It is hard to imagine a time in history when the art and science of connecting producers with consumers has experienced as dramatic and disruptive period of change as it has in the past few years. The wave of intense technological discoveries and the age of digital communications will continue to alter the science and the art of forming relationships and behaviors between sellers and buyers in 2015.
Digital marketing will continue to be the predominate vehicle used to complete the communication process. Once dominate print and video media will continue to exist but its predominate role will be part and partial of the digital environment, having little or no sustainable independent role apart from the digital realm. Former tactics of utilizing individual digital channels will be replaced with the need to create a common brand experience across the full spectrum of the digital experience. The introduction of advancements to existing technology like mobile, wearable technology and data analytics will require the refinement of the creative effort. We are entering a period where basic targeting of the right message to the right person will also demand the message be delivered at the right time and in the right place across multiple channels to include mobile; video, and social sharing. “The industry will begin to evolve beyond marketing automation aligned around personas and the buyer journey to create a connected cloud of technology designed to gain a deeper understanding of customers,” said Tom Stein, CEO of Stein IAS Americas. “Right now there are a lot of unconnected technologies, everything from data management to predictive analytics. The next big leap is for us to connect all the relevant technologies in the interest of the customer experience and the customer journey.”
Predictors of the trends in 2015 are in agreement on at least one factor: Content is, and will continue to be, king. Consumers can’t wait to devour and share a brand’s content. With this upsurge in content marketing, organizations are realizing that the quickest way to motivate an audience is through valuable content. But the content will need to be more inspiring, personal and entertaining to be relevant in 2015 and beyond. Personalization is expected to become a widely adopted practice in 2015, leading to the growth of one-on-one marketing which will help build relationships and humanize a brand. “The use of videos and visuals will be on the rise”, says Tom Malesic, president and CEO, EZSolution. “Consumers are more likely to purchase after seeing a video than if there was no video at all. In addition, it shows that you are personal with your customers and that you care about your products and services.”
Social media has gravitated to top of the “must have list’ for marketers in 2014. “With the upturn in the economy, small businesses have more potential for success than ever. The most significant increases will go to businesses that have a flexible and effective online strategy, and who can rapidly respond to changing desires of customers. The growth of social media as a platform for connection is causing more and more people to get their recommendations from others online. Businesses that have a significant online presence will be in the forefront of the new referral and relationship marketing systems,” says Pamela Bruner, business coach with Make Your Success Real. Jason Parks, owner, The Media Captain says, “As Facebook’s organic reach continues to decrease, small business owners are taking notice. If they want to get in front of their customers for 2015, I believe it will be essential that they start looking more into social media advertising to expand their online marketing efforts. Gone will be the days where companies allow employees to post content without conducting a deep dive into their audience first. Executives are getting more sophisticated and realize that unless their corporate social media plan is formulaic with clear, set goals, metrics and tools to provide those metrics, they’re paying top dollar for employees to spend time on online efforts that have questionable value.”
The importance of mobile will grow in each and every aspect of business in the coming year with many predicting that the mobile web will become even bigger than desktop usage. With the growth in popularity of mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and wearable technology, the most effective campaigns will be built to be mobile-first. With 80 percent of users deleting emails that aren’t optimized for the mobile screen, reliable and functional mobile technology has never been more important to reaching an audience. Being able to pay for purchases from an iPhone or send currency on Snapchat, Venmo, Text To Give, PayPal or Bitcoin will become more common-place in 2015 as technical and security issues are resolved and enhanced. Marketers will need to adopt new ways their customers can pay for goods and services.
The rise in popularity of wearable devises will generate exponential opportunities for sellers to capture and utilize real-time data to create entirely new ways for users to interact with their favorite brands. Micro targeting strategies are expected to dynamically rise in 2015 as marketers take advantage of the increased opportunities for data collection and its utilization for the creation and dissemination of instantly relevant advertising.
“Marketing is changing fast, and business leaders will be wise to consider these changes as they plan for 2015. First, marketing teams will need to be increasingly staffed with more technical personnel rather than just creative types. The creative side of marketing is critically important to develop clever ads and copy. However, marketing increasingly involves things like online advertising, re-marketing and social media promotion. Therefore, marketing staff will require more technical skills. Ideal candidates will have a balance of creative and technical skills,” says Dave Scarola, Vice President, The Alternative Board.
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