Every year, we put our marketing minds together, consider consumer behavior, listen to the needs of our business customers and analyze developments in technology to forecast some of the biggest trends in digital marketing. 2019 is no exception, and after much thought and in-depth analysis, we’re pegging the hottest trend for 2019 as integration.

What do we mean by integration? We’re talking about bringing all of the most influential, cutting-edge tools in digital marketing (online, social and mobile) under one umbrella. One program—one platform. Recently, we dug a little deeper on this topic with our first webinar of 2019: The Secret to Connecting with New Customers. Here are the top 3 questions—and answers—to come out of that webinar.

1. What are the benefits of integrated marketing?

The benefits are countless, really. Let’s start with efficiency. Running a small business, you likely wear many hats. From accountant to supervisor to marketer, you likely have more work to do than there are hours in the day. Logging in to 6 different platforms to manage your digital marketing isn’t a very effective use of your time. Then you have to log back in to each of those platforms to gather your reporting, and somehow find the time to pull all that data into a spreadsheet somewhere just to get a sense of how your campaigns are performing and what sort of return you’re seeing on your investment. It’s no wonder a majority of small business owners aren’t fully leveraging digital marketing, and those who are have virtually no clue if it’s working or not.

Just as important as efficiency, though, is consistency. These days, it’s not enough to have your business online—it needs to be everywhere online. Google, online directories, review sites, multiple social media platforms—you get the picture. How can you ensure you’re getting a clear and consistent message out there wherever customers might be searching for the goods or services you provide? One program—one platform. With an integrated marketing platform, one message, distributed across multiple channels, without the time and hassle of logging in to each platform separately.

The benefits go on and on. Transparency of reporting is another good one. But you get the gist. Streamline and simplify is the name of the game for 2019, and an integrated marketing program will get you there.

2. What should I look for in an integrated marketing platform?

As our Vice President of Digital Product Development answered, “Reporting.” Here’s the deal. At the end of the day, if your tool isn’t offering you clear, transparent, 24/7 reporting, how will you know if it’s working or not? If your tool isn’t putting analytics front and center, you might question if it’s really doing everything it claims to be doing for your business.

Look, there are lots of fancy tools and platforms out there that do a lot. But beware the platform that claims to do everything. No tool can do everything and do it well. Find a platform that focuses in on a few key things: getting your business found on local search, distributing custom content across all the most important channels, generating and managing reviews for your business, social media advertising, and even some text messaging! But don’t forget—transparent reporting should be at the center of all your marketing platform does.

3. Text messaging as part of a marketing platform? I’m a small business—is text messaging really that important to my marketing strategy?

In 2019? Yes, absolutely! From appointment reminders to special offers, 72% of consumers these days want to hear from businesses via text. No longer is text messaging reserved only for Fortune 500 businesses, local businesses are benefitting just as much by finding scalable ways to leverage this tool as part of an integrated marketing program. Getting started can be as simple as gathering cell phone numbers each time you have a new customer, then texting a thank you offer after the transaction is completed. Bottom line—text messaging is a key component of any integrated marketing program and is finally a realistic tool for businesses of any size.

We addressed these questions in greater detail, and so much more in our recent webinar, as well as our 2019 Digital Trends Report. Dig in to one—or both—to brush up on how to leverage the year’s hottest trend in digital marketing!

Prefer to read? Download our 2019 Digital Trends Report here.

More of a watch and learn person? Watch the on-demand replay of our webinar here