The world of digital marketing is in a constant state of flux, so what will this next year bring for those of us in the industry?
2014 is drawing to a close, so naturally everyone is looking ahead to 2015. As our chief marketing officer (CMO) at Marketo frequently reminds us, "Marketing has changed more in the past five years than the past 500." What monumental changes can we expect next year? What new skills will we need to learn to keep up? Will we become outdated and obsolete? If you work in online marketing, then you have never known a world without big changes from year to year. Next year will be no different.
So gather 'round online marketers and I’ll tell you tales of the future to be. It’s time to gaze into the quarters to come and prepare for the changes that will define the year. Here are some of my predictions for all of those marketers tasked with those various activities that fall under that giant umbrella called "online marketing." Or "digital marketing." Or "search marketing." Or whatever…
1. SEO Will Not Die. Neither Will the Rumor That It Already Has.
SEO, like every form of online marketing, is in a constant state of evolution. It doesn’t die. It’ll never die, it’ll just change. This means you should not let you SEO strategy die, either. Keep pushing forward, keep evolving your approach, and keep maintaining your best practices and you’ll always have the advantage. If you don’t have an SEO strategy…better late than never?
2. Companies Will Get Social or Get Left Behind.
The argument that "social media isn’t right for my business" is just plain incorrect. Having a social media presence is increasingly important in relation to SEO and is, arguably, as important an online marketing channel as SEO itself. If your audience isn’t using social media now, then you’re in a great position. Build a presence now and you’ll be an expert by the time they do join in. Resistance is futile.
3. Mobile Will Continue to Be "the Next Big Thing."
Mobile has been the future for a few years now and I don’t think it’s fully materialized yet. For some industries, marketing targeted specifically to mobile users is already paying off. For most it’s still a work in progress and standard online ads are just carried over onto the mobile experience. As more and more time is spent on mobile devices over laptops and desktops, though, Web pages, content, creative, and ad delivery must become mobile-specific and not just mobile-friendly.
4. People Will Expect More Personalized Ads Without Advertisers Collecting the Data to Make It Possible.
The ultimate catch-22. As evil marketers we’re constantly collecting data to push our way into people’s private lives and exploit their weakness for lattes and power tools. Why did the NSA have to ruin the game for us all! OK, we all know this isn’t true, but it’s not far from some perceptions out there. Highly relevant and targeted ads are the most useful and least annoying to a potential buyer, but they can’t come from a vacuum of information. Personalization is the future and you should be using it now as much as possible. Just don’t be creepy and respect your potential customer’s information.
That’s all I’ve got for now. These areas are just the tip of the iceberg for challenges and opportunities facing online marketers next year, but they are at the top of my mind. Good luck in 2015!