency

To be heard in an online world, Search Engine Optimization is the primary, essential, and highly impactful skill you require. Brands and businesses need to connect to their clients and remain visible to them through SEO. Transforming data into useful information, which, in turn, leads to fruitful business decisions, is paramount for brands. Thus Data Analysis takes second place. Copywriting is at third position as writing attractive, authentic, and engaging stuff adds up to SEO and helps brands draw the attention of the audience. Behavioral analysis is the crucial next thing as brands improve their engagement by studying the audience to provide the buyer precisely what they want. Without considering customers, automation cannot perform effectively in consumer growth.
“…although architects designed solutions that worked, many failed to consider their human audience. Emails went to no-reply addresses. Advertisements creepily popped up on newsfeeds after one spoke about a brand on a phone call or in a text message.”

Microsoft defined five influencing categories, including Culture, Marketing, Media, Technology, and Economics. With some insights from the last decade’s vision about how the digital market and audience interacted, Microsoft presented its 2020s vision under the five categories mentioned earlier. Here’s how it goes!

The Culture of “Private Social Trust”

Brands need to extend their caring circle, not only to specific social circles- their audience but to circles withing circles of appeal. For example, a more environment-friendly, healthcare conscious brand may become word of mouth quickly and attract more loyal customers.
“We’re beginning to move away from an always-on public existence to a more private world built around personal social circles. In this new world, private chats and messaging zones, and word-of-mouth recommendations are what people will trust.”

The Rise of Blocking Brands

Microsoft thinks that marketing strategies of tracking and targeting audiences through ads and pop-ups may become harder as using user data becomes more strict due to regulations (like CCPA). The tracking and targeting approach will increase the use of ad-blocking and tracking browsers or tools. And therefore, the trend of “likes” or clicks that lead to a web page will be changed with new platforms of “interactive advertisements.”
“New platforms will create experiences that look more like a personal concierge than an ad, leveraging interactivity that makes consumers feel like they’re texting a friend — not being sold something by a brand.

Traditional Media Meeting a New Marketplace

Microsoft predicts that the mutation and convergence of new offerings with the conventional digital media will bring a new marketplace where the main focus of audience-based buying would shift towards streaming services (like Disney+, Apple TV, Netflix, etc.).
For this reason, “Display + Native + Search will converge to build new online advertising solutions that were previously in siloes.”

Customer Experience Quotient: Understanding Buyer’s Journey

The paper states that brands that provide the best buying experience will become the most visible brands. This better experience can be achieved with the development of AI that predicts and presents better solutions to customers’ searches. Microsoft gives an example:
“Think about this exceptional customer experience example: You type into a search engine on how to edit a video using video editing software. The default brand with that solution gives you not only a tutorial on how to use it but a guest login for a free trial.

“The Business Model is the Message”

With some metaphors of unicorn and zebras, Microsoft is saying that a business model that cares about their customers, adopts the process of creating more just and healing communities, will survive. The world has become humanistic, as we know, so technologies that improve and companies that support this philosophy will become valuable for consumers.
“The motto of businesses in the 2010s, “Move fast and break things,” will fade into obscurity. A new phrase, “We have values that are more than ‘grow fast and exit,’” will guide business strategies in the coming decade.”

You can check out Microsoft’s complete report here https://about.ads.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/post/january-2020/2020-vision-trends-to-define-the-next-decade