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Customer experience overtakes GDPR as top marketing trend for year ahead

From ABM to the tech stack, Rebecca Ley uncovers the big trends both agencies and clients are dedicating their efforts to

B2B Marketing’s 2019 Trend Tracker, conducted with Savanta, surveyed senior marketers in both agency and client-side roles to see which trends led the charge in 2018, and which will remain top of the agenda in the year ahead.

Do clients and agencies share their views on the trends worthy of investment? Will the coming year bring a shift in priorities? Which new trends have made it on to our Trend Tracker and which have slipped off? Read on to find out.


  • GDPR topped the tables for 2018.
  • Customer experience is tipped to come in top place for 12 months ahead.
  • Performance marketing, a new addition to the Tracker, was ranked in fourth place.
  • Blockchain slipped from this year’s list of trends.

The Trend Tracker’s methodology

The survey, our second annual Trend Tracker, covers 14 wide-ranging trends ranging from customer experience to AI. The bulk of the 395 respondents are either director level (agency) and head of marketing level (client-side).

Top trends for 2019

The results are in and the consensus is clear: GDPR is currently the top-ranking trend, with marketers spending 71% of their focus on it. This comes as no surprise given the legislation came into force in May 2018. While data privacy will continue to be a focus in 2019, it will slip down the agenda. And, as the focus on data privacy falls, more time will be spent on other trends.

Customer experience (CX) maintained dominance in the Tracker, placing at the second spot this year with a score of 67%. While it dipped from 79% to 67%, this decline is relative to the short-term focus on GDPR, which has drawn attention away from all other areas. CX is set to rise back up to 79% by 2020, overtaking GDPR in focus.

The B2B Mind graph below maps out the focus given to trends this year by both client-side and agency marketers.

Trends to watch for 2020

Marketers are looking towards marketing automation as one of the highest-ranked trends leading up to 2020. Shifting up from third to second place for the year ahead, it’s one to watch.

Account-based marketing (ABM) ranked fifth place on this year’s list – and it’s set to see the biggest surge leading up to 2020.

The 2019 Trend Tracker Report

From ABM to the tech stack, B2B Marketing uncovers the big trends both agencies and clients are dedicating their efforts to. Download this guide to find out the trends senior marketing leaders across B2B have on their radar.

Show me the top marketing trends for 2019 and beyond

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