Digital OutlookWe were at Econsultancy’s Digital Outlook 2015 this week to hear from some of the leading digital marketers about their predictions for the next year. Here’s what we learnt:

“Understanding how customers use mobile is important” – Meri Rosich of App Strategy Labs

meri rosich

Understanding customer behaviour is key before planning a mobile marketing strategy. As of October 2014, there are more mobile devices than people in the world. But more than half the human population still has no access to phones. Your mobile marketing strategy should depend on who your customers are and what they like. When considering a mobile app, ask whether it makes sense for your audience. Trends like big data, personalization, “sensors and wearables” will encourage marketers to adopt more mobile-optimized campaigns while using metrics aligned to organizational goals. This does not only mean mobile-responsive websites. These campaigns should have mobile friendly content.

“In China, eCommerce is a lifestyle” – David Lee of Electrolux

david leeeCommerce in China will grow rapidly and be an integral part of the lifestyle, with popular days like Singles Day seeing large volumes of shopping. Extensive A/B testing is being conducted for ‘pre-warming’ websites before these special days. There has also been a shift towards long-form content. 30 minute micro dramas outperform the 30-second spots in China. The Internet of Everything is the game-changer that will take the eCommerce industry by storm.

“Don’t build your house on rented land” – Anol Bhattacharya of GetIT Comms

Anol Bhattacharya Content marketers need to find the sweet spot between what customers want to hear and what the brand wants to say. Owning content on a website or blog and using social media channels only for syndication – a hub and spoke model – will be ideal for content distribution. Spending all your resources publishing original content on social networks can backfire, especially when the network’s rules change. Build an audience for owned content. Be patient and think long term – beyond the quarterly metrics. Content can also help bridge the gap between sales and marketing.

“Brands entering China should not simply follow tried and tested approaches” – Kestrel Lee of George P. Johnson Greater China

kestrel leeForeign brands entering China should take risks and go to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. These regions house millennials – the impulse buyers – who will form 51% of the middle class. Local brands have tasted success in using emotion in their ads to seduce this market. Western brands will have to follow suit. With a growing social media scene, a number of messaging apps are on the rise. WeChat, the most common of these, offers much more than just messaging. It’s a Social CRM platform. B2B is essentially becoming B2C2B in China as businesses tap these innovating social channels in an online to offline social commerce.

“Content that appeals to the emotions, human connections, and needs of the user is bound to yield results” – Pramod Pratap of Infosys

pramod pratapThe power of emotion is still the most important factor in influencing buying decisions. For instance, the short films from AirBnB and Google, which related the brand to the audience’s needs through emotional stories, struck a chord in the media. As social media becomes more cluttered with noise, brands (like Ello) will move into niche-markets. These niche-markets compensate for their small size with more engagement and commitment. They can be used to establish trust and meaningful conversations with passionate followers. With more brands like Uber finding success through mobile apps, there will be a shift towards mobile-only strategies.

“Your organizational structure means nothing to your customers” – Margaret Manning of Reading Room

Margaret ManningAddressing customers’ needs all along the buying cycle is more important than ever. The next year will see a rise of contextual experiences enabled by geo-location apps, creating new opportunities for businesses to provide value to their customers. With customers’ needs changing rapidly, ‘agile businesses’ that respond quickly to the changes will succeed. Landing pages with buttons asking for users to register first don’t work. Building trust with prospects through non-gated content will be more meaningful in the long run.

“Social Media is just a channel for your Content. It means nothing. It’s like a Starbucks store that doesn’t serve coffee” – Vaasu S. Gavarasana of AXA

Vaasu Gavarasana Content marketing enables businesses to be where their customers are. It helps provide meaningful information to people where they search. Avoiding repetitive monologues, brands should position themselves as publishers who create a dialogue through sharing and engagement. Content creators should aim to be journalists with a brand philosophy to attract a following, instead of copywriters seeking awards with ‘funny punch lines’. Social Media Marketing is essentially Content marketing on social media channels. If your content marketing strategy is not sound, no social media platform can save your content.

It was an exciting day full of insightful conversations. Has your marketing team considered these trends? Do you have any predictions of your own? Now is the time to shout out! Do let us know in the comments below.

 

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