It’s January, and after having read through a plethora of expert predictions on what’s to come in the field of marketing over the next year, I thought I would offer my own “crystal ball” — educated prediction!
1. A Return to Strategy
In the past couple of years, we marketers have been told to pump out content, content, content and do whatever it takes to stay at the top of Google. But as content becomes *understatement* abundant, to the point of absurdity….one has to wonder — where is the quality? I’ve had more than one business acquaintance tell me recently that they hired cheap blogging services, are generating lots of content, but yet are failing badly in generating real results.
The answer is strategy. If a business can clearly carve out where it wants to “hang its hat” in terms of expertise, then the rest of the content becomes a natural extension. This is why I think more companies are going to seek out strategy and quality — so they can bump up their games. Which leads me to my next prediction: market research.
2. Increased Market Research
With the internet making competition more and more global, looking in your own backyard for competitors just isn’t going to cut it anymore. New market research techniques can uncover specific competitors for various keyword phrases, regardless of location. From there, you can sift through the details of these competitors — what is making them succeed? How do they differ from you? You can combine competitive research with social media research to really achieve the answers you need — and you’ll find “quality decisions” made with research will get you vastly better results than “throwing money at marketing” or simply creating aimless reams of content.
3. Personalized Social Media Marketing
When it comes to marketing, there is nothing better than real human contact. We are going to see platforms like Twitter and Google paying attention to one-on-one engagement between social connections. That means you can’t just splat out a tweet that says “Thanks for following. Check me out on Facebook at…” Ugh. Not to mention a crackdown on all those “Follow me and I’ll give you 2000 more followers instantly” only to discover they are all just empty accounts run by robots. Numbers of followers won’t mean as much as quality of followers — and real, quality interactions with those followers!
4. Increased Value in Creative Originality
While social media was meant to be a “sharing” sport, there has been an overabundance of regurgitation, and a real lack of creativity. I’ll tell you, I love following anyone who does illustrations, photography, or who has written books — you then know they have something of their own to offer. And I really like to see it. But even if you’re not a super creative writer or visual person, you can still offer your own comments on what you read — why not give reviews of other people’s work? Ask them why? At any rate, I think we’ll likely see some kind Google “algorithm correction” on quicky blog-spinners, and rewards for real, original content creators who are brave enough to let their thoughts hang out there.
5. Overall Marketing Industry Growth
Good news folks – I really think the industry is growing, and becoming more secure. Why? Because more than ever before, we have data to back us up! Tracking the positions of clients, and being able to measure the results of all marketing down to the hour and day is a revolution. No more disrespect from a CEO saying, “Marketing is a waste of money.” Now clearly, we can show our clients where their money went, what worked, and what didn’t. We can also show them how they are doing versus competitors. And any competitively-minded CEO will say, “stay the course – I want to see us get ahead of THAT guy!” Beautiful!
One other good reason for job security and growth: Marketing is a quite a bit more technical than it used to be. The analytics, the optimization, the ongoing content and optimization of campaigns — you need to know what you’re doing, and you need to persist. For years, we served all kinds of clients who would come running in the door when business was slow — then they’d get busy, and want to back off on the marketing. Today, clients know they have to commit longer term – which is good for all marketers. Kind of gives marketing its rightful seat at the strategy table, where it belongs.
So, Happy New Year to all our colleagues in 2014! Things are looking good — keep those marketing skills sharp, and be ready to reap a great year ahead. We’d also love to hear your thoughts and predictions on the coming year….let us know in the comment box below!