7 Digital Marketing predictions for 2015

So, it's the first day back at work for many of us and 2015 has now properly begun as we settle back into our familiar routines. The decorations are down, the mince pies are digested and there's only three quarters of the Christmas cake still left to eat! Therefore, I thought I'd start the year by sharing some of my predictions for the world of digital marketing that will help shape my team's objectives for the coming year:

1. Digital will no longer be separate to marketing:

As digital is merely another tool, I believe that 2015 will see bigger steps made towards it being where all good campaigns begin and end. We'll even see less marketers with 'digital' in their job title. Without this to distinguish it, the world of digital will evolve from being an added extra to the focus of any decent marketing campaign. This will mean that the old methods of designing for print first will be forgotten, marketers with limited digital skills and understanding will be left behind and agile campaigns will be what are important. After all, digital now accounts for the majority of all media spend in the UK!

2. Test and learn will be standard procedure: 

Currently, all campaign workflows are siloed and this is something we all need to move away from. Analytics comes up front, then there's a big creative piece (usually with an outside agency), the campaign is launched and more analytics at the back end. We are working towards making all those pieces join together into a more iterative workflow that combines the creative and the analytical in a collaborative and agile process. Our department (and particularly my team) are owners of considerable resources and we need to be able to operate in real-time, with real-time analytics about what is working and what is not to be true drivers of productivity and conversions.

3. 2015 will be the year of video marketing:

Video is perfect for showing the audience rather than telling them. The level of storytelling that it brings (alongside the emotion it can elicit) means that we'll see even more high-end video produced than ever before. This can either be in the form of short branded videos on YouTube/Vimeo or short reactionary videos on Vine/Instagram. Therefore, the play button will become the most compelling call to action on the web (there's little I can do to stop my young children pressing it wherever they see it appear!) The statistics are already there to prove it, with YouTube being the second biggest search engine (after Google) and video analytics showing that video converts better than other content type.

4. Mobile will continue to matter: 

With Wi-Fi connections and phones only getting faster mobile will be the first point of engagement with most brands. Therefore, to not have a mobile first web strategy means you will be left behind. Also, many marketers will continue to obsess over location-based marketing, leading to a reality where consumers are targeted at every street corner. Consumers will tune out of this irrelevant interruption leading marketers to realise location alone shouldn’t trigger an experience and will start anticipating a person’s intent by tapping into third party data streams such as news and events, traffic and weather to drive true relevance.

5. Websites will be less important:

Currently we are at the top of a graph with regards to new website visits and this is now likely to show a steady decrease. This is because users are set to spend even more of their time using applications, such as playing games and browsing social media. Content will be shared more on platforms such as Facebook or Twitter and these will become the go to news and information source. This is because people are now more savvy to brand messaging and instead like to listen to the voice of fellow customers either on review sites like Trip Advisor or the product reviews on websites such as Amazon.

6. Everything will be personalised:

Whilst I don't really like the phrase 'Big Data' I believe brands will finally figure out which data is most meaningful for them and how it can be used to their advantage. Anything and everything that can be personalised will be as this is a great way to gather yet more data on the ideal customer. A friend of mine even received some personalised Nutella for Christmas! This will become more prevalent as every brand tries to serve relevant individual content at whatever touchpoint the customer has with the brand. The dangers here though could be damage to brand consistency and the increased creepiness factor for those who don't appreciate this level of intrusion. 

7. Customers will expect to be treated as individuals:

All of the marketing theory that I have studied talks about the importance of segmenting the audience but I think that this is to be slowly retired. Now that we understand more the individual thanks to the explosion in data we can begin to stop pigeon-holing them. This means fully personalised experiences and showing people what their friends are doing online. I've always been a little uncomfortable with certain market research techniques which group people into social and economic classes and finally this year will see a shift away from this. It's almost as bad as horoscopes and believing that everyone born in the same month has the same character traits!

So there are my predictions for 2015. Whichever ones come true there's no doubt it's going be a busy one!
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