Online Marketing Trends in 2015

Online marketing, or digital marketing, has grown rapidly in recent years.  Two things are clear: online marketing is here to stay, and its growth is only set to accelerate in the future. The following are four of the trends expected to show themselves in 2015.

  1. Content marketing will become increasingly important
    Content marketing was one of the stars of 2014, and 2015 is set to continue and accelerate that trend. According to recent reports, more than half of business-to-business marketers are significantly increasing their budgets for content marketing in 2015. In addition, the type of content will shift toward long-form content, such as white papers, long blog posts and in-depth articles. Content marketing is becoming a vehicle not only for companies to market themselves but also to establish themselves as thought leaders in their niche or industry while also generating a loyal community or readership.

    At the same time, there will still be a significant market for short-form content, which will primarily be utilized on social media platforms as a way to generate viral content.

  2. Social media marketing will increasingly focus on mobile marketing
    There are now more than 1 billion smartphone users worldwide. These users represent the most important segment of the Internet economy, as they are the ones who use the Internet the most, are the most engaged, and are most willing to post and share content – thereby contributing to content going viral. As a result, online marketing will continue to focus on content that is optimized for the mobile format, which includes short-form content marketing, as well as social media advertising that is focused on the mobile platforms.
  3. Email marketing will evolve
    Email is one of the oldest technologies of the Internet and is sometimes overlooked by marketing agencies and departments that might prefer to utilize flashier and more cutting-edge digital marketing strategies. Nevertheless, email remains one of the most important marketing tools available, and 2015 promises to be another big year for email marketing.

    That being said, email marketing will also see a significant increase in the number and quality of tools available for marketing campaigns. One of the most significant trends is an increase in email analytics data, which helps marketers determine how often emails are opened and how often the links within those emails are clicked. The ability to determine which emails are most effective can then be used to create more effective email campaigns.

    Email is also increasingly being used as a gateway to social media channels. In the past, email was largely considered its own section of an overall marketing strategy. However, the goal of email marketing campaigns is increasingly to drive traffic to social media platforms, where that traffic can be presented with a company’s social media marketing campaign.

  4. Digital marketing budgets will increase
    Perhaps the most fundamental trend in digital marketing is the fact that the industry is growing rapidly. With the number of Internet users increasing and knowledge about how to monetize that traffic increasing at the same time, it makes sense that budgets directed toward these efforts would grow as well.

    According to recent reports, about 80 percent of companies are expected to increase their digital marketing budgets in 2015, with the vast majority of those companies expecting to increase their budgets between 5 and 15 percent.

    At the same time, the number of workers in the digital marketing industry is expanding as well, with digital/social, content creation, data/analytics and mobile strategy among the skills most highly valued by marketing agencies hiring new employees.

Sources

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Marketing Budgets: A Roadmap to Revenue

Research has shown that a majority of companies have increased budgets, with only roughly 9% experiencing a decreasing budget. With your budget laid out before you, you’ll have a roadmap of where your growing company is headed and how much luggage you can need for the next year.

It is essential that you create a plan to accompany your marketing budget in order to know exactly when and how to execute your specific strategies. List the tactics, costs and the results that the plan is expected to yield. Make sure to account for administrative costs, such as postage and subscriptions.

Just like when you drive a car cross-country, you have to think about the long haul. Determine how many miles you have to drive, so to speak, before you need to switch lanes or take an off-ramp. Otherwise, there’s a chance you might be lulled into a false sense of security while coasting and miss your turn. In the business world, this can have devastating long-term consequences.

Creating a Sound Plan

The first thing you need to know about creating a sound marketing plan is that they take time to prepare, which is why it’s good to get started on them early. Specifically, you’ll want your plan to include:

  • A set of dates to examine the progress you’ve made
  • A list of financial goals
  • A brand strategy
  • A revenue generation strategy
  • A positioning plan
  • A general overview of your products and/or services

Including employees in the planning process so that they can help you generate new ideas and goals. They should know which goals they need to set for themselves so that they can start making plans of their own. When everyone is on the same page, you and your company stand a better chance of success.

Central Concepts of Your Budget

Creating marketing budgets involves setting annual objectives, which include both strategic and quantitative goals. To simplify the process, I like to split the budget between brand awareness, lead generation, partner marketing, and administrative activities.

At the beginning stages of drawing up your budget, it’s good to revisit your brand strategy, product roadmap, pricing strategy and distribution channels. How does your current position in your industry influence your overall budget? What is it that sets you apart from all other companies in the marketplace, and how do you plan on conveying that to your target audience?

Take a long and honest look at your line of products and services and ask yourself if you’ll need to devote space on your budget to make your products or services stronger. Will you need to hire more marketing support, sales representatives, or specialists to help you move your products or services?

Your next step should be to map out your top three marketing campaigns. Even if you have several campaigns, it’s best to focus on your top three. Always set aside a testing budget for new tactics, new products, and unforeseen competitive situations.   Once you’re done with your marketing budget and your written plan, regularly revisit your plan throughout the year to make sure you’re on track.

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