Marketing ideas for 2015: gaze into our crystal ball

Posted by Daryn Smith on 13 November 2014 | Comments

       

It’s that time of year again: when Christmas songs start playing in supermarkets, children send endless wish lists off to the North Pole and marketers spend their afternoons gazing into their crystal balls in an effort to come up with fresh marketing ideas for the New Year.

Now, we know that coming up with innovative marketing ideas can be a tall order. To put you on the right track, we’ve decided to share our top marketing predictions for 2015 with you. Once you know (more or less) which direction things are going to be taking next year, you’re already in a better position to come up with earth-shattering marketing ideas.

So, without further ado, here are a couple of our top predictions for 2015:

1. Paid amplification will replace much of traditional advertising.

Content marketing has been around for a while now and a multitude of brands are implementing content marketing strategies. While some brands are getting it right and creating content of an exceptionally high quality, others are churning out badly crafted drivel. Either way, there’s now a lot of content competing for consumers’ attention.

At the same time, publishers have been seeing massive declines in advertising revenues, because consumers have become experts at blocking out ads. The realisation that brands need to catch consumers’ attention with content – not ads – has led to a rise in something called ‘paid amplification’. Paid amplification is the practice of paying a website or portal to ‘boost’ your content by displaying it more prominently as a ‘sponsored story’ or ‘recommended read’. Not only does paid amplification help brands’ content to stand out, it has also created a new revenue model for websites, social media networks and online publishers.

2. Behold the rise of the chief digital officer.

Marketing strategies have become increasingly digital. As a result, marketers are often the biggest ‘customers’ of internal IT departments and technology skills are becoming increasingly valuable in the marketing industry. Backwards-thinking IT departments often find reasons why digital marketing solutions cannot be implemented. However, as the move to digital becomes more pronounced, forward-thinking IT departments are finding innovative ways to accommodate new digital marketing ideas. As this trend develops, we think we’re going to be seeing a lot more ‘chief digital officers’. Chief digital officers aren’t just IT people or marketing people – they’re a combination of both. Because they bridge the gap between IT and marketing, chief digital officers will play an important role in the future of digital marketing.

3. Brands will continue to evolve into publishers.

While many brands are already creating content, we expect to see these brands continuing to evolve into publishers that are experts at engaging with their audiences. This is especially easy to see in the travel industry, where some travel agencies have progressed from producing short, product-focused newsletters to publishing full length, top quality glossy magazines for their customers and club members. Those brands that don’t have the patience or skills to develop this kind of content will have the ‘short cut’ option of outsourcing their content needs to niche publishers.

4. The culture of ‘helping, not selling’ will continue to grow.

Sales teams that focus on helping and educating leads instead of trying to bully them into buying products are reaping the rewards of this approach. This approach, of course, forms one of the core precepts of an inbound marketing strategy. Inbound marketing strives to attract and convert leads through the use of helpful, educational content. If your marketing ideas for 2015 take the old ‘hard sell’ approach, potential customers aren’t going to respond well to your efforts.

5. Visual storytelling will become more important.

It’s one of the biggest jokes of our time: the more ‘time saving’ technology people develop, the less time people actually seem to have. Everyone is always busy, and there’s no reason to believe they won’t get even busier in 2015. Written content – even short blogs – take time to read. Because of this, visual storytelling material – infographics, videos, etc. – is set to become even more important. 2015 is the year to brush up on your multimedia skills.

6. Marketing and sales departments will begin to merge.

Traditionally, marketing has embraced the one-to-many communications model. However, marketing messages are becoming increasingly personalised and are starting to resemble the kind of one-to-one communications sales teams usually use. This isn’t the only thing that marketing is borrowing from sales; marketing is also becoming more accountable and moving its focus from intangibles like brand awareness to more concrete goals like revenue generation. We believe that in 2015, marketing and sales departments will continue to merge into something that resembles an integrated revenue generation team.

Furthermore, due to the growing emphasis on measurable marketing tactics, we believe that marketing automation software will soon become ubiquitous in the marketing and sales industries. Marketing strategies that don’t embrace marketing automation technology or utilise marketing analytics will soon be considered outdated and ineffective.

7. Great writers and marketing technologists will be in high demand.

Lastly, because of all of the factors outlined above, we predict that the evolving marketing landscape will result in skilled writers and marketing technologists being in very high demand. In South Africa especially, these professionals are already hard to come by – so make sure that one of your marketing ideas for 2015 includes snatching up skilled people when you get the chance.

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Author: Daryn Smith

Image credits:Project censored

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