There is no industry that moves faster than digital marketing.
In fact, to put it into perspective, statistics released by the Department of Culture and Media has found that the marketing sector has experienced a year-on-year growth of 11%, and contributed £84.1bn to the British Economy. Furthermore it’s been estimated that digital roles will grow by 23-53% over the next decade.
With such heavy growth showing no signs of stopping it’s no surprise that to stay competitive in this industry your knowledge needs to be on point.
Expectations are high in the industry, and marketing has never been more glamorised, or its success so easily rated.
So with this in mind, and 2017 within reaching distance, it’s time for us all to look forward to the trends that will mould the marketing world of the future.
Big Data Just Got Bigger
Data-driven marketing has enabled the industry to thrive at an extraordinary rate because everything we do can be tracked and traced – leading to a complete insight into how effective each campaign has been and altering according to the data found.
But with an increase in the data now available thanks to the rise of social media channels, analytics and the implementation of CRM software, the data sets are bigger and more complex than ever before. Giving us an overwhelming amount of insight on our target demographics; their habits, their behaviours and their attitudes.
The connection is straightforward, with better data about our target audience we can create bespoke campaigns which will engage with each person a personal level. By simply segmenting customers into micro-targeted groups based on actions rather than just gender and age, marketers can take a holistic approach.
It may sound a little ‘George Orwell 1984’ but companies both big and small can utilise this data to create a better customer experience, ensuring they only receive information that is relevant and useful to them.
Unfortunately, at present big data is yet to be fully harnessed by marketers. According to Technology Review, a shocking 0.5% of data available is properly analysed and processed.
While many have reasoned that they are waiting for such technology to become more mainstream, the truth of the matter is – if you wait too long you will miss the countless benefits that big data will bring to your campaign.
User-generated content is a big deal in marketing. Rather than you shouting about how great you are, you have a willing ambassador to do it for you. But it’s a form of marketing that has been massively underused within the industry.
Defined as any content that is created and contributed by users themselves rather than brands – according to research by Bazaar Voice, 64% of millennials want more options to share their opinions about brands – so why aren’t we allowing this?
Instead of the brands creating content, marketers need to create opportunities for content creation by the users. By allowing this as a brand, you can spark engagement with your audience and open-up the old-fashioned ‘friend recommendation’ style marketing technique that is naturally ingrained in all of us. It’s the psychology of social proof – people are drawn to a product or service that they know others already trust.
It’s without a doubt that content marketing in particular, has become the lynch pin of the digital industry, but its value can be easily undermined.
Since its vital role in Googles Panda update, content has been produced on mass, with millions of blog posts, social updates and videos being uploaded to the internet every minute
But with great quantity does not come great quality, and many marketers have become stuck in the habit of churning out content for the sake of Google rankings rather than user experience.
Content should not be part of some sales machine; it should have a purpose. Utilising big data, content should be driven by the people and for the people, helping to deliver exceptional experiences that enables the audience to engage with the brand.
Snapchat, Instagram stories, Facebook video – you cannot deny that visual content is dominating our online space; and it’s set to continue, as Cisco predicts that consumer video traffic will surpass 80% by 2019.
It’s easy to consume and allows audiences to feel more engaged with your brand, yet again, marketers are not fully harnessing this style of content to truly push their campaigns.
Capitalising on video content is not only set to grow, but it is expected to transform the way in which audiences actively seek out brands. If you can’t put your message in front of a captive audience, then you have to create content which they will look to find themselves.
You have to think of it like this – content marketing is a form of storytelling, and video is the most engaging medium of storytelling out there.
Roles of Tomorrow
The marketing profession used to be full of people with degrees and qualifications, which no-one ever really knew what they were for.
Brands and businesses alike used to be acutely obsessed that such merits of marketing justification would lead to sales gold. But the modern reality could not be further from the truth.
As the UK’s education system still lacks to grasp the skills and traits required for the digital marketing industry, their outdated practices are leading to agencies now hiring on personality rather than skill-set.
Because let’s face it – skills can be taught – drive cannot. Irrespective of qualifications, modern marketers are being hired for their characteristics, with teams being built around similar attributes and personality traits.
Agencies and brands want teams who can build creative campaigns that will relate to their audiences. Unfortunately, this is not something that is taught, it’s the human ability to connect with people.
We’re in the era of ‘people-based marketing’, and we should be combing data and human connections to create campaigns that matter.
If you can’t make an impact with a great story or by communicating with your audience, you may be in for future of uncertainty.
By Lizzie Benton, Content Marketing Manager at Datify