It’s 2015 and it is going to be another year full of change in the digital and social marketing world (though maybe not exactly how Marty McFly experienced it). Here’s our take on the trends we think will move and shake the industry this year:
1. Mobile Innovations
Even as the march towards wearables will again dominate the tech news in 2015, every smartphone will also present a rich opportunity for marketers to connect to their customers. These will range from mobile ads, optimized offers, and micro sites, to geo-location and Beacon technology, where your phone and all the data you inadvertently share get used to create highly personalized offers based on where you are, and where you have been. Look for large retailers to lead the way and smaller companies to riff on the possibilities that Beacon technology and smartphone interfaces can create. Also look for phone calls and texting to be this year’s highlighted Call to Action instead of the Follow and Like.
2. Putting The Humanity Back
We have all been down social, local, and video lanes ad nauseum, so everyone is familiar with the way the message is being delivered, but the tone and how it is being said will matter even more in 2015. As everyone from Boomers to Millennials get the hang of all the new technology we are using, they will look to actually be engaged by humanistic language and moments. The best brands know that they have to come off as human-friendly, if they learned anything from the Comcast horror story this year, and they will instead treat the consumers with respect and intelligence which will in turn pay the largest dividends. Brands that eschew this message will also increasingly see their follies raked through the social coals.
3. Real-Time Social Response
Listening and responding are the new push notifications, as brands and businesses will be rewarded for paying attention to what is going on in the moment, and interacting well with up-to-the minute memes and news. Consumers want to support businesses who “get it” and there’s no better way to show that they do than by listening to what consumers are trending on themselves. Bet on most to try this, a few to get it really wrong, and some continued success stories a la Oreo at the Superbowl blackout, #sochiproblems, and similar in-the-now capitalizations.
4. Personalized Everything Targeting
Along with mobile marketing and beacons will come hyper-targeting using big data and the ability for all your information to lead to some really personalized offers. If you thought cookies and retargeting were creepy, predictive technology like what Amazon and Google Now are experimenting with will push the boundaries further by trying to guess what you want before you even know it. Mix this with the rise of the semantic web and the scramble to fix meta everything, and the age of drones-dropping-a-package-you-didn’t-even-know-you-wanted is again just around the 2015 corner.
5. Real Content and Content-tainment
Content for content’s sake was the name of the game in 2014, even as Google saw right through guest post farms and backlinks of the past half decade with their penguin search updates. And even as it got harder to get highly desired, easy link-juice, the real plus is that Google is actually trying to tamp down on crap content. Instead they are now rewarding thoughtfully produced writing that has merit and voice. A shocking idea to be sure, but as niche communities continue to rise on a multitude of platforms from Medium to Snapchat to Reddit, and social sharing becomes as common as the email forward, consumers are clamoring for entertaining content above all else. This means an emphasis on funny, engaging and thought-provoking pieces within your area of expertise (and beyond) that your audience and their network will actually want to share.
6. Create Goods, Services, and Experiences That People Will Love
As Google showed us in 2014: the review is king. So since the value of the review has skyrocketed, expect companies to double down on better customer services and rewards to garner those coveted Yelp and Google+ reviews. What does this mean for the average business? Time to put the customer first again, to expand your social and web listening and offer to share their story with them.
7. Connecting All Channels (and Screens)
Since pads and smartphones are now ubiquitous in our lives, businesses have to figure out how to keep the conversation going from one device to the next. This means the simple fact that responsive website design is a must-have but also that content on second and third screens must be enhanced so you don’t lose the consumer as they shift their attention. Expect big gains and boundary-pushing strategies in 2015 from businesses of all sorts and sizes as they chase viewers to second screens and beyond.
8. Authenticity / Death To Brand Pages
Authenticity is back baby, as people see right through the bland Facebook brand pages that companies flocked to over the last five years. With more and more networks to pay attention to, the consumer has rebelled and will only bother with businesses and brands that take the time to be authentic, funny, and create content that is worthwhile on the streams they care about. This means businesses will spend more time researching where their customers actually are before pushing out the messages on the relevant platforms.
and a few last bonus predictions:
- Snapchat gets huge, and businesses finally figure out how to leverage it.
- Instagram use continues to grow, as Facebook continues its descent.
- Paid social becomes de rigueur (Promoted tweets and paid Pinterest pins).
- Video homepages for websites will be the new image sliders.
Need help navigating the marketing trends 2015? See what we can do and contact us today!