Marketing – digital or otherwise – is an industry that is constantly changing. Almost as volatile as the stock market, those in the industry must not keep up with the trends – we must anticipate them or even instigate them, if we’re just that good. 2014 has yielded just as many twists and turns as we thought it would in the marketing world. With the rise of the generation Y, the Millennials, and the global connection that is the Internet, social media marketing has never been so relevant or powerful.
Two of the ever growing aspects of the digital marketing world are a) how much more image based content is generating interaction and results and b) a distinct shift from globalization to rationalization. Social media platforms like Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram have sprung to the forefront of social media marketing. Facebook remains a clear leader with 90% of marketers regularly using Facebook Ads, but with the up and coming generation of people who far prefer fewer than 140 characters and care a great deal about how many likes or shares their selfies get, we are seeing a shift toward image heavy posts with succinct messages to gain engagement from an audience. We are also seeing a shift toward individualization or localization of marketing. As Avi Dan said in his Forbes article, “Personalization is not a trend. It is a marketing tsunami, here to stay, which will transform how we think about and how we manage global brands.” So how do we carry these upward rising trends into 2015? What’s next on the digital and social media marketing horizons? Versa Creative Group predicts a grand shift toward near complete brand transparency. Everyone has information literally at their fingertips these days from Wikipedia to WebMD or any of the thousands of other sources for news or information on the internet. With this immediate access to things other people may not know, companies must craft their brands with this in mind. Along with crafting a specific personality for a brand, people want to feel listened to and like they are receiving inside information from a real person – even if that information is coming from a seemingly faceless brand in the form of a Facebook message.
The compelling issue with moving into 2015 is that, though image based content produces consistent results for companies, 58% of marketers still believe that written, original content is king. This is due to the shift toward personalization. Blogs, YouTube channels, and selfie heavy Instagram feeds retain a loyal fan base that is always active because the audience feels like they are interacting with that person and building a relationship. The all consuming quest for 2015 won’t be “How many likes can we get”; it will be “How many people are interacting with my content regularly”.
Other upward trends of 2014 include a rise in “trendjacking” or utilizing popular hashtags or events to advertise your brand or company. Oh, and speaking of hashtags – #hashtags will be #everywhere in #2015 (as if they aren’t already). Google Plus and Myspace are said to be poised for a “comeback” of sorts, though evidence for this remains slim, while LinkedIn has taken off as the premier platform for business to business marketing.
The biggest things to consider for 2015, however, are three things: the importance of catering marketing materials to mobile users, video marketing with both YouTube and Instagram, and an increase in marketing contests utilizing services like Offerpop with whom Versa has had the pleasure of working several times already! Audience engagement and interaction becomes the goal of 2015 with the individual maintaining more power and influence than they ever have.