There is no question we have moved into a new era of marketing. Online marketing is here to stay but is constantly changing. There is no question that online is coming of age and is advancing at a rapid rate. Online marketing provides value and generates results for many organizations, and public sector and non-profit marketers that have focused more on traditional marketing techniques should not dismiss it.
Data is becoming increasingly important and this data is being used to improve the experience for individual visitors to websites. Also sites are tailoring content to users based on a variety of factors, which could include the device the visitor is using and the time of day they land on the site, all of which will provide a more personalized experience.
Mobile has seen huge growth area in recent years, and it will continue to grow over the coming years. Many people have smartphones now, and although many organizations have simply focused on launching a responsive website, mobile optimized content will become a lot more important from now on. As people increasingly use mobiles to access information and view content, creating content specific for mobile users to provide them with great experiences will become a key area of online marketing.
In addition, Google has made it clear that search results are now affected by how mobile friendly a site is. Mobile usability is a ranking factor that cannot be ignored, and organizations will need to focus on their mobile search strategies.
In future we will see a lot more funds allocated to content marketing as it becomes increasingly clear how important a role this plays for online marketing. It is getting harder to stand out due to the sheer amount of content available, so the focus will increasingly be on higher quality content, including mobile content.
Although blogs will continue to be important, in future, there will be much more focus on user-centric content that interests and entertains visitors, as well as providing valuable content that answers the needs of users.
One area that will grow is Native advertising particularly as it relates to content marketing. It is anticipated that many organizations will continue to be much more sophisticated at producing editorial-style content, and form better relationships with publishers to place sponsored content alongside primary content. Avoiding overly promotional content and instead providing content that increases engagement will be the biggest challenge.
Social media provides exposure and traffic, and it has long been seen as an important tool for internet marketers. Although social media is an effective way to create engagement and grow brand awareness, a focused promotion campaign on social platforms like Twitter and Facebook will be more important for organizations to tap into the traffic.
Email marketing has been around for many years, and will continue to do so because it works. Another reason why public sector and non-profit organizations love email marketing is because it provides them with complete control over how they communicate with their various audiences. As we have seen in the past few years social media and the search engines are constantly changing the rules, but email remains in full control of the marketers. However, Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) which came into effect July 1, 2014 will certainly have an impact on e-marketing.
Different forms of online marketing are becoming blurred, and this demonstrates how online marketing is evolving. For example, content marketing, SEO, and social media marketing are all becoming more connected. Content marketing is becoming the main influencer when it comes to SEO, and social media will become even more important as a way of distributing content.
It’s difficult to pinpoint the one trend or technology that has had the most impact in the past couple of years. Mobile computing, cloud computing, these technologies, which include social communities like Facebook, social publishing platforms like Twitter, and digital sharing platforms like YouTube, have transformed consumer relationships. These relationships continue to evolve as new interactive technologies become available and consumer preferences change.
Most marketers in the public and non profit sectors are already using social media but not all of them are doing so effectively. In many cases this is because they don’t have a defined social media strategy in place. However, with more and more engagement happening on social networks and publishing platforms, organizations are starting to look more closely at how social media is being used and to incorporate it into their overall marketing strategies.
When organizations analyze the click-throughs and likes that their social content generates, there is one trend that never fails to stand out—images and videos are shared much more often than any other type of content. With the cost of video production declining and the ease with which images and videos can be distributed across the Internet increasing, the use of these visual media is rising rapidly.
Social media generates an unprecedented amount of behavioural data, but until recently organizations did not have reliable ways of extracting knowledge out of the data. With the rise of social media marketing analytics tools, organizations can now mine social data for valuable insights into customer behaviour that they can use to power their decision making.
When brands first started using social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, they often used those platforms the same way they used television advertising: as a way to broadcast their brand message. As a result, many brands saw their followers flee in droves. The lesson was that when people use social networks, they want to see information that is interesting and valuable to them, not just advertisements. For example, brands in the commercial sector that responded by better addressing their customers wants and needs saw their followers return.
The next phase in this evolution is for brands to engage consumers on a more individual level. This trend is being driven both by analytics, which allow brands to get better insight into particular customers, and social media marketing tools that enable personalization.
As another way to respond to consumers’ needs, organizations are using social media more for conversations rather than for brand messaging. This strategy can pay off considerably by turning your audiences into brand promoters.
Social media is one of the most influential channels organizations are using today to reach and engage their customer base.
I will continue to keep readers of my blog up to date on changes in online marketing and social media. I also plan some blogs on innovations in digital marketing.
It is important for today’s marketer and communicator to be up to date with the latest trends in marketing. The best way to do that is by registering for MARCOM 2015
MARCOM offers 3 inspiring Keynotes, 5 pre-forum, intensive Full-Day Workshops; 7 Mini-Workshops, 9 Concurrent sessions, Vendor Learning Sessions, Ask the Expert Peer-2-Peer Roundtables, a Solutions Forum of expert suppliers, a Networking Reception and one of the best investments you’ve made this year.
For more information on MARCOM 2015 program go to https://marcom.ca/program/
The Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing (CEPSM) is devoted to the advancement of strategic marketing in governments, non-profits and associations. Through consulting, training and speaking, we help organizations achieve their marketing and communications goals more efficiently and effectively.