Now that 2012 has gotten off to a roaring start, perhaps it is time to take a look at what’s in store for the digital marketing industry for the year. As with any industry, in any year, there will be challenges as well as successes.
From our extensive research (well, we did a bit of a Google search), we reckon that 2012 will be the year of the application. Bet you didn’t see that one coming did you? (Side note: if you didn’t see that one coming, and you are working in the digital marketing space, we suggest that you change careers NOW!)
As such, we’ve put together our five top items that you might want to put on your digital marketing agenda for the year.
- Get mobile: we don’t mean that you should rush out to Telstra and arm all your employees with the latest iPhone. What we do mean (and we’re talking to all you marketing and advertising execs out there) is that you need to work out how to effectively integrate ‘mobile-ness’ into your annual business plans and budgets. With consumers increasing their use of mobile devices exponentially every year, mobile marketing is no longer optional (at least, not if you want a successful brand). It is now indispensable. In 2011, Google estimated that 44% of last-minute shopping searches were from either smartphones or tablets. In 2012, if you do not optimise your website for ‘mobile-ness’, with a specific format and landing page for mobile devices, you will be at a serious disadvantage.
- Better methods of measuring Return On Investment: as with any type of expenditure by a company, there has to be a clear Return On Investment (ROI). To calculate and better demonstrate this ROI, there has to be a solid foundation of digital marketing measurement metrics. Generally, in the world of digital marketing, this is currently based around the concepts of ‘cost per click’ and ‘conversion rate’. However, as companies begin to allocate more funding to the digital marketing pool, there will need to be a more direct correlation between digital marketing expenditure and profit (and obviously a means by which to measure this).
- Increased focus on research: for a relatively new marketing medium, most companies do not undertake a great deal of research into the field of digital marketing. As overall budgets for digital marketing increase, so will digital marketing research budgets. There is no industry standard for digital marketing, like radio and television rating schemes. Research will help build on aspects such as this.
- Integrated marketing methods: this phrase has been hanging around for a few years now. The reason that it is still around is that most companies still haven’t quite got it right. Integrated marketing is not simply about using all marketing mediums; it is really just the first step. The second step is using one channel to promote the other channels. What you really need to do is leverage the use of each channel through an integrated marketing plan. Sound tricky? Well, that’s why it’s still on the agenda. It requires innovative thought, big ideas and artful execution.
- Customer engagement through digital marketing: we all know that customer engagement (and to a lesser degree validation) is vital in any marketing strategy these days. This is where social media comes in to play. Customers (or consumers or clients or whatever term you like to use) like to feel as though they are part of the process and can shape your brand, product or service with their feedback. So, we believe that in 2012, companies will tap into this, particularly during the lifecycle of new products (it’s free feedback throughout the planning, concept development and testing and launch phases). In 2012, companies that are digital marketing savvy will use social media to ensure the product they are launching is popular, the process will bolster their online community, strengthen their brand and give them a competitive advantage. Ticks all the boxes really.
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