10 Things to Look Out for on Digital Marketing Landscape

Digital Marketing Landscape

Digital marketing is very dynamic area. New marketing techniques, tools, activities, procedures appear almost every single day, promising to solve marketers’ problems, improve their working process and finally provide effective growth. There are so many of them you can easily get lost trying.  Let me share with you what’s really should not be overlooked in digital marketing practices.

Content like a cornerstone

content marketing infographic

2015 is definitely the year for using potential of content marketing in full power. According to Smart Inside study 97% of surveyed marketers said they believe in the power of content marketing, and they’re backing that up with investment decisions. Over 25% of companies are increasing internal headcount for content marketing in 2015, and 28% are increasing agency spend.

71% of marketers in Europe are creating more content in 2015 than they did last year and one quarter of them are increasing their headcount just for content marketing. It means that marketers need to have more and more content, but no less important is the fact – they need to have the best content as they can. Quality content is still a big challenge: what’s also interesting is that 68% still rate their content marketing as basic or inconsistent, so there is still a ton of opportunity to get ahead of the game if you put the time into getting a good strategy in place now. Content marketing has become the most commercially important marketing trend of 2015 – almost 30% of marketers saying it’s the most crucial strategy for driving results.

Marketers still struggle to understand how to get the most value out of the content by engaging audiences with helpful and/or entertaining information.  It also helps greatly to build customer relationships and loyalty.

Write me a letter
More than 100 billion marketing emails are sent per day. 2014 State of Inbound Marketing report  says that for 80% of marketers email has become a more important lead source over the last six months.

According to a recent report from Yesmail, which based on 2015 Yesmail data for marketing campaigns sent by brands in a wide-range of industries, consumers are opening and engaging with emails more than ever before. The analysis found, that email volume for subscribers increased 11% year-over-year between 2014 and 2015. At the same time email open rates increased 10% year-over-year. Moreover, it appears that marketers have been able to reduce the number of never active subscribers by implementing effective engagement and database strategies. In 2015 the proportion of never active subscribers was 69%, an all-time low.

But how marketers have reached this point?

Every successful email campaign begins with a valid list of email recipients. But not only. Now personalization and analysis of yours mailing campaigns` audience with further segmentation by specific interests become more and more critical. Personalizing for the individual potential visitor/customer is the key of today winning email strategy. For example, you can personalize by referring email source for pinpoint information – such as an image, video, or GIF – that caters to the visitor’s unique needs as soon as they land on your webpage.

Be mobile, think mobile

mobile market inforgraphic

There are 3.65 billion unique global mobile users. There are nearly double that number in mobile subscriptions worldwide (7 billion). More important to know out of the billions of global mobile users and subscriptions is that 1.91 billion of those have smartphones. eMarketer predicts that number will reach 2 billion by next year and that by 2018, half of the world’s mobile users will have a smartphone.

It is important to know for marketers primarily in order to understand that SMS campaign is still effective in working with mobile non-smartphone audience. In developing countries, where smartphones are not prevalent yet, this channel will exist for some time for sure.

On the other hand – smartphone users spend a lot of time on social media. According to a recent global digital snapshot published by We Are Social, there are nearly as many active mobile social accounts in the world – 1.68 billion – as there are smartphones. This number is led by global phenomenon WeChat, with Facebook a close second. And while organic social media activity has started to diminish in effectiveness for brands, paid social is more powerful than ever. This is a great way to target mobile users, especially the younger ones.

In fact, according to eMarketer, mobile ad spend will top $100 billion worldwide by 2016. Mobile devices are considered so personal – the first thing we see when we wake up and the last thing we put down before sleep – that most attempts to “sell” feel that much more intrusive to customers.

Mobile video
Mobile users all over the world also watch mobile video more than ever before. The volume of mobile videos have attained at least 55 % of all mobile traffic at the end of 2014. With the rise of networks like Vine, Snapchat and Instagram (video), short-form video has taken the Millennial world by storm. But long-form video is still charging hard on both YouTube and Facebook, which is making a strong push to host video locally. Keeping in mind the fact that 65% of the world’s population are visual learners, video – especially mobile video – is now more critical tool for capturing customers’ attention.

Visualization is everywhere
Visualization of data and information is very helpful during the guide of clients through the sale process (sales funnel). It`s fancy tool when you need clearly to demonstrate for example all advantages of product or service and increase sales that way. Data can be difficult to argue, and visualizations make understanding the data easy. It’s no wonder marketers use data visualizations as much as possible in their reports to clients. While it may still be difficult to directly tie marketing to sales, identifying key performance indicators at the beginning of a campaign and then tracking those indicators can help clients determine whether the campaign is adding value to the organization. But these are not the only areas where data visualization is changing the marketing landscape.

Data visualization
Marketers largely use data visualizations for internal business processes, for example, reports on campaigns. They rely on social media and web analytics to measure the success or failure of marketing activities. This kind of shift would have been unthinkable even a decade ago. Recent study published by the The CMO Survey shows that by 2018 brands will allocate 11.7% of their marketing budgets on analytics.

Metrics have always helped marketers, consumers, and businesses make choices. With data visualization, however, metrics no longer take hours to analyze and dissect, and this increase in speed is the game-changer for marketing.

Automation & integration
There is nothing new and fancy in marketing automation. But now it`s everywhere. Because of its simplicity and relative availability foremost. Once upon a not-so-far-away time, the only organizations doing automation were big companies with world-recognized brand names. Now, marketing automation is demands of the times for any business that wants to stay on top and achieve high results.

