New Year in marketing means predictions - and lots of them. The top trends in social. What’s happening in the world of Email. The annual undertaking of marketers hawking their vision of what’s hot and what’s not in 2019 is well underway. The posts abound from ‘experts’ who can demystify those exciting buzzwords you may have heard of but are yet to grasp.

But what looms on the horizon in 2019? Will this be the year of VR? Will Voice disrupt your industry? Or should you persuade your director that Tik Tok is where your marketing dollars should be headed?

Sticking your head above the parapet to look at the year ahead is no bad thing. Far from it. But here’s where I think the line should be drawn.

Just because these new, exciting tools, technologies are tactics may be just around the corner doesn’t mean you should be automatically buy into these shiny objects simply because they’re new. Don’t fall in with the crowd and come down with a bad case of shiny object syndrome.

Shiny Object Syndrome

I don’t need to emphasise how much has changed with digital marketing in the last decade. Each year we as marketers become infatuated with new technologies that will somehow transform our businesses. Think about the hype of Ibeacons. Or Ello. Or 3D Printing

Directors, business owners, and CEO’s furiously make notes while sat in seminars and webinars, scanning listicles and reading self inflated LinkedIn updates what the oracles say on what’s new. The result is that emails are fired off to their marketing teams. Buy this. Why aren’t we doing this? I think we should be doing that.

These are shiny objects. And shiny objects have major problems for your business and your staff. Here’s why.


When it comes to a digital marketer’s toolkit the last 10 years have been plentiful. After the game-changing years of 2006-09 the digital marketing landscape has settled down to offer a plethora of channels and tactics that almost all businesses up and down the land are at least aware of.

Channels and tactics that you should most definitely be exploring before embarking on anything new.

Multiple marketing ideas have been exploited by other businesses across the globe, with demonstrable proof of their success. Look at the rise of paid social for example. Each area has generated it’s own ecosystem of forums, websites and videos each with their own insights, support and case studies showing what’s worked and what hasn’t. There’s heaps of tried and tested concepts which are ripe for exploitation. So why just because they weren’t launched this year do they somehow deserve less attention?

A lot of the business I talk with are have only in the last year or so started using items such as remarketing, email automation or dedicated link building to build business. So why choose the unknown over the known? 2019 predictions shows should be about investing in doing more of what we know works, not gambling on the unknown.


If your a business who like most, have a small marketing team and an even smaller marketing budget then anything you test or put time and money towards takes away from what you’re already doing.

Shiny objects don’t just affect the business. They affect the people. Marketing teams are run ragged with the ever growing list of things they have to do, could do and want to do. I’ve yet to ever meet a bored marketer. They’re a stressed bunch who deep down want to do a genuinely good job but rarely have the capacity to research and execute another damn thing.

This time of year sees a peak of work - Christmas recovery combined with 2019 plans means January is a peak month for marketers. And honestly? Asking your team to explore something new is adding another straw that could finally break the camel’s back. The start of the year is job swapping season. It sounds exaggerated I know but that new trend you innocently ask a marketing team to test at this time of year could mean a major HR headache when a resignation lands. One thing too many tips a person to looking elsewhere.

If you’re going to integrate new marketing ideas into your business do it in a planned way, in a few months time - not a rushed email demanding to know why marketing aren’t already doing something.


I saw a great tweet recently which read ‘Ready for digital marketing in 2019? You’re not even ready for digital marketing in 2014”

The fundamental flaw with businesses big and small is that they can’t even sort out the basic fundamentals of digital marketing. I know this because so much of my work involves bringing digital marketing up to standard. This includes items such as explaining that you can’t just sell on social media. Explaining why uploading a 20mb image to your home page is a bad thing. Or why moving domain names without redirecting everything is a catastrophic idea.

If you want your digital marketing to succeed you don’t need to be eagerly buying into the latest ‘new and emerging technology’. You also don’t need to restructure your teams; or rebrand. Often these seem more like kneejerk reactions for when you don’t know what else to do.

If you want your business to succeed online in 2019 just do the fundamentals and do them really well. What’s really well you ask?

The best summary I’ve seen in my career has been from Smart Insights. Which stage does your business fall into?


So, when it comes to shiny objects don’t be a magpie.

Study, approach and evaluate any new trend or technology in a careful and considered way by all means, but get your digital marketing basics correct before embarking on anything more ambitious.