Marketing is changing at an unprecedented rate. Digital start-ups are emerging, seemingly daily, that disrupt and transform the marketing landscape. Whether it is a shift in online consumer behaviour, a new social media platform, or a change in the way the major players are engaging with their customers, marketers must constantly evolve their skillset to stay on top.
The rapid rate of change means it’s not possible to 100% accurately predict what’s next for digital marketing, but here’s the top 5 digital marketing trends to watch in 2015:
1. Personalisation is for everyone
It has been around for a while, but personalisation continues to be key to the success of digital marketing strategies. As the increased availability of data takes demographic segmentation beyond rough outlines of sex, age, and income bracket to more individualised insights into buyer preferences and behaviour this trend will only become more important.
The current buzz term is B2i (Business to individual), whereby businesses focus on understanding and fulfilling consumers’ individual needs and wants. This can take the form of tailoring individual offers and deals, or offering marketing content in a range of different formats to respond to individuals’ preferences. However it’s done, it’s ultimately about making the individual consumer feel understood, and building a lasting relationship with them.
2. Big data is big
Big data is still a big news story. The ever-increasing volume of data available from multiple channels means the big challenge is making sense of it all. The cutting edge is proactive data analysis — using sophisticated algorithms to predict consumer behaviour based on data from multiple sources — but reactive historical data analysis to inform marketing tactics has its challenges too. The inherent difficulties of combining data from multiple channels, including social, web, market research and mobile, means that Data Analyst is now a core marketing team function in many organisations.
3. Content marketing is king
Defined as “A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and ultimately to drive profitable consumer action.” content marketing is a discipline every marketer should be aware of. Partly a response to the Penguin and Panda Google updates, and partly a response to the increasing ineffectiveness of display advertising, it’s a scalable solution that can be implemented by organisations of any size.
At the heart of content marketing is the buyer journey from casual browser right through to regular customer and brand evangelist. By creating and distributing content across multiple channels that answers questions and provides solutions, content marketing supports and drives the buyer journey.
4. Omnichannel is everywhere
Omnichannel marketing also focuses on the buyer journey, but with the goal of joining up the various sales and marketing channels the buyer may experience along the path to becoming a regular customer. This could include social, web, CRM, email and mobile, among others. The payoff is twofold, the customer receives a seamlessly branded buying experience, and the online and offline data gathered during the buying process can be combined and analysed.
5. CX is everything
Of all the digital trends in 2015, CX — Customer Experience — is the great unifier. Like personalisation it seeks to understand and meet the exact needs of the customer, using big data to get beyond demographics to granular insights into the personality of the individual. Like content marketing, CX looks beyond the sale towards fostering customer loyalty and advocacy. And of course, it uses omnichannel marketing to create a holistic and branded customer experience. But CX is more than that.
CX is not a marketing technique, it’s a fundamental business culture change. Organisations have to put customers at the centre of everything they do. It requires a commitment to understanding the customers’ needs, and what makes a memorable customer experience. To achieve this, companies are increasingly turning to digital solutions to engage with customers and gather data. Expect the next big thing in digital to have a customer experience focus.