The 6 Marketing Trends That Will Drive Innovation in 2020

Top marketing innovators across industries share their predictions

We asked 21 executives across a range of industries what they see as the emerging trends of 2020. Julian Gamboa
Headshot of Heide Palermo

Innovation never stops. But a new year—and a new decade—gives us a chance to pause, reflect and get excited about the possibilities. So we asked top marketing innovators from brands including Google, HBO, Hulu, Visa, Sony and Chipotle one question: What’s happening in marketing right now that you’re most excited about? 
We’ve rounded up their answers, along with key trends that surfaced in 2019 and will continue to shape the industry, from emerging technologies to experiential to the impact of culture 

1. The Democratization of Content Creation 

“2020 will be the year that we see the democratization of celebrity at scale. With new platforms in streaming and social media, we will see attention shift away from traditional media allowing new voices to be heard.” Nick Tran, vp of brand and culture marketing, Hulu
“The democratization of creative tools … has resulted in a marketplace full of talented content creators. In addition to external agency partners, [we have] an in-house creative team as well as a hybrid team made up of agency and in-house talent. We are also making content with influencers, media partners and content distributors of all kinds.” Brynn Bardacke, vp for North America content and creative excellence, The Coca-Cola Company
I am most excited about the shift in content consumption behavior, which is creating opportunities and forcing businesses to rethink how and where they go to for ideas and content. Brands can no longer thrive by going to the same places they’ve always gone. If the business of content has completely changed, why hasn’t the way we go about making it? The industry needs to innovate and I say, ‘bring on the challenge.’” Tina Walsh, chief brand officer, Tongal 
“Capturing content is now easier than ever. But VSCO users have taught us that providing tools for creation isn’t enough. They need safe spaces where they can express their own unique voice free of judgment. Creative democratization is best realized within supportive communities that are based on freedom of expression.” Tesa Aragones, chief marketing officer, VSCO
“Content creation has quickly moved beyond marketing and is now influencing product design in unique ways. With the right tools, consumer communities can now be given the keys to the products and experiences they love, which in turn changes their engagement with brands. It’s really exciting to see this beginning to take shape—it’s a whole new model of consumer ownership when you think about products that are designed and created in part by the community.” Jodie Antypas, vp of consumer insights and UX research, EA 

2. Voice Technology and 5G

Advancements in voice technology and ubiquitous computing will bring new levels of humanity to technology, simplifying how we use it and ironically helping us detach for it. Speaking is one of the most natural ways of interacting and will create whole new challenges and opportunities for brands, eventually redefining what ‘brand’ means in the future. Marvin Chow, vp of global marketing, Google and one of Adweek’s 2019 Brand Genius honorees
“Voice technology is something that we’ve been working on for the past couple of years, and we were excited to partner with Pandora on understanding how consumers are interacting with voice technology while they’re in their daily routines. Conversational AI is certainly something that’s evolving and advancing every day.” Orchid Bertelsen, head of digital innovation, Nestlé USA 
“Right now, I’m excited about what 5G will bring to the future of live entertainment. A faster, more powerful connection unlocks a more social, frictionless and immersive fan experience while presenting a powerful opportunity for deeper engagement between fans, artists and brands.” Kevin Chernett, evp of global partnerships and content distribution, Live Nation 

3. The Impact and Influence of Culture 

“We have a tremendous responsibility not only to our brands but also to our consumers. … We have the ability to bring people together, diminish divisiveness, and celebrate inclusion. And by amplifying those messages, we are in the driver’s seat to influence a culture that is truly about inclusiveness and connectedness.” Lizette Williams, head of U.S. cultural engagement and experiences, McDonald’s 


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@heidefaith heide.palermo@adweek.com Heide is the director of Adweek’s Inside the Brand series, including the CMO Moves and Gen ZEOs podcasts, Innovators, Challengers and Women Trailblazers. She also leads Adweek's Innovators Council.