According to Gartner Research, by 2020 customers will manage 85% of their relationship without talking to a human. Gartner`s specialists among other things believe that marketing automation leads to:

  • 15% savings on creative production with marketing automation
  • 5% reduction in marketing waste through automating fulfillment
  • 451% increase of prospects experience nurture in qualified leads.

Marketing automation can be your main staff resource. With an automated solution, a single staff member can execute complex and ongoing campaigns and can connect with many more customers than would be possible manually. It is simple even for people who are not technically inclined.

Building more useful and detailed customer profiles never have been so easy before. An automated solution is always gathering information based on customers’ purchases, email opens and responses, selected preferences and more. All this data is stored for future use, to allow you to reach out to each customer more effectively.

Marketing automation helps you to maintain consistency: it is possible for any business to create a consistent brand presence on multiple channels. Your reporting can be more detailed and simply. The same advantages of automation apply to analytics for strategic decision making. And finally, marketing automation definitely saves you time and money.

Personalization with Big Data
Big Data is becoming more useful in analysing web behavior and account history that can really help you to personalize customer experience across channels.  This year marketers will spend up to 20% of their budgets on supporting the customer experience. Considering that corporate marketing budgets can range from 5% to 10% of corporate revenues, it’s safe to assume that billions of dollars will be spent this year on personalizing the customer experience.

And there is nothing strange about it. Personalization Consumer Survey says that 69% of shoppers aged 25 to 34 will hand over information to marketers to enable better personalization, while only 46% of consumers 55 and older will do so. Personalization happens on mobile too. The survey find: the number  of consumers who report using a mobile device to shop grew 36% from 2013 to 2014. For 20% of e-commerce buyers, tablets are their primary online shopping tools, while smartphones are used by for 18% of consumers.

As we can see Big Data applications become more prevalent across different industries and markets. Unique ways, that companies are uncovering latent intelligence about their people, customers, operations etc, become a powerful tool in present marketing process.

Advocacy & Influencers
As you know 3% of individuals generate 90% of the impact online. Those individuals are the few that generate most of the conversations that will impact your brand. But we also found (in study by Smart Insights) that more than half of marketers guess that their biggest challenge is identifying the right influencers to build and grow their audience.

Influencer marketing makes a great opportunity for brands to leverage the power of word-of-mouth at scale through personalities that consumers already follow and admire. Sharing your content through influencers in your industry increases conversion by at least 3x-10x higher rate.

Traditionally, consumers made purchasing decisions based on the advertisements that they saw or heard. Today, it’s easier to connect with other consumers via social media and make better purchasing decisions by learning about their experiences with a product or service. According to an infographic from The Shelf, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people over promotional content that comes directly from brands.

Influencer marketing is a pretty new but definitely a cost-effective marketing technique. On average, marketers who implemented an influencer marketing program in 2014 received $6.85 in earned media value for every $1.00 of paid media (BurstMedia Influencer Marketing Report).

advocacy market

Advocacy marketing has moved from trendy topic to cost-effective business driver, it is now an unreplaceable part of social strategy. Here is some statistics to prove it:

  • typical American mentions brands an average of 60 times a week in both online and offline conversations (WOMMA)
  • 73% of millennials feel it is their responsibility to help friends and family make smart purchasing decisions (Fleishman-Hillard)
  • 81% of U.S. consumers are influenced by friend’s social media posts (WOMMA)
  • 92% of worldwide consumers trust recommendations from friends and family more than any form of advertising, up from 74% in 2007 (WOMMA)

The advocacy is a terrific way to spread your content on social media. If you’ve got a new announcement or blog post to share, you and your team can all share it and ramp up the spread and reach of the content. This can happen organically (by building a team that loves sharing and loves your content) or strategically (by notifying the team when you’ve got new stuff).

2015 is unquestionably the age of visual influence, when consumer-generated content rules and niche content creators on Instagram and YouTube wield unprecedented power. Brands will collaborate with visual influencers more close and more often. This trend will open new doors for brand partnerships and offer direct access to the coveted Millennial market.

Never stop hacking
One of the most enchanting digital marketing trend is the continuation of stormy evolution of growth hacking. Technical skills become an essential part of marketer`s qualification. Even more, growth hacking is a mind-set.

Growth hackers are like a cross-breed of marketer and coder, one who looks at the traditional question of “How do I get customers for my product?” and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and Open Graph. Growth hackers utilize a combination of the above strategies as well as SEO, e-mail and content marketing strategies to accelerate consumer interest and sales.

Besides, they use achievements and backlogs of direct marketing, with its emphasis on quantitative measurement, scenario modelling based on database queries. If a startup was previously market fit, growth hackers can spread it and even make viral. And after that they also can use already proven practices for other needs and products, and if it`s necessary adjust them to a new market.

The process of integrating and optimizing your product to a big platform requires blurring the lines between marketing, product, and engineering, so that they work together to make the product market itself. Projects like email deliverability, page-load times, and Facebook sign-in are no longer technical or design decisions – instead they are offensive weapons to win in the market.

One of distinctive features of growth hacking is that you get a lot more by paying a lot less. But pay attention to the fact that a lot of the tactics you use should align with your business requirements. Try to find the right product/market fit and the best way your target audience would adopt your product and then go ahead.