We’re about to put 2014 to rest and usher in a new year of startups, evolving technology and new digital marketing trends. While I don’t own an actual crystal ball, I thought I would peer into my virtual one and foretell my digital marketing predictions for 2015.
Prediction #1: More Original Video Content
Brands like Dove and Chipotle are great at racking up YouTube video views with their marketing campaigns, and I expect an increasing number of companies to join the video bandwagon in 2015. By creating original video content, companies will be able to rely less on paying for traditional advertising and news coverage since customers are willing to watch well-made content on YouTube.
Dove has done a great job of creating emotional and shareable original videos about women’s self-esteem. They have gone from being a beauty product company to a beauty movement.
Their viral video about beauty “patches” has more than 20 million views on YouTube, and was designed to show women that beauty is only “a state of mind.”
Prediction #2: Marketing Memes Will Become Ubiquitous
While we are still figuring out if #AlexFromTarget had anything to do with a marketing company or not (likely not), it doesn’t matter because Target benefitted from all the publicity. A teenager snapped the photo of the cute teenager, sparking a wave of adoration and memes about #AlexFromTarget by tweens and teens everywhere. People flocked to the store to snap more pictures, and Alex even appeared on Ellen.
Marketers need to be smart and creative when it comes to creating memes, because they can be one of the most effective ways of getting overnight attention and success. And as we’ve learned from Alex, the more spontaneous and fresh the subject is, the more we love it!
Prediction #3: Rise of Real-time Marketing (RTM)
I think the turning point for people understanding the power of real-time marketing came the moment Ellen DeGeneres posted the famous “#EllenSelfie” on Twitter during the Oscars. As you probably know, the photo, featuring stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts, and Brad Pitt, was retweeted more than 3.3 million times.
Of course, while this selfie seemed entirely fun and spontaneous, that wasn’t exactly the case. Sources say Samsung, a sponsor of the Oscars, had negotiated to have their Galaxy smartphone integrated into the show. Other photos of the selfie revealed it had been snapped by Bradley Cooper using a Galaxy phone.
In 2015, we’ll see more brands integrate real-time marketing by reacting and responding to current events in an attempt to capitalize on the surrounding buzz. Potential e-commerce integration on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will make this easier than ever. For example, Samsung could have linked to the phone on an e-commerce site to capture sales from all the marketing noise!
Watch out, though! This can go terribly wrong if the event is serious in nature. An example is when Best Buy tweeted about the popular Serial podcast, angering fans who thought it was in poor taste.
Serial is about a murder in Baltimore and pay phones at Best Buy played a major role in the case. Best Buy ended up apologizing and removing the tweet.
Btw, if you want to keep track of the best and worst of RTM examples, follow this blog, aptly titled, “Real-Time Marketing Sucks.”
Prediction #4: Better Data-Driven Decisions
Whether the analytics are coming from companies like Rival IQ or from digital platforms themselves, more marketers will rely on sophisticated algorithms and data to make decisions. Now that it is much easier to quantify the results of digital marketing campaigns, marketers can easily identify which campaigns are and aren’t worth budgeting for.
The key question in 2015 for marketers is how to focus on the right metrics, as opposed to just drowning in data overload. It might be the perfect time for a refresh course and reading one of our favorite Marketing Analytics books.
If you and your team aren’t already collecting, analyzing and making decisions using data, now is the time to start!
Prediction #5: Complete Personalization
With access to immense data comes intensified personalization. Marketers aren’t only able to see which campaigns are and aren’t working, they are also able to access information about demographics, behavior and preferences.
Retargeting ad campaigns and location targeting based on great data will allow marketers to target consumers with incredibly niche, hyper-personalized campaigns.
Prediction #6: More Mobile Marketing
We’ve been wondering about mobile for years now, but 2015 will be the year marketers start to really figure it out. Right now, most advertising on mobile devices is irritating, hard to see and ineffective. The companies that figure out how to tap into the mobile market first will have the most success in 2015.
This ties in with the analytics, as we are already seeing successful ad retargeting on mobile devices.
Beyond what we now consider traditional mobile devices, marketers also need to start thinking about how marketing will adapt to wearable technology devices, like the Google Glass. While still in the early adoption stages, users of these devices are ideal consumers of high-priced items, so it’s worth the effort to start thinking about how your marketing will intersect with these new devices.
Prediction #7: Marketers as Coders
I just heard you sigh, roll your eyes and come up with a million reasons why you definitely don’t need to learn to code, but I think it’s a necessary skill for digital marketers of the future. While you may not need to be an expert, it’s incredibly helpful when it comes to explaining yourself and your ideas to the development team. It can also enable you to create quick campaigns on the fly, without having to wait around for someone else to actually create it and tweak it until you are satisfied.
Let’s face it, marketing has become a much more geeky discipline. We spend most of our time crunching analytics and trying to predict behaviors and pricing trends. We spend as much time with developers as we do with sales. Marketers will continue to serve as a critical bridge in any organization, and the more technical chops you have, including the ability to crank out code, the more you will improve your own marketability and value.
Prediction #8: Use of Niche Social Platforms
In 2014, we saw the birth of several new niche social media platforms, like Yik Yak, Ello, Fitocracy and Foodie.
While you don’t need to join all of them, you should do some digging around to see if the user base for any of these niche platforms fits your target audience profile. For example, Foodie is a lot like Pinterest but for food only. If it grows enough of a user base, it could be a great fit for restaurants, chefs, and other food-related companies.
As we’ve advised before, focus on the social networks that best match your target audience and that your team can manage. Most of these niche channels are distractions, but don’t ignore them completely, and be ready when one moves from niche to mainstream. We’ve seen this happen many times before, so be prepared!
Prediction #9: More Humor and Humanity
Overall, I think the theme for 2015 will be humor and humanity. We’ve known for a long time that strong emotions work best when it comes to marketing, and nothing about that has changed since the rise of digital marketing.
As more companies cater to Millennials, it will also becoming increasingly important to be authentic and funny, since this is a generation basically allergic to traditional corporate messaging.
What are your digital marketing predictions for 2015?
I’m sure all of you marketers out there are seeing trends I’ve missed. What else is going to happen in 2015 that will impact our jobs and lives? Let me know by leaving a comment below!