Strategy: Digital Marketing Trends to Incorporate into Business Planning
By: Ekaterina Tsvetkova
VP Marketing, Strategy Matters
It’s well known that to be competitive nowadays, brands need to acquire a high level of customer engagement and loyalty. One of the early champions of this contemporary business need captured this requirement perfectly in a series of videos that start with the Hero’s Journey. There are no shortage of opportunities for engagement as a result of the current level of digital technologies and abundance of social media platforms and online interaction apps.
However, most brands are still getting it wrong.
According to Neil Patel, contributor to the Entrepreneurs Blog by Forbes, in order to succeed and reach the goal of ‘engagement’ in these extremely competitive times, marketers should “identify current trends, settle on an actionable strategy, and take measurable movement forward.”
Neil identified ten strategies that have a high potential of boosting digital marketing effectiveness and ROI over the next few years. Here’s our take on them: which to covet and which to throw out.
- Stop relying primarily on ’search.’
According to Neil, although search engine optimization (SEO) is still an important part of digital marketing strategy, marketers ‘should use more direct forms’ of interacting with their target market. This leads to the obvious questions: where does SEO fit now? What are search-based direct interactions such as Google’s product listing ads (PLA’s)? Unfortunately, Neil doesn’t get into detail with his article, but we know that it matters. Feel free to contact us to learn more.
- Just mobile.
The importance of mobile based on today’s mobile ubiquity, with mobile broadband penetration reaching 47% globally (source: ICT Data and Statistics Division), Canadian mobile subscriptions of 12,569,087, and U.S. mobile use of 100,192,000 (source: OECD Broadband Portal, as of Dec. 2014), is paramount. Mobile search, mobile optimization, and mobile conversions cannot be overstated, and this is one of the highest priorities for online marketing.
- Social conversion is here – adopt it.
‘Social conversion’ is no longer merely a word du jour. Social networks have accumulated enough power and are evolving into eCommerce and lead generation sites. They provide an accelerating opportunity to improve conversion rates and gain new conversion channels.
- Offer and use new payment methods.
Accepting payment is something you simply have to get right. However, with the advent of new digital payment methods, privacy issues have become a mainstream concern. The key role of digital marketers here is to reassure, educate, and coach customers through the transition.
- Use paid advertising.
Paid advertising is here to stay, despite the presumptuous claim of some marketers that “PPC is dying.” There is plenty of data to prove otherwise: in Canada, PPC spend increased by 26.1% year-over-year in 2014, in the U.S. by 28.2% in 2014 (source: eMarketer) and by 21% globally in Q2 of 2015 (source: Marketing Land). Although there is a slight decline in the traditional pay per click advertising that was made universal by Google, there’s an advent of alternative forms of paid advertising that has risen to take its place. Online advertising now includes methods like organic video and image display ads, retargeting (remarketing, if you are using Google) and other new methods of organic and paid advertising.
- Optimize and streamline digital marketing with marketing automation.
In today’s business environment, marketing automation is easy and affordable. This is true for pretty much any company, including with a broad range of budgets. It is a requirement for any business to keep their leads and prospects engaged and convert them into loyal, returning customers.
- Content creators are necessary & require greater sophistication.
Unless you live under a rock, you know that in the online realm, Content is King. Content is essential to digital marketing and Neil explains how the degree of expertise and experiential personalization of content is an integral component of turning common content into royalty. Generating high quality niche content that relates to the target audience and keeps them engaged is top priority for brands and marketers. This is a key component of any successful digital marketing campaign.
- Keep up: the algorithm will change. And change again.
Since Neil lists his first strategy as not relying on ‘search’ so much, this strategy may appear to contradict that one. However, anyone who does any digital marketing or online campaigns will be addicted to search like a bee to honey. Knowing that search is an integral part of any business today, you simply have to keep up with how search works. Google’s search rankings algorithm has changed dramatically in the past – you’ve heard of these by their avian names: Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird, for example. These changes will continue – the most recent has been a heavy weighting towards mobile responsive and mobile optimized websites. Google’s search algorithm will keep changing and requires constant review and updates for each digital marketing campaign.
- Focus on your ROI: conversion optimization.
Neil defines conversion rate optimization as “the process of maximizing the number of site visitors who convert or make a purchase.” This may be an overly simplistic and poor definition considering that he uses the word “convert” to define a 3-word phrase that includes the word conversion, and considering that many, many websites simply don’t have selling as a goal – intermediary, milestone, or end goal.
Nonetheless, conversion is not measured, tested and optimized enough. Understanding the details of the micro-goals of a landing page as well as the macro website-wide goals can be tedious as well as difficult. All the more reason to focus here, as the payoff is immense. Neil is right that conversion optimization is essential, even if his reasons for why may miss the mark.
- Employ growth hacking.
According to Neil, one of the most fascinating trends in 2015 is the continued evolution of growth hacking. Growth hacking, according to Neil, is focusing on growth through use of an empirical and scalable methodology. Hmmm – hard to pull a ‘hacking’ concept out of that definition. Here’s a definitive explanation and history lesson on “growth hacking” on QuickSprout. To summarize what growth hacking is from Sean Ellis who coined the term, this is simply a narrow-minded focus on growth, by startups. Usually growth refers to users; this is not marketing; this doesn’t apply to non-startups (but maybe to a shiny, brand new project by a non-startup company).
There you have it. Now you know what one of the most respected business executives in the online digital marketing space thinks you need for your strategy in this space. Interestingly, Neil is the cofounder of QuickSprout, along with Kissmetrics and Crazy Egg. Haven’t heard of these companies? No problem – just google it.
Source of original article by Neil: http://www.forbes.com/sites/neilpatel/2015/03/09/10-digital-marketing-trends-in-2015-that-will-boost-your-strategy/2/