2011 has passed very much under the theme of social marketing. Businesses finally realised that networks such as Facebook and Twitter carry an amazing value and most marketers would have used those in their campaigns. We also saw a further decline in above the line advertising, as it is seen as less targeted and much harder to monitor than the digital forms of promotion.
But instead of analysing the past we have decided to look to the future. Here are five trends which we think will dominate marketing this year:
1. Social Media Marketing – as mentioned above, social networks are already very popular among online marketers, but next year is when we expect a real push in this area. 2011 can be seen very much as a testing period when many companies were finally persuaded to set up accounts and begin gathering followers and friends on Facebook, Twitter etc. 2012 is when we think we will see a lot more coordinated and strategic social media marketing. We now know that it is not all about how many people follow you, but what you are getting out of each relationship. Businesses will be looking closely at what benefits they are getting from the whole exercise, which will therefore need to become a lot more focused.
2. Multi-Channel Marketing – online marketing can no longer rely solely on e-mail campaigns. What businesses have learned over the last few months is that this type of marketing alone will not generate high levels of customers and often does not resonate with current ones either. This is why from next year we expect to see online businesses using a collective approach, with e-mail, social and mobile campaigns designed to work together with an integrated message in order to keep the current audience and grow it at the same time. As the way we consume information changes, we can fully expect marketers to follow us.
3. Video – the consumption of video online is growing at a huge rate thanks to the likes of YouTube one of the most popular video services on the Internet. With so many people connected to broadband using video as part of digital marketing is much more feasible and we think that in the near future we will see many businesses trying to capitalise on this potential. These efforts will be aided by the fact that Google, by far the most popular search engine in Europe, often displays video search results higher than any articles, documents and even images.
4. Interactivity – nothing helps consumers remember an advertising campaign better than if they are able to take an active part in it. The Internet gives marketers a huge opportunity to have people involved in promotions. Next year we expect to see short games and interactive videos used to advertise businesses and products. Social networks also provide a great platform where customers can be asked to engage in marketing activities (asking people to share posts or to comment is already quite popular). The time when advertising was just consumed by us is over; the time when we take part in shaping these campaigns is about to arrive.
5. Local is the new global – the Internet allows even the smallest of businesses to target customers across the world. It also makes it a lot easier to research what people in different countries want and adjust any campaigns to those needs. We think that businesses and marketers alike are about to really exploit this opening and start targeting us with ads focused around what area you find yourself in.
Once again we can expect a very exciting year in digital marketing. The above predictions are fairly safe and most people would probably agree with them but what we are really excited about are those trends which emerge without anybody anticipating them.