Four key ways marketing will shift in 2020


By Andrew Witkin, founder and president, StickerYou

As Q4 begins and the end of 2019 quickly approaches, many marketers are looking ahead to 2020. Allocating budgets is a challenge when so much in this fast-moving industry is still unknown. Will Google surprise SEO specialists with sweeping new changes, or will they continue to tweak throughout the year? How will market demographics shift, and how can we cater to these audiences? What will consumers expect from branding and marketing, and how can we ensure they get it?

While Google’s algorithms will always remain a mystery and customer’s expectations are in constant flux, there are a few clear trends whose seeds were planted over the past several years and are set to grow throughout 2020.

Experience over Instagram

Many brands have famously been experimenting with experiential marketing over the past several years, but in 2020, expect these initiatives to not only grow, but to supersede the importance of making moments Grammable. 

Instead of throwing up colourful backdrops to snap selfies in front of, brands will shift focus to creating memorable experiences for consumers that are less focused on having an Instagrammable space, or will incorporate the Instragrammable space into a larger experiential initiative in which the customer is exposed to an idea and a feeling. 

The potential influence of this shift is remarkable. Studies have shown that people are more apt to purchase when they’ve been emotionally engaged. According to a Tempkin Group study, when a person has an emotional association with a brand, they are 8.4 times more likely to trust the company, 7.1 times more likely to not only purchase, but purchase more, and 6.6 times more likely to forgive a company slip-up. 

Emotionally-engaged people convert. And savvy companies will be working toward creating the experiences necessary for consumers to get emotional, in the best way.

Next up, Gen Z

Move over, Millennials. Gen Z is now on the radar of marketers, and this will mean a shift in methods to reach this new demographic.The oldest Gen Z’s are set to step into their mid-20s next year, a prime age for purchasing. This means that marketers will be looking for the right ways to connect with this audience. Each generation has favourite social media, and if Gen X was defined by Facebook and Millennials by Instagram, Gen Z will be shaped by newer apps such as Tick Tok, Reddit and Twitch.

This means adapting marketing campaigns to match the mediums Gen Z is watching, and keeping an eye on how they are accessing information in the coming years.


It’s a buzzword in marketing for a good reason. In a world that is experiencing climate change and political and social upheaval, customers are not in the mood to be lied to or jerked around. When people talk about authenticity, what they are really saying is that they want the truth from brands, and they want to be able to rely on them to make good and transparent choices about how they create and disseminate their products. This will only become more important over the next year. 

Brands that commit to ethical practices and transparency with consumers will do well. Those that don’t may find it harder to engage with target audiences.

Retail stores will become experience centres

As traditional stores go under because of flawed business models that failed to keep up with the times, a new kind of retail is emerging in this space, and it’s one that aims to bring customers into an entire world, to get them talking and to give them something to talk about.

Rethinking environments to cater to emotional experiences will start to appear outside of the trendsetting companies currently engaging in the practice. At StickerYou, we’ve gotten into the game with our retail store that recently opened this past summer. A blend of retail and experience, the aim is to give customers the chance to be inspired by the look, feel and touch of custom stickers, custom labels, temporary tattoos, etc., as well as to be surrounded by the history and artistic impact of the medium through a sticker museum and art exhibition that will be permanent features of the space.

Whether it’s discovering the best ways to reach Gen Z, building experiences rather than Instagram spaces, becoming more authentic or rethinking retail spaces, the opportunities for marketers coming up in 2020 are vast. Make sure to take advantage of them.

Andrew Witkin

As the founder and president of StickerYou, Andrew Witkin believes in the enormous power of customisation. With over a decade of StickerYou success, he is one of Canada’s leading experts in e-commerce, customisation, startups, marketing and the tech economy. He is a graduate of Dalhousie University and holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business, York University. Witkin has previously served as VP North American Licensing for Nelvana/Corus Entertainment and Director of Marketing for MegaBrands/Mattel.