Digital marketing is constantly evolving, and in 2015, today’s marketers need to be one step ahead of technology trends and consumer behaviours so that they deliver the information customers want and expect.
There’s so much information out there – and people expect your message ‘on demand’, across the different apps, platforms and devices they have access to, which means that creating a relevant and responsive, common brand experience via digital means is crucial.
With this in mind, we’ve taken a closer look at what 2015 has in store in terms of digital marketing and what we predict will be the biggest trends to emerge for the year ahead…
From globalisation to personalisation
Technology brings the world closer together. We’re more connected to each other through constant technological advances and we can get up close and personal across thousands of miles.
This applies to marketing too, and yet, there is something more personal about marketing. Consumers don’t want a marketing message created for the masses and clever marketing gets that. In 2015, you’ll be aware of marketing becoming more regionalised, localised and, most importantly, more personalised.
We reckon personalisation is here to stay, with more and more companies recognising the importance of decentralising their structure and increasing their regional and local influence.
After all, the closer marketing is to the individual, the more it can influence them.
Data is power
Did you know that it’s estimated data 90 per cent of all the data in the world today has come about in the last two years? That’s pretty amazing, but not much of a surprise as with internet-connected devices on the increase and consumers seeing the value of sharing their details with brands, more and more data is being generated.
Businesses can use the fact that people are willing to share their information to their advantage going forward in 2015, as with the right data, it’s so much easier to respond to your customers’ needs as you can create engaging experiences that are relevant – and personal too.
Real-time analytics is also a growing trend when it comes to data; giving businesses the ability to analyse customer data within minutes and modify messaging, content and offers quickly and with ease.
Talking of real-time analytics, this leads us onto another digital marketing trend that just keeps on growing – marketing in ‘real time’. The way we interact has changed dramatically in the last few years, with online communication becoming the norm and social media giving us the latest on what is happening ‘now’. Because of this, consumers almost expects brands to react to current news straightaway; if something happens and brands respond in a fun, clever, or unusual way, they’ll get noticed as consumers like strategies that stand out – and are immediate.
One of the quickest and easiest ways to react to current news or events is through social media such as Twitter or Facebook. Nissan reacted to the new Royal baby announcement last September with a quirky tweet that advertised the Nissan X-Trail and referred to the new baby news at the same time, although it did receive mixed reactions.
Remember the furore over bendy iPhones? KitKat took real time news and did it better than Nissan by taking advantage of the news surrounding the iPhone 6 and the problems people were having with bendy phones by sending a laugh aloud tweet with the cheeky hashtag #bendgate. Their message was that kitkats don’t bend, break and their followers loved it, with 28,233 retweets…very clever.
Real time is a great way to get consumers attention – just remember to get your content right and have fun with clever, quirky ways to get your message out so that people notice what you say and remember your brand for all the right reasons.
User generated content
The battle to create eye-catching and interesting content was key in 2014 – especially as consumers want more from the slogans they see; they don’t just want static information, they want the messages they see to happen in real time more, with interesting, real time conversations with others – and they want them to feel personal too.
But, how do marketers achieve this? Simple. User-generated content.
This is where user-generated content gets interesting. Because your consumers create the ‘content’ – and it’s easily accessible by other online users – all you need to do is find a place for using this angle in your overall marketing strategy… Get your campaign in place and your users will generate the content that gets your brand noticed. And even better, user-generated content will increase sales, attract a larger following and encourage customer loyalty.
The Memory Map campaign, created by us for Park Resorts, in partnership with Navigate Digital, is a great example of how cool user-generated content can be. Using Memory Map, holidaymakers simply upload a holiday snap or holiday video to create their very own memory postcard, which they can then share with friends and family across social media. They can do this as many times as they like, and as a further incentive to do so, they’re entered into a prize draw when they share their ‘memory’ to win some great Park Resort prizes. Information on the campaign was promoted across Park Resort locations nationwide and it really created a fun vibe and got people sharing – which was great publicity for Park Resorts. For more information on what we did, have a look at our Amazing Memories blog.
Another great example of how to create user-generated content comes from Starbucks. They’re the kind of brand who already has a loyal fan base and they interact and engage with their customers really well. Back in Spring 2014, they encouraged US and Canadian customers to decorate a Starbucks cup with their very own artwork, take a photo of their design and submit it through social media using #WhiteCupContest. The result? The brand gained lots of visual content via forums such as Facebook and Pinterest, as well as extending their social reach even further.
Smart products really took off with consumers in 2014, and the demand for smart products will continue in 2015 as more and more of us like the idea of living our life the smarter way. With the likes of Nest, Jawbone and other smart products controlling our activity, collecting data and helping us see how we do things and why, it’s inevitable that their impact will creep into marketing. This is especially true when it comes to smart technology such as the new Apple watch that not only tracks activities and calories, but is another outlet for online information – and, therefore, marketing.
We’re keeping a close eye on smart technology as we think they’ll be even more developments in the near future, so watch this space.
Original video content
Consumers like ‘real’ stories and using original footage that tells a story from the heart is a clever way to win people’s attention. For example, the likes of a real life consumer and their response to products, personal experiences of a service or the possibilities someone can create with a product to inspire others is big for 2015.
Consumers are savvy, and never more so than now. In 2015, people will look for honesty in brands. With the availability of reviews, critiques and forums discussing what we buy, potential customers have the advantage of being able to read all about brands, businesses and services before they part with their money – and they’ll take the time to do so.
It’s no longer about how many keywords you can get in a page to boost your SEO, your reputation, controlled messaging or defined brand territory – what people say about you and how much people search for you will exceed you so ensuring your brand is open, honest and reputable will go a long way.
Being online has created the age of transparency and the more honest you are about who you are and what you can deliver, the more successful you’ll be.
A fantastic example of using transparency when marketing a business is Patagonia, they’re an outdoor apparel brand who have forgone slick fashion ads in favour of real communication with customers. On their website, they have an interactive world map called The Footprint Chronicles that shows us how and where they make their products. In contrast to the distressing stories of ‘sweat factories’ used by many popular fashion brands, this journey is a welcome change and they are rightly proud of their ethical supply chain.
We live in the mobile-age of the internet; everywhere you turn, you’ll see people accessing the information they need from their mobile, smart phone or touch pad, which means that it’s crucial that businesses have a mobile-friendly website. Yet, surprisingly, there are still many businesses, even bigger ones, that haven’t gone mobile-friendly yet.
For 2015, we recommend making this a top digital marketing priority – and start with your mobile-site and work your way up. Mobile-sites mean less space for information, but your focus will be a lot stronger on your key USPs. A good marketing and design agency will know how to create an interactive, fully responsive mobile-website that is clear, concise and easy to use on mobile devices.
SEO means unique content
Last, but not least, we want to talk about content.
We can’t stress it enough – content is key. We think the term SEO should be ‘content marketing’, but think quality not quantity and think ‘how could I do this differently?’ as the only way to stand out from that crowd of competitors is to do something differently. Cramming keywords into your site is a thing of the past… having great content is hard work, but if getting to the top of Google was easy – we would all be there! Take time when it comes to your content, and use the skills of designers and copywriters for the ultimate touch that will make all the difference to your brand.
We hope you’ve found our top 10 digital marketing trends of 2015 useful. We’ll be doing more 10 point blogs throughout 2015 to mark our 10 year anniversary so check in soon for the next blog.