We are hosting a workshop on preparing your marketing plan for 2015 with an easy to complete one pager marketing plan template (which is available on our member only web site )
In preparation for this workshop I wanted to look at some of the predictions of marketing trends in 2015.
- Social Media Marketing: It is in the businesses’ interest to get to know about the demographic profile of customers. In addition they should be aware of the latest contemporary trends and conversations that are happening on social networks. Businesses ought to present themselves in a way that feels native and endemic to customers. One of the main ways that companies are establishing authority and trust among their consumers is by consistently creating high quality content that may provide useful and interesting insights to audiences. Through integrated marketing communications involving social media channels, companies are steadily building a strong rapport with customers, which will inevitably help them to develop brand equity.
- Ad Re-Targeting: Today, businesses use content marketing tactics by producing valuable, engaging content that is designed for specific customers. Content on social media is becoming more conversational in nature. Consumers value those brands that show their human face. They consider them as trustworthy and authentic. Therefore, businesses communicate with their targeted audiences to build fruitful relationships with loyal followers. Several marketers are increasingly becoming quite proficient in re-targeting customers. Retargeting works by utilising browser cookies that track websites that are visited by internet users. Once the users leave these sites, the products or services they viewed will be shown to them again in advertisements, across different websites. Therefore, ad retargeting works to increase the overall conversion rate by reminding consumers of the product or service they had viewed. This keeps the brand and the product at the top of the consumers’ minds. Many studies have indicated that simple exposure to brand names and logos may ultimately lead to purchase decisions. Even if there’s no instantaneous purchase, an increased brand awareness can really pay off in the long run.
- Search Engine Optimisation: The goal of Google, Bing and other search engines is to provide their users with the most relevant and highest quality content. It goes without saying that, these days social signals may play a key role in organic search rankings. As more people share content through social media channels, it is very likely that the most popular content will be featured in search engine results. It’s no coincidence that the top-ranking search results tend to have lots of social shares, while those ranked lower have fewer. Moreover, social shares may often serve as a stamp of approval or can be considered as a trust signal for visitors. That’s why so many businesses are installing social share plugins and encouraging consumers to share their content, as much as possible.
- Mobile Marketing: We are living in an era that is characterised by mobile readiness, responsive designs as well as the revival of ‘going local,’ Businesses are encouraged to produce content that “scales down” on mobiles. Such content may include marketing emails, eNewsletters, websites, social posts and the like. According to (Forbes, 2013), “87% of connected devices sales by 2017 will be tablets and smartphones”. Whether businesses opt to create an alternative mobile version of a website or decide to utilise responsive web design, it’s important for them to provide a positive experience for those internet users that are browsing via mobile devices.
- Video Marketing: When it comes to potential reach, video is peerless. YouTube is currently receiving more than one billion unique visitors every month – that’s more than any other channel, apart from Facebook. For the record, “one out of three Britons view at least one online video a week – that’s a weekly audience of more than 20 million people in the UK alone” (Guardian, 2014). Of course, it’s vital for businesses to offer content that is easy to digest; if not, consumers will simply move on. Apps such as Twitter’s Vine (with its six-second maximum clip length) have dramatically increased the opportunity for businesses to upload social videos having authentic content.
1. Mobile-optimization will become more important than ever
Optimizing for mobile has been a significant priority for businesses in 2014, but 2015 will be the year that mobile strategies move beyond simply having a responsive site or mobile app, and focus on mobile-optimized content and social media marketing as well.
We know that Google has been placing additional emphasis on how mobile-friendly sites are; in fact, they’ve stated that mobile usability is now “relevant for optimal search results.” This emphasis is apparent in the recent launch of a new feature in Google Webmaster Tools called Mobile Usability, which I covered in my article, Is Mobile Usability Now a Search Ranking Factor?
2. Social media ad spend will sharply increase as brands realize the importance of social media marketing
In the first part of 2014, we saw Facebook reporting increased ad revenue (10%) over the previous fiscal period. As organic post reach continues to fall, and as Facebook restricts what types of posts can be shown in users’ feeds, paid advertising is only going to increase as businesses struggle to maintain traffic and sales from social media channels.
3. Content marketing will be (even) bigger than ever
According to the B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks report, 93% of B2B marketers said they used content marketing in 2014, and 42% said they considered their strategy effective (up from 36% last year).
4. Email marketing will receive a renewed focus
With social networks reducing the amount of visibility brands and businesses get on their platforms, and with search engines intimidating business owners and marketers with ever-increasing complexity of their ranking algorithms, businesses will return to the one marketing asset that they can control entirely; their email list. This renewed focus on email marketing will intertwine with content marketing to blur the lines between email and content marketing.
As brands realize the value of content marketing, they’ll begin to discover ways to streamline their email content in order to avoid redundancy. One way in which they’ll do this is to repurpose existing content into downloadable PDFs (such as whitepapers or eBooks), which can be offered as opt-in incentives to build an email list.
In 2015, brands will begin to realize the necessity of differentiating themselves from their competitors when it comes to email marketing. In HubSpot’s 2014 Science of Email report, respondents reported a significant decline in how often they bought a product or service from email messages they had received (35% said “never” in 2014 compared to 25% in 2011). This finding underlines the importance of businesses employing creative, relationship-based strategies to their email marketing rather than just attempting to make a quick sale.
5. The lines between SEO, content marketing & social media will become more blurred
Content marketing has been described by some as the “new SEO;” which is somewhat accurate. SEO and content marketing will continue to co-exist as two separate but intertwined disciplines that rely on each other for success. That said, content marketing is now the primary influencer of search visibility. Businesses that don’t invest in a solid content strategy will discover that their SEO campaigns are ineffective, at best, and damaging to their search visibility, at worst.
6. Brands will scramble to humanize
With the rise of social media, brands will realize that their customers are on social media channels to interact with other people, not with brands and corporate-sounding lingo. Brands that are able to connect with their audience on a human-level will enjoy higher conversion rates, better brand loyalty, faster audience growth, and happier customers. I wrote about this and other benefits in my post Why It’s Important to Humanize Your Brand on Social Media.
I believe a company’s ability to humanize their brand will be the single most important factor in their success using social media. Brands who engage and develop relationships with their fans, followers and email subscribers will see tremendous benefits, all of which will ultimately increase their bottom line.
7. Marketers will find new ways of making native advertising less promotional and more relevant
With steadily decreasing click-through rates over the past few years, businesses have begun to fully realize the ineffectiveness of banner advertising for driving sales. While increased visibility is still a benefit of banner ads, small to medium-sized business looking for results will be less inclined to invest in channels that don’t offer a calculable ROI.
With the increase in popularity of native ads, marketers and publishers will constantly be looking for new ways to mimic editorial content while remaining transparent to website visitors. 2015 will see collaborations between publishers and brands whereby sponsored content is specifically created to be shown alongside the primary content; in this way, native ads will not be promotional in nature, but instead will offer relevant and engaging supplementary content.
What would you add to list?