What’s The Next Big Thing? Digital Marketing Pros Talk

What’s the buzz in the digital marketing world these days? “Mobile,” “content marketing” and “real-time, location-based marketing” are some of the heavy-hitters when it comes to reaching consumers – and turning them into customers.

The Traverse City Business News tapped three marketing minds and asked for their 2016 take on the latest in digital marketing. Here’s what they said will be “hot,” what to watch for and what to be wary of when it comes to spending those marketing dollars.

MonigoldErin Monigold

Owner/Social Media Specialist, Social Vision Marketing

What’s new/hot in digital marketing?

The visual-based social networks are continuing to grow and Instagram has finally opened its platform for paid ads. You’ll start to see lots of sponsored ads in your Instagram feed if you haven’t already.

Also, and this one is really exciting … real-time location-based marketing is getting hotter right now which is great news for small brick-and-mortar businesses. This technology helps to target your customers at the point of engagement – when they are physically at your business. For instance, Facebook’s iBeacons are relatively new and are just entering the market due to a recent mass rollout. The iBeacon is basically a small transmitter that sends out a signal to smartphones that use Bluetooth technology and is designed to send marketing-related messages to those phones while they are near the beacon (i.e., inside a store, restaurant, etc). Businesses can use this opportunity to send out promotions, customer loyalty messages, or just encourage visitors to like their Facebook page.

What to watch for heading into 2016?

While it’s definitely nothing new video ads will be huge in 2016, because Google is making changes to finally add embedded videos to its search engine results. Video will also play a larger role on Facebook and through Instagram paid ads.

Mobile will completely dominate desktop! If a business hasn’t already switched its website to a mobile-optimized site, 2016 will be the year to do it.

Trends to be wary/cautious of?

One of the fastest-growing social networks right now is Snapchat. However, the overwhelming majority of Snapchat users are Millennials. I would be cautious of jumping on the bandwagon unless your brand is very much targeted toward the millennial demographic and you have a content strategy in place.

The best bang(s) for your digital marketing bucks?

That question is always a tough one, because the answer is always different for each type of business. If a business has a limited marketing budget, I would first take the time to understand your customer and work on having a well designed, user-friendly and informative mobile-optimized website. Once a business is established on the web then work on building a paid digital campaign through social media platforms to reach your target market.

 

12a6507Dan Smith

Co-Founder/Account Director, Flight Path Creative

What’s new/hot in digital marketing?

Mobile is everywhere all the time; we are collectively addicted to our mobile phones and tablets, therefore websites, web content and digital campaigns must be optimized for these modern devices. New tools have enhanced our ability to collect information about a user’s online activity over time giving us the ability to deliver segmented targeted advertisements to that user’s interests. Social customer relationship management (Social CRM) is a growing trend. Social CRM collects data from social networks where a user publicly shares information.

What to watch for heading into 2016?

We predict the search landscape will continue to shift away from Google. Google is not going away and will likely continue to dominate, but new players are entering the environment as consumers are looking for alternatives to lower the Google dependence. As marketers we value the importance of search engine optimization and we recognize a searcher can accomplish the search goal through alternative (new) tools.

Trends to be wary/cautious of?

Although email marketing can be an effective way to communicate a promotional message to a list of existing customers, direct email marketing to rented lists of non-targeted customers usually has limited impact and can be costly.

The best bang(s) for your digital marketing bucks?

Content continues to be king. If your website and digital campaign content connect your brand to your customers, the spend will have more impact and get better results. Outstanding website content will naturally enhance search engine optimization, and as with traditional media, solid creative copy direction will make that connection with the customer.

 

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Sara Klebba

Account Supervisor, Greenlight Marketing

What’s new/hot in digital marketing?

Brands and agencies are continuing to spend more on content marketing. Defined by Joe Pulizzi, the originator of the term, content marketing is “an approach where instead of distracting our audience with advertising that’s not relevant to them, we’re going to create valuable, compelling, and relevant content on a consistent basis and build and audience over that time in order to see some profitable customer action.” Traditional media is seeing a shift to online, consumers are seeking information on their own, and consumers are turning a blind eye to digital ads. These challenges present opportunities that can be answered through content marketing.
Consumers’ research and shopping habits are changing, tech-savvy millenials are becoming influential buyers, and boomers are slowly aging out. The consumer landscape is constantly changing, so how brands reach them will have to change, too.

What to watch for heading into 2016?

Content marketing should definitely be a part of your marketing mix, but watch out for oversharing. Be thoughtful about the stories you share. Storytelling will continue to be important in 2016, and consumers will be expecting to hear more from brands. However, just like all traditional marketing, you must still adhere to the practice that you’re sharing the appropriate message to your target audience when they need to hear it (message, audience, timing). You still need strategy.
Content marketing is hard, building audiences is difficult, and metrics can sometimes be hard to determine. But with practice and dedication, it can develop brand advocacy and loyalty. Just make sure to watch the trends, don’t react prematurely, and adapt to your audiences.

Trends to be wary/cautious of?

In the digital advertising world, we must be aware of and responsive to ad blocking technology, especially with Apple’s iOS9 update. Marketers should now be setting sights on developing more effective and consumer-aware digital ad design. The Interactive Advertising Bureau just shared a set of technical guidelines that will help marketers create advertising that works within these ad blockers’ expectations, focusing on design that is “light, encrypted, ad-choice supported, and non-invasive.” It is important to follow trends, but also know when to adapt your strategy to changing trends. Don’t toss aside a tactic due to an obstacle, but don’t ignore that obstacle, either.

The best bang(s) for your digital marketing bucks?

It really depends on the client. The marketing strategy will really depend on the set goals and objectives that need to be achieved. While some media may offer a lower CPM (cost per thousand impressions), for example, it may not be an effective tactic for your particular client. Cost is an important consideration, but impact and responsiveness is more so.

As digital marketing/content marketing becomes the norm, companies must ensure that their content channels are viewable. Namely, that they are optimized for mobile use. Digital platforms must be designed to be responsive to whatever device consumers are using. For example, too often we see compelling content that is unreadable or unnavigable on mobile/tablet because a company’s website was built for viewing on a traditional desktop computers. Mobile consumption is overtaking desktop, so if your content is not optimized, it will likely not be seen. A simple test: Mystery shop your website on your mobile device. What is the user experience? Consumers will not stick around for long on a site if they can’t easily find what they’re looking for (or aren’t guided to it).

 

 

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