Every business has their own unique identity and purpose, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t defined by market conditions. Keeping up to date on trends across disciplines ranging from technology to customer service is essential for any business owner. With a new year coming, you should be aware of these trends to expect.

Human Relationships Will Still Matter

While there’s bold talk about how artificial intelligence shifting how businesses function – and these can be seen substantively in a number of different fields – business owners should see A.I. as assisting rather than replacing human labor. Having human voices and faces behind your sales, customer service, and marketing teams is still essential and will be for some time to come. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of the big data solutions that are increasingly more available to businesses of any size.

Blockchain Takes Center Stage

Blockchain has long been regarded as the technology that powers cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but businesses are only now beginning to recognize its potential as a way to protect their data and that of their customers. Due to its unique system of double cryptography, blockchain is nigh impossible to break, and 2019 should see it become adopted by multinationals and Fortune 500 companies in a huge way.

Marketing Becomes Even More Specialized

Big data and machine learning has allowed marketing to become more sophisticated than ever before. Businesses have more tools at their disposal to determine both the broad patterns in demographic behavior and the preferences of specific customers, and the latter will continue to be a key component in any marketing campaign. Businesses that can’t provide email marketing campaigns and targeted outreach will fall behind quickly. But targeted marketing won’t be the only necessity when it comes to building and retaining a customer base. User reviews have already become one of the most important barometers for customers looking for insight into a company’s worth, but these reviews could conceivably become the biggest influencer on customer decisions in the coming year.

Risk of Trade Wars

While the economic policies of the Trump administration have so far precipitated positive growth in a number of different markets, the aggressive approach to tariffs could quickly have a negative impact for entrepreneurs. With an economy this strong, it’s possible that the blows brought about by tariffs could be absorbed, but continued aggression could cripple the market, particularly if things develop into a full-blown trade war.