Since I landed my first marketing job (in 1995…eeek) and then left to become an entrepreneur, I have been on the frontlines of many changes in marketing. Here are some trends I’m seeing for 2019.

1. Over-reliance on Instagram is going to bite brands in the bum.

Remember when you could build a brand on Facebook with organic content? You simply shared a post and your followers saw it. Then, the algorithm hit and now they wanted you to pay to get your content seen by your own audience that took years to develop. Wait, what? Ah, the joys of social media platforms; they change the rules in the middle of the game.

So everyone rushed to Instagram because 1.) It was less crowded. and 2.) You got followers! Likes! Reach! Finally. But here’s the friendly reminder that Facebook acquired Instagram and tinkered with the dreaded algorithm. In 2019, there is a redesign coming to prioritize “meaningful” conversation instead of follower count. This has a feeling of déjà vu. The co-founders of Instagram left the company in September, which can’t signal anything good. The writing is on the wall, and on the ceiling, the floor, the doors, and your favorite chair. So if your business or personal brand relies heavily on Instagram, it’s time to review your marketing strategy and diversify.

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2. Influencer marketing saturation.

Social media, especially Instagram, is clogged with more and more equestrians promoting brands. From clothing to jewelry, and CrossFit gyms, everyone has something to plug. No one comes on social media to be sold things. Social media users come to connect with their friends, see what everyone is doing, follow people they admire and be entertained. So I think in 2019, followers are going to start getting bored of constantly be sold stuff. Influencer marketing is not going to be entirely saturated but the pendulum will swing back a little. Sooo many brands are using that strategy, and it’s getting cluttered. The power of a mention to drive sales will not be as effective as it once was.

3. Building a brand is going to cost $.

The days of starting a business and building it organically on social media with elbow grease are over. Attention is at a premium. To make a dent in the market and maintain a business rolling month after month, you need a strong marketing strategy and a budget.

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4.  Return to the fundamentals of marketing: focus on the client.

The fast growth and cheap cost of social media made marketers lazy. It’s time to worry less about followers and more about clients. What do consumers really want? What are their needs? Am I creating a product that adds value to their lives? How? Why should they care about my brand? Establish a strong branding, marketing and communication strategy.

The tools we use might change with time but the principles of marketing remain. It is all about having the right product and reaching the right customer at the right time with the right message. That was true in 1995, and it will be in 2019.