10 Digital Marketing Predictions To Watch Out For In 2016
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From the times of Alexander the Great to today’s era of big and small businesses, marketing, as a tool, has long been used by brands to engage their audiences and establish their business proposition.
Flyers and pamphlets have often led consumers to discover high-quality businesses around them, while cold calls and television advertisements can result in the identification of a necessity for a consumer and served to create a buying aspiration.
However, while traditional marketing techniques have proven their worth over the years, today, it is the digital channel that rules the roost when it comes to creating the maximum marketing impact. Be it through an online or a mobile-based channel, marketers are increasingly growing partial to innovative digital marketing techniques in order to maximise their campaigns’ outreach and brands’ visibility.Statistics support this claim: marketers are estimated to have spent nearly $235 billion on digital and mobile marketing in 2015, accounting for nearly half of the total global marketing spend.
This rapid growth for the digital marketing industry has been facilitated by a convergence of several favourable factors. We are today living in a digital-first age where every aspect of life is fast migrating to a digital medium; more than forty percent of the world’s population has already gone digital,while a third of the world’s population will be on social media by the year 2018.
Most of our professional and social interactions now occur through a digital channel, while many other daily tasks – from shopping to booking cabs to sampling entertainment content – can also be fulfilled by leveraging digital technology.
Channelling marketing strategies through a digital medium also leads to more efficient and optimised operations; according to industry reports, 2015 saw content marketing generate up to three times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, whilst realising a saving of around 62% in operational costs.Digital marketing additionally leads to a more targeted, customised approach based on the consumer demographic, thereby creating greater impact on the brand value and visibility.
It should come as no surprise, then, that marketers are looking at digital marketing with a lot of promise. This growth has also resulted in an evolution of several novel marketing trends aimed at maximising brand impact and presence through a digital medium, some of which are as follows:
1. Marrying the traditional with the digital:
Digital marketing is an evolution of the traditional marketing model, not a complete replacement. Therefore, marketers need a better understanding of traditional marketing forms in order to devise more efficient digital strategies.
A prime example of this approach will be YouTube pre-video advertisements. These digital advertisements, much like ad spots on television, follow the Interruption Model, which is integrated with digital consumer segmentation techniques to showcase an advertisement most suited to the consumer’s choice and requirements.
2. Big Data, Big Impact:
Today, data is fast emerging as a commodity more valuable than either gold or oil because of the massive impact it can have on any aspect of a business. Marketing, as one of the core pillars that support a business, can see several efficiencies unlocked and its RoI optimised through Big Data technologies.
On one hand the consumer base can be broken down into individual markets of one, presenting a viable opportunity for ultra personalised, use-case specific and highly convertible marketing campaigns, while on the other hand businesses can conduct analysis into the latest and most impactful marketing trends and can determine the impact of their own marketing campaigns on a real-time basis.
3. Inbound marketing and the role of content:
Evolving technologies have meant that the marketers no long have to go to the consumer; instead, interactive engagement channels such as social, blogs, SEO, white papers, presentations, videos and podcasts etc are being increasingly leveraged by marketers to increase brand outreach and market presence.
Content has also emerged as the king in the scenario, as we see an array of relevant, relatable and educative video, audio and textual content constantly being developed and released to attract, engage, retain and delight consumers.
4. Hyperlocal/location-based marketing:
With several new marketing techniques such as geo-location and location-based marketing now becoming prevalent, organisations have the opportunity to run highly personalized marketing campaigns based on the location a consumer is in.For example, a coffee shop located near a college campus can offer discount to students on a slow day to drive more business. This not only drives sales, but also leads to a higher rate of consumer adoption.
5. Rise of vertical communities:
Situated at the very epicentre of an overlap of commerce, content and community, vertical communities are digital environments where businesses and consumers come together for mutual growth and support.These communities, which focus on a niche market, brand or product,can result in up to 40 percent increase in audience engagement and 35 percent increase in knowledge and understanding of the consumer. As such, vertical communities give marketers a great scope to build brand connect with the consumer and create direct, two-way engagement channels meant for consumer aggregation and retention.
6. Conversion rate optimisation (CRO):
Over the past few years, user experience has emerged as a major differentiator between businesses. Marketers have latched on to the idea, and are therefore focusing on UX as a key factor that can determine conversion. As such, we are seeing CRO techniques leveraging testing and research analytics to generate more tailored, user-relevant campaigns to appeal to the target consumer demographic. This helps in optimising the marketingRoI and drive conversions on the website or app-based platforms.
7. Internet of Marketing and Marketing Automation:
With vast amounts of data already being collected and crunched on a daily basis, marketers are gaining a better understanding of consumer behaviours and requirements; we have user CRMs, behavioural data, website history, purchasing trends, surveys etc that help us gain deep insights into an individual consumer.Implementing this understanding to specific use-case scenarios has resulted in marketing automation, where marketers can create highly personalised marketing processes through software based on the user being targeted.
For example, promotional mails are already sent by businesses to users who have opted for or shown interest in their services. With the Internet of Things becoming an integral, pervasive presence in our everyday lives and steadily growing in influence, we will soon be witness to IoT-enabled interconnected marketing approaches that will allow marketers to connect users with their aspirational requirements at scale and speed.
8. Mobility leads the way:
Mobile phones have changed the buying habits of the consumer and have also brought about changes in the way people absorb information. With smartphones prompting consumers to search, shop, buy and connect all at the touch of a button, businesses are actively expanding their brand presence by tapping into the rich opportunities the mobile medium offers.
Marketers are using contextual and location-based approaches to push their ideas, goods and services to mobile phone users; for example, a user visiting a movie hall might be offered a discount on snacks by a food service provider through a push notification on the phone. With the number of mobile phones in the world expected to cross 5 billion by the year 2019, this targeted approach for higher conversions is becoming increasingly viable for marketers.
This can be seen in the market trends and predictions as well; global mobile ad spends alone are expected to reach $158.55 billion by 2018, accounting for 22.3% of the total advertisement spending.
9. Influencers are the future of marketing:
There was a time when brands used to bring well-known celebrities on board to be their ambassadors. However, as the consumers grow more selective in their decision-making, there is a need for more than just star power to drive brand proposition. This is where influencers come in. Generally individuals with a wide social circle and a healthy number of followers, influencers are people who have used the product or service that they are promoting themselves. This helps the brand in connecting with the end-consumer through a neutral third-party entity.Online product/book reviewers and bloggers are a prime example of this approach.
10. Social media and marketing:
Social media,of late, has emerged as the best marketing and consumer engagement tool. The potential of social media in marketing is immense as one is able to target and measure consumer reactions precisely, get prompt feedback, and acknowledge and address consumer grievances in real-time.
Marketers also opt for social surveys that help them better understand consumer requirements and let them tailor their approach to suit their target demographics. Moreover, there is the added benefit of peer-to-peer advertising, as users often share interesting content within their social circles. As the popularity and usage of social platforms continues to grow, more brands will reap the dividends of integrating a social media-driven aspect into their marketing approach.