Business development · 29 January 2016

What can your micro business learn from recent developments in the digital marketing landscape?

digital marketing landscape
Responsively designed emails have thrived in the last 12 months

The fundamentals behind marketing are always going to remain the same. However, new technologies and software are developed every year that improve it for the better. The first instalment of this two-part series recaps the key changes that transformed the digital marketing landscape in 2015.

The latest trends are important because they update marketers with the latest tricks that they can employ through online tools.

Smart marketers will research and get ahead with the trends, ensuring that their marketing plan is current, up to date and on board with all the latest advancements that software has to offer. Otherwise they will fall behind and will be left with basic developments only, lacking in the exciting cutting edge of current advancements.

In terms of search engine optimisation (SEO), many things changed for the better. Google published ‘”rater guidelines” which meant that we were able to take a look at the tech giant’s decision making processes, giving us an insight into what search engines want to see from a site. Another huge trend was the increase in direct engagement with Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). Google’s results pages became a “transactional and direct engagement space”, according to Econsultancy. This meant that people were beginning to click on results to do something rather then click on results to get somewhere.

Social media also had a huge year in 2015. According to Pew Research Center, 65 per cent of adults now use social networking sites.  Within the realms of marketing this meant that 2015 became a mammoth year for the rise of social media. This was exemplified in developments such as Snapchat becoming a marketing tool for reaching youth audiences, where previously it had simply been a platform for sending novelty images.

Video became more favourable compared to text-based updates and this influenced the use of social media as a marketing tool. Easy-to-create videos started being used on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram for adverts and promotions, resulting in video content now becoming the preferred medium for many brands. Relating back to social media as a whole, Social Media Examiner has suggested that mobile access to the internet has quadrupled over the past four years. This suggests that marketers will now look to social media as one of the main platforms on which to market brands. B2B marketers have now also started to use social media, with LinkedIn ranking at the top in being the most effect B2B marketing tool for social engagement.

Content marketing is another technique that stormed to the forefront in 2015. An increasing number of individuals are now considered to be online influencers and this has lead to a rise in those following professionals such as “vloggers” and “Instagrammers”. This growing avenue allows brands to reach out to a larger audience through promotional partnerships. Content distribution was also a real focus in 2015, as brands identified the need for strategically pushing out the right content, to the right people, in the right places.

Finally, email marketing was full of hot trends in 2015.  Email remains one of the most important techniques for marketing, again there were many tools that excited marketers throughout 2015. Email triggered campaigns have “become a standard this year”, argued Missguided marketing manager Hannah Price. Personalisation has also become an important email trend. ‘By automating based upon a consumers action/inaction and providing personalised content, you can deliver a 1:1 marketing message that is unique to that particular consumer’ stated Kath Pay, CEO of Holistic Email Marketing and tutor of Econsultancy’s Email Marketing Training Course.

Finally, mobile became increasingly popular as a platform for consumers. This is why, in 2015, responsively designed emails were another trend that thrived, as let’s face it, most people check their emails via a mobile or tablet device.

Stay tuned for the second part of our overview of the rapidly changing marketing landscape, which will be published on 5 February.

In the meantime, if you’re on the look out for more marketing inspiration, check out this guide to getting celebrity endorsements for your brand.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Becky Campbell is the founder and managing director of digital marketing agency Reflect Digital – which she set up from her flat aged just 24. Four years later, the agency now delivers market-leading solutions and campaigns covering everything from web design to e-commerce, to a range of clients such as Premier League football clubs.

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