It’s not too late to sharpen your strategy and tactics for the New Year. Most of the topics may look familiar, but each is evolving fast. In the coming weeks we’ll dive into a more in-depth post on each trend, but here’s a good overview:
1 – SEO Redux – Don’t assume you have “that box checked.” Mobile users use search differently; optimize for user intent and mobile search or you will lose – Google will see to it. Many experts believe social signals from Facebook and Twitter are already in Google’s algorithms – and that social influences will only increase, especially with the demise of Google+. In short, SEO is intertwined with all digital media. Plan accordingly – and refer to #2:
2 – Content Marketing Hits Puberty – For many it’s still awkward and uncoordinated, but content shows great promise. It’s been predicted that major brands will actually start buying media companies to instantly establish loyal audiences. Smaller companies need to invest in good media partners, brand advocates, blogger outreach, and work to evangelize content marketing across their companies. More personalized content delivery tools are emerging – get noticed by jumping in early. And plan to integrate content across mobile platforms for what’s becoming known as “transmedia storytelling.”
3 – The Rise of Millennials and Hispanics – Both of these groups have reached a tipping point; they need to be on most marketers’ sites. Each brings serious buying power and must be wooed through targeted strategy, creative and media planning. While we must avoid stereotypes and generalizations about either audience, Millennials in particular have marketers jumping through hoops. They demand transparency; hence the cry to “humanize our brands.” It plays out in everything from first-person creative and personalized content, to social media customer service: people talking to people, not companies talking at people.
4 – Programmatic Media isn’t just for Geeks – What started as a synonym for “RTB” (real-time bidding) has become a broader term for the growing range of automated media buying platforms. The idea is that data on everything from consumer data, ad outlets, formats, and inventory can be crunched to recommend and automate buying decisions. Many believe we’ll soon buy all media on a Google Adwords type basis. There is no doubt that it will be an important factor at all levels of media buying; serious computing power is the only way to make sense of the torrent of data.
5 – Social Media Becomes Pay to Play – Facebook especially has shifted the ground beneath us with algorithms delivering only a fraction of content to our fans unless we pay to “boost” our posts. We can’t fight Zuckerberg et. al. – but we still need to win the game. Organic social media isn’t dead, but paid social is a real part of the media mix now. More than ever, we need to explore, experiment, track and evaluate to maximize return.
6 – Marketing Automation Delivers – The offerings are exploding – from enterprise solutions, to affordable, easy to set up SAS programs that quickly leverage a small team’s efforts across a number of platforms. A good system gives you actionable tracking and metrics and can make