Where is digital marketing headed?

The change is real. Every few weeks, something huge happens in the digital marketing arena. Everyone tweets it, huddles over it, and then revamps their strategy based on it.

It's an adventure in constant pivoting. The digital marketing dance doesn't look like it's stopping anytime soon. Here's what's happening right now, along with some tips on succeeding in spite of the incessant change.

1. Live video

Periscope, Meerkat, and Facebook's live streaming are catching on. The power of video in the digital marketing universe is undeniable, but live video takes this game to a whole new level. Marketers need to develop a better understanding of exactly what kind of live video content their fans, customers, and followers want. But there's no disputing the fact that live video is staying and growing.

2. Buy buttons

Online purchases are the end game of most marketing. It makes sense, then, to make a tighter and more direct aim at this goal. Pinterest did it with its "buy" button. Twitter is doing the same. Even Google is crushing it with their Purchases on Google integration. More social, search, and content platforms will be unveiling buy capabilities as the distance of the marketing funnel shortens.

3. Personal branding

The idea of growing one's personal brand isn't just for aspiring leaders or influencers. Anyone who wants to gain a sense of security and viability in the market needs to work on building their personal brand. People know you (or don't know you) based on what you write about, how active you are on social media, and the profiles that they see on Linkedin or Facebook.

4. Native advertising

Even the most tightfisted brands are finally admitting that paying for ads is necessary. As we cruise forward, much adspend is going towards native advertising. Native advertising--that in which advertisements are hardly distinguishable from the platform itself--have been around for a long time. At this point, however, brands are blind not to see the value of this form of advertising in their marketing arsenal. Perhaps it's not content marketing, but it's still valuable.

5. Automation

It's not exactly new, but marketing automation is inhabiting an ever-growing role in today's digital marketing environment. The marketing automation industry is sitting on top of a $5.5 billion worth. The overall value of the marketing technology industry is $20 billion. Based on the current trends, marketing automation will take an ever-larger share as technology improves and businesses wise up about the value of marketing automation.

6. Wearables

No one is quite sure how wearables factor into the digital marketing conversation. What we do know is that people are buying them and using them. We also know that technologists and manufacturers are researching them and producing them. Now it's up to marketers to determine how best to utilize the technology. The obvious purposes such as geotargeting are already in full force, but the full capabilities of wearables are yet to be discovered.

7. Aggressive email marketing

Email marketing is one of the oldest digital marketing tactics, and it remains one of the best. The up-and-coming movement in email marketing is a more aggressive approach towards email capture and marketing. Brands aren't afraid of pop-ups anymore, and those annoying lightboxes will be appearing on more websites that are clawing to get their digital hands on your email address. Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. This is certainly the case with email marketing.

8. Internet of Things (IoT)

Connected devices are taking over your home and office. They're everywhere from your fridge to your laundry detergent. The IoT allows for digital marketing in its most shameless and most useful form. Who doesn't want to check the quantity of tomatoes in their fridge when they see that there's a sale on tomatoes at the farmer's market? More of these connected devices will show up on store shelves, and, in turn, inside your home. Prepare to market and to be marketed to.

9. Better data

Not just "bigger," but better. Businesses from the gargantuan to the mom-and-pop rely on data-informed marketing decisions. The better this data, the better their marketing becomes. Now, it's easier than ever to gain actionable, insightful, and powerful data. Better data will lead to more personalization, higher conversion rates, and more focused content.

10. Brands being personal

Along with the growing importance of personal branding is the counterbalance towards more personal brands. Folks like folks, not corporate blogs or stiff business entities. Brands are developing a more personal feel in their content and approach. Purusing this level of personal can only happen if brands are committed to relationship marketing.

11. Mobile saturation

Most businesses have seen their engagement cross the tipping point to mobile. In other words, there are more mobile users than non-mobile users when it comes to content and engagement. The idea of "mobile strategy" is pass since mobile has already dominated. Now, content creators and marketers are getting intentional about mobile saturation--ensuring not just that their content is mobile optimized, but that it's specifically mobile focused.

Conclusion

One thing you can bank on is the value of content. Content is king, remains king, and shall not be dethroned. As long as you're putting out killer content on a consistent basis, you should be good to go.

Even if you never get on Meerkat.

What are the biggest up-and-coming trends that you see in digital marketing?

Published on: Apr 21, 2016