Integrated Marketing - What's on trend for 2015?

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It’s that time of year again. Not only is the festive season almost upon us but marketers and analysts across the land are predicting what is going to be big in 2015. In this blog post we’ve scoured the web to review the top five predictions so you don’t have to. Warning: This blog post contains buzzwords.  

Data-driven content

It is a much overused phrase so I apologise for what I’m about to type, but in terms of channels, content is still king. In a recent poll by Smart Insights, 600 marketers view Content Marketing as their most commercially important trend of 2015. However, a subtle change is a foot to this usual suspect.

In 2015 there will be more of a shift to curation and personalisation, with the vehicle for this being the use of data. At the Content Marketing Show in November James Perrot, Head of Search and Data at Zazzle, proposed that organisations harness the power of data when defining a content calendar, not just when they are delivering or evaluating it.

Involving data in the end to end content creation process could prove the differentiator. One way of ensuring that your content is relevant and necessary is to use tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner or Keywordtool.io to check for search volumes attributed to your content ideas and check for long tail search terms. For an understanding of the current trends, Google’s trend explorer makes it easy to compare search topics and visualise your potential audience. Other data insights can be gleaned from your competitor’s websites or relevant blogging platforms. 

When you have established what people are looking for in that subject area, you can use this insight to write content and plan keywords around this. This ensure that it is currently culturally relevant in the industry. You have the ability to attract people who currently have no brand affinity and convert them into brand evangelists by writing content with them in mind.

In terms of using data for the content curation itself, if you have access to meaningful data on your clients and sector, work with your design team to turn it into an infographic or interactive resource that can showcase what makes you different. If your company is in product development you could even create your ‘how to’ guides visually. Check out this awesome Behance portfolio by Imaginary Factory for inspiration.

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Demographics

According to Marketing Week (registered login required), brands should no longer focus on age or gender, it’s now all about attitude. Saga recently reported that the ‘grey pound’ for example now accounts for almost 50% of consumer spending. This year there has been much focus in the press on the rise of feminism, gender-neutral advertising and mature consumers to combat campaigns which may have previously been viewed as sexist or ageist campaigns.

Like all things in marketing there is a definition for this and that is ‘post-demographic consumerism’. Which in simplistic terms means that brands need to revalidate any previous assumptions about their consumer’s behaviour. Fear not though, this doesn’t mean the end of gender or youth targeted advertising it simply means addressing the most appropriate means to engage with your audience, their life views and outlook.

From Globalisation to Personalisation

Personalised advertising is no longer hard work. There are many tools in the marketplace that can help with this. The latest to enter the arena has been the Smartphone market, which use beacon technology.

“Beacons are low-cost pieces of hardware… that use battery-friendly low-energy Bluetooth connections to transmit messages or prompts directly to a smartphone or tablet”
- Business Insider, Tony Danova

The market leader is (almost inevitably) Apple’s iBeacon. These algorithms are capable of sending bespoke notifications based on the phone user’s current location and buying habits, churning out tailor made services and products to individuals. It’s a bit like real-time bidding based on web cookies, but in a much more native way. Personalised pricing and offers could be the loyalty differentiator in 2015. These applications are expected to proliferate in American retail outlets before spreading across the pond and perhaps into the service sector as well. Marking the beginning of the new dawn of connectivity, advertising will be much more integrated into our day to day notifications and front of mind next year and beyond.

Programmatic

For some early adopters the use of data in determining ad placement is a large part of their marketing strategy, with spend on programmatic advertising set to top $9.8 billion by the end of 2014. So what is it?

In October the CIO asked six marketing professionals for their definitions of programmatic advertising. Here is our personal favourite:

“Programmatic is using data to make decisions about what ads to buy, and being able to do that in real time is an added benefit,”

      - Tara Steger, Sales Director, Data Xu

Automated advertising that is more science than art is being used to complement traditional print, broadcast and online activity. It’s not just about display advertising, but in 2015 it anticipated that the usage will be more widespread, across Twitter and Facebook using their own built in targeting, and also on emails and website landing pages to ensure the right message is delivered and the correct time.

Both beacon technology and programmatic will require robust cyber security and complete transparency before they become generally accepted by the tech-savvy consumer. We all want to feel valued by a brand but if any of this functionality makes the user feel vulnerable or harassed they will be quick to turn off their location services and opt-out of this potential goldmine.

Internal focus

In the more traditional space, employee engagement will continue to feature highly in next year’s marketing strategies. Engaging with your existing workforce can have benefits not only to the culture, retention rate and working environment, but also to your external brand.

One of the most powerful resources at a marketer’s disposal is their colleagues. One example of this is empowering your workforce to share your content socially. If they feel well informed about the brands external direction they will be more likely to share your campaigns with their own network. If you ask the internal subject matter expert to write a blog post for you they are highly likely to promote this to their friends as a badge of honour. Alternatively, if one of your teams has recently attended an industry event, why not get them to write a news story about it.

The lines between work and play are becoming blurred so inward focus will be as important as outward focus to ensure these brand ambassadors know what you’re trying to achieve. By being involved in marketing decisions it is likely they will also feel more valued which is a win-win situation and a prime marketing asset.  

Conclusion

In a nutshell 2015 is expected to focus on creation and innovation, using data and personalisation. Staying on top of these trends and implementing them into your strategies will mean you’re best placed to cater for the needs of the always-on consumer. Integrating your SEO, Content and Social activities will help ensure that you are best placed for success with a consistent offering for your highly expecting prospects. Other trends that we didn’t have enough words to mention include:

  • The rise of Instagram as a primary brand channel, particularly for travel and tech
  • Wearables – See our blog post for more insight on how content manager can prepare
  • Infiltration of high-quality short form videos, particularly for B2B

Not sure where to start? We can review your business model and suggest an appropriate way forward. We’d also love to hear your thoughts on the predictions and whether you’ve found success as an early adopter of any of the tools mentioned in this piece.  

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