There’s no doubt that marketing is a fickle and fast paced industry. That’s why it’s vital that we as communication professionals look to the future to stay at the top of our game. I’m sure you’ll agree that if you can see the wave of popularity that’s coming, then you stand a much better chance of riding that wave like a pro! However, any good historian will tell you that future predictions and trends are much easier to spot once you’ve made sense of the past and present, so let’s give that a shot…

Ghosts of marketing past and what’s jumped in their graves

It doesn’t take a genius to spot that marketing budgets are increasingly skewing away from mass market advertising in favour of digital marketing channels. What takes a bit more thinking about is why this trend is happening…

When you look at the R.O.I. that smart digital marketing can provide, it becomes a lot clearer as to why brands are increasingly focusing in this area. Digital marketing campaigns give marketers the ability to select and communicate with a highly targeted consumer base. This means that considerably less budget is wasted on hitting eyes that aren’t interested in what your brand has to say. The other massive plus point of running digital campaigns is that you have the power to gain insights into what’s working, then tweak and optimise them in real time. Again this means far less wasted budget!

Tracking the exact R.O.I. from mass market channels can be tricky. For example, you might be able to calculate a rough sales uplift if you are running just the one T.V. advert or radio promotion with no other activities at the same time, but if you have several concurrent campaigns, then attributing the uplift to a specific campaign can be pretty tough. With digital however, tracking the exact R.O.I. of your campaign is far simpler. You can see which ads are performing well and turn off those that aren’t. You can also assess which content is resonating well and tweak your content marketing strategy accordingly. The result? You guessed it – highly optimised and cost efficient digital marketing!

A cosmic shift

The ghosts of marketing channels past only allow for one-way communication; for brands to push out messages to the masses without allowing them to respond, or indeed listening to them. However, marketing of the present is distinctly different. Social media marketing has given the consumer a far louder voice and has opened up two-way communication between brand and consumer. This has resulted in a big and I think irreversible switch in consumer expectations and therefore business requirements. People now expect to be able to liaise with brands and get an almost instant response. Gone of the days of writing a letter of complaint, when you consumers can jump onto Twitter and have complaints dealt with in real time! But where will this lead…

Things that might come to pass in marketing future

The chart below shows some smart insights into what 2020 could hold. Social media is predicted to be the most important customer channel that consumers will experience, with mass market channels at the bottom of the list! This indicates that the increase in the trend towards two-way brand and consumer conversations will continue and the ghostly one-way megaphone approach will fade away.

future-3

Source: Smartinsights.com

This continued rise in open, honest two-way marketing communication will no doubt mean an increase in the hiring of content/social marketing employees. So if you haven’t already started to hone your social and digital marketing skills then I suggest it’s well worth it, as it looks as though these skills are going to be an essential part of any marketer’s toolkit for years to come!