Digital marketing is embraced as an ecosystem

19th March 2015

In 2015 digital marketing is increasingly being adopted as an ecosystem rather than a mere marketing strategy. The ecosystem attempts to attract, involve and retain new and existing customers by providing information and content that give them a comprehensive idea about their products and services. Interesting information are making a foray bringing content marketing into the forefront leading marketers to effectively connect with prospects.

Key Finding Digital is in vogue and companies need to realize the fact sooner. They need to design and execute strategies accordingly to remain in the competition.

Content marketing is the rising star Brands are emerging as publishers in their own right as they are trying to establish their authority by laying strong foundation in content marketing by generating unique content ideas and creating engaging content as content marketing continues to be in the limelight. It is being observed that marketing budgets are being reallocated to content marketing; a recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute finds that 45% of B2C marketers have a dedicated content marketing team and a further 69% are producing more content than they were a year ago.

Key Finding Content marketing is here to stay as traditional marketing is gradually taking a backseat. Focus should be on the creation and distribution of effective and impactful content to design a strategic marketing approach to attract, retain and ultimately drive profitable consumer behaviour.

Continuum Marketing 2015 will see more value based marketing with the spotlight on consumer discernment and social listening which have a greater impact on content creation. Standalone campaigns are replaced with a ‘continuum experience’ with marketers communicating compact messages that engage across the entirety of the buyer to advocate life cycle. According to the recent report released by the Economist and Business Intelligence Unit, strategy and planning are dominant areas marketers are concerned about and are at it constantly. While some marketers seem to be confident about their strategies, majority admitted shortfalls in the execution and management of their strategies.

Key Finding Project management skills, data science and high level strategy have to be combined skilfully for successful marketing.

Insights are indispensable for marketing Discerning what customers really want can be left to Google Webmaster tools, trend search, keyword research and social media tools. This impacts both content writing as well as product development as this involves data driven decision-making. Discovery oriented content development and distribution will be replaced by SEO driven to context aware content. Emphasis is on hyper relevance as marketing is more personalised now and in order to do so proper insights are indispensable.

Key Finding SEO, social media tools and reporting technologies will see more investment to gain maximum ROI from digital marketing initiatives.

Striking right emotional chord with storytelling Your brand must have a story to tell as storytelling has become one of the key ingredients along with category specific values and the channels used will be the differentiating factor. But stories must reflect authenticity as well as creativity and harp on real brand values. According to a study by HBR, 64% consumers who said they have a brand relationship cited shared values as the primary reason.

Key Finding  Shared values attract customer loyalty to a large extent.

Emotional digital conversation is in Value based narrative journeys taking the lead shifts the focus on content creation acting as the starting point of emotional multi-way digital conversations like Facebook which serves a great platform for these conversations to take place. The perception of the brand and this online communication will be one of the key measurements of digital success as well as online influenced measured by Klout.

Key Finding Cat videos, pictures of puppies and quotes are not going to make a mark in 2015.

Investment in SEO will continue SEO will always keep you in toes as it is a continuous process and you have to constantly work at it to keep up with your competitors. The time has come to invest more in organic SEO as Google's ever changing algorithms and more recently social signals are impacting search results like never before. You have to constantly tailor your content marketing strategy and SEO plans as Google is constantly assessing your website and this leads to the fact that you need a good investment in these areas. Google's huge algorithm changes and penalties for bad SEO practices last year saw SEO rank #5th on LinkedIn's 25 hottest skills in 2014 and this trend seems to be continued in 2015 as well.

Key Finding  SEO will remain a core requirement and you need to give a good thought to your SEO, if you take your business seriously because it is proven, cost effective and approximately 89% of consumers use search for purchase decisions.

Marketers should write authentic brand stories 2015 is going to be the year marketers aim to create content that is creative and compelling which can make deep connections with the customers. Marketers need powerful stories focusing on empathy and customer experience, relevant and inspiring that customers will love to read. The Content Marketing Institute found that key content marketing initiative for 2015 is website content that converts and creates higher quality engaging content that connects your customers to your brand. Furthermore, key to search ranking success will be high quality detailed, well-researched articles, blog posts, interviews and reviews. The line between blog posts and articles continues to blur as data from Google shows that search engines prefer longer content with top ranking pages containing over 2,000 words. Sharing on social networks is also greater for content containing over 1,000 words that will see the creation of more substantial content this year.

Key Finding  Businesses need to take their content strategy seriously as content marketing is seen as the most commercially important digital marketing trend for 2015.

Social Media If you go through the research from Hubspot you will find that 92% of marketers state social media is important as part of their overall marketing strategy, with 80% stating their increased efforts increased website referral traffic. While 97% of marketers are using social media, 85% are unsure of what tools to employ increasing the importance of social media marketing as it enhances the value of business. Businesses are keen to invest in social media as they are finding social media as a research tool, collecting and analysing data to make more informed marketing. According to the Salesforce "State of Marketing 2015" report 70% of 5,000 marketers polled stated they would be increasing their social media marketing, with 66% stating social media was integral to their business with dedicated social media teams in place. Additionally the always on culture of social media means that for brands to deliver real time marketing they will have to remain upbeat 24/7 not 9-5. A fine balance of social media and SEO strategies are need of the hour as Google is relying more on social media signals for search engine rankings with organic marketing on the rise.

Key Finding  If you want your social media marketing will deliver more conversations, more customers, more website traffic and more sales, then go for the right strategies and the best talents.

User experience counts According to Statista, mobile phone internet user penetration worldwide will reach 52.4% in 2015; therefore websites need to be optimised for the mobile. Mobile consumers harbour high expectations around user experience and viewing your website properly on mobile and 61% of them leave and move on to another site. Furthermore, 74% of consumers said they are more likely to return to a website that is mobile friendly, so if your website is not mobile friendly, chances are you can lose out on sales. Mobile users also spend more money, so optimise your website for the mobile at the earliest making it your top priority for 2015.

Key Finding  Consumers leave websites that are not mobile friendly and this has a negative impact on the brand which in turn on revenues.

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