2014 digital marketing predictions: An end to the law of averages
December 13, 2013
2014 could see the end to the law of averages for marketing as we move way beyond probability to more honed, strategic delivery. Tina Judic, Managing Director of Found offers her predictions for 2014.
With our mindset already firmly fixed on bottom line contribution, marketing budgets over the coming year will undoubtedly be expected to work even harder as we all realise that engagement and awareness simply aren’t enough anymore.
2014 will be all about how marketing can deliver even more. Specifically, how it can maintain brand stand-out, but more importantly, how it can equally produce continual leads, sales and ongoing business.
If the finance pressure isn’t enough, the exponential growth and evolution of the internet, alongside consumers’ growing engagement with digital advertising and their desire for more enriched, relevant and personalised content, will bring opportunity for business growth or for business failure. We’re now dealing with empowered consumers in a fickle world, so now’s the time for us all to up our game.
Crucially, 2014 could also see the end to the law of averages for marketing as we move way beyond probability to more honed, strategic delivery. Marketers now need to have a 360° holistic and data driven approach to understand their customers’ full purchase life cycle and need to embrace each sales channel as a way to gain, grow and retail their product.
In fact, from PPC and SEO, to Social Display, there will be nowhere to hide for businesses not willing or able to embrace the opportunities that big data provides. Its impact will continue to be felt across the entire spectrum of digital marketing channels.
The constant development of digital marketing technology alone will equally push greater segmentation, dynamic delivery and personalised content which will ultimately respond to this market need.
Specifically, whereas once optimisation used to mean effective A/B testing, the adoption of big data solutions has led to the collection and analysis of huge amounts of information in marketing systems. This big data insight now shows that one size does not fit all any more, and much like spaghetti sauce, sometimes A is better for X while B may be better for Y.
Clustering and segmentation too, drawn from factors including location, device and behaviour, will enable us to dynamically deliver highly targeted marketing which hits this consumer need for more relevant content about things they’re actually interested in. In turn, this will not only drive better conversion rates, but it will also create more compelling brand experience that increases engagement and ultimately, loyalty - the Holy Grail for any marketer.
Looking specifically at the key marketing channels, innovation will be the key driver for SEO and PPC as publishers look at new and compelling ways to drive sales and win back brand power from dominant aggregator sites. Advertisers too will be looking to turn the power back in their own direction when it comes to brand protection. From a lead generation perspective, data profiling will once again come to the fore here too as savvy publishers define their merchants’ demographic to deliver greater leads and brand loyalty.
If 2013 saw the rise of mobile, then 2014 will also be the year of mobile supremacy and specifically be the year in which it successfully bridges the gap between online and offline engagement.
Up until now advertisers have viewed mobile as part of their marketing strategies, but during 2014 we will start to see mobile becoming the main marketing channel for many campaigns.
Whilst ecommerce is generally still playing catch up, scratching its head as to why mobile traffic isn’t quite converting as expected, new ad formats will continue to emerge. Video ads specifically will further evolve and the real time bidding ad platforms will enable mobile to lead the way for future advertising.
Mobile users are also said to be much closer to purchase in many situations too. According to Surojit Chatterjee, the head of global mobile search ads at Google, a search on a mobile indicates an urgency that the same search wouldn’t do on desktop - think roadside recovery or hotel searches. Techniques like click-to-call and geo-targeting ads are therefore now becoming commonplace, whilst the brave and the bold brands will adopt proximity based ad serving and geo-conquesting.
With a shift in tactics towards utilising mobile data to segment people into demographic and audience segments, movement of a phone and where it ‘lives’ are also giving away key information about its user that will allow us to develop and refine our engagement process.
With the news that 46% of 18 – 34 year olds alone view their mobiles as their primary screen, there’s no denying the importance that this channel now represents. The challenge will be how digital advertising can optimise to new models, redefine content and find the niches in which mobile users convert really well.
However, channel activity aside, 2014 will also see the arrival of marketing automation as a new force for marketers to achieve the continual leads, sales and ongoing business that our marketing objectives now demand.
According to predictions by Global market intelligence firm, IDC, the total market for automated marketing will grow to $4.8 billion by 2015. Already a big player in the US, marketing automation will hit UK shores with a bang, and those who understand it and implement it correctly will be the winners in this new race.
This automation is founded on pre-defined journeys and a series of triggered communication that encourages a prospect down the sales funnel. Depending upon where a prospect is within the sales funnel, the marketing automation platform combines content, email, search and display in a form of closed loop marketing, enabling the mechanisation of tasks and content.
The great promise of marketing automation is the ability to trigger messages based upon visitors’ actions on a site, ideally targeting them with highly relevant content. But there-in lies the problem for some companies. As Hubspot recently put it, “Without smart, tailored, useful content, marketing automation is just an intelligent spamming tool”.
Content will be key to any organisation, irrespective of whether they implement automated tools or not. A smart mix of automation, data insight, asset management and content will deliver the winning combination to marketing success in 2014.
By Tina Judic