The first of no doubt many reports on the predicted digital trends for 2015 is out. Econsultancy, in collaboration with Adobe have produced their Quarterly Digital briefing report as a result of interviewing over 6300 people, both client and agency side.
The findings make interesting reading, and we at Jellybean thought we’d bring you the top line take outs of what is predicted to be key areas of focus for the coming months.
The stand out area in most of the surveys taken was CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.
This was seen as the most exciting opportunity in 2015 by the majority, with 22% of the vote. Using digital tools across a multi-channel space, delivering an impeccable customer experience was seen as being a focus both by suppliers / agencies and clients.
Customer experience, and its successful implementation can take many forms in digital marketing. In a simple, almost literal sense it can take the form of ‘customer service’ which can be radically improved with the advent of enterprise level social media tools which can take customer service into the social sphere. Equally it can take the form of providing digital support channels such as ticketing, live chat and forums. But equally good UX design and good usability studies are paramount to ensure that your websites are providing a good user experience in the first instance and that visitors are finding the information they require quickly and, potentially, not needing to reach out to get questions answered.
Next in line is CONTENT MARKETING.
With 15% of the vote, and still very much in the ascendancy, content marketing is seen as the second most critical area of interest. A dedication to continually developing useful material and disseminating across the various digital channels is holding its place in the top two spots from 2014.
In third place, we find ourselves coming across that big buzz word from 2014 again. DATA. Only this time it’s not BIG DATA, it’s DATA DRIVEN MARKETING.
With such a vast amount of marketing intelligence available to us via analytics, reporting, social and the like, DATA DRIVEN MARKETING marks a focus on taking this intelligence and making sure that it informs all areas of the marketing, ensuring that key learnings are acted upon and that communication is tailored wherever possible to the needs and tastes of the recipient. This is seen as being a marked step away from the tendency among some to take a ‘fire hose’ approach to their digital marketing. A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach where we send the same message to all recipients. Data driven marketing makes us accept that we would no more likely speak to all of our customers the same way in person than we would market to them the same way. We accept they are all unique people, run unique businesses, buy differently from us and have different pressures on them depending on their business objectives – thus we market to them differently if we want to maximise the efficiency of that marketing. Data gives us those insights and the truly successful marketer interprets that data into actionable results.
In other key areas, STRATEGY AND CULTURE are both defined as areas that need attention, in so much as it is crucial that a business’ culture is dedicated, educated and committed to digital in order for the benefits to really shine through. Often it can be a seismic shift within more traditional businesses to get buy in from all departments into a digital way of thinking, and to harness all departments to become involved, but without this holistic approach you will only ever reap some of the benefits and not all.
The importance of technology, data and skills should not be under-estimated, but the right direction from the top of the business and a conducive business environment are fundamental to success.
A well thought-out approach is becoming even more important in a world where mobile devices and even wearable technology mean that the digital and physical worlds are no longer separate. Another highlight of the report is the emergence of targeting and personalisation (30%) as the highest digital-related priority area, narrowly ahead of content optimisation (29%) which has also climbed up the pecking order. The technology has long been available for marketers to target optimised content at website prospects and customers across the right mix of channels in a way which is timely and highly relevant to their implicit and explicit needs.
In the context of the innovation adoption curve, 2014 was the year when the early majority of marketers joined the early adopters in embracing areas such as personalisation and content optimisation. This year may well be the year when the vast majority start to prioritise these areas as well.