Looking Ahead in the Digital RealmWritten by Ayesha Mathews-Wadhwa / Featured in: Column / 04.02.2013.
On the whole, digital has come so far, hasn’t it? We can book a flight from our smartphones, connect with brands while we browse Facebook statuses, bring anything to life on a screen, and we can stream—or beam—just about anywhere. As the media world evolves, how will digital marketing, advertising, skills, and technologies develop?
Let’s take a look at some changes we can expect to progress in the next year and onward.
Deconstructing mobile users.
It used to be that mobile users were lumped together in one neat little customer niche, but marketers are seeing that people use different devices for different purposes. Specifically, they tend to use tablets for research and entertainment, and use smartphones to accomplish tasks. For example, a person may browse travel destinations on their tablet but make a hotel reservation on their smartphone. (Still, some people have security concerns when booking or making purchases via mobile devices, which is another segment of consumers that marketers must appeal to.)
This year, an increasing number of companies will leverage analytics to better understand their mobile customers. Once companies can see exactly what consumers are doing on mobile devices, they can get a better idea of how to customize their digital marketing approach.
(Speaking of mobile, expect apps to advance—especially in the health and wellness industry—and more appscriptions to emerge.)
Users will share—and overshare—on their big screens.
As more people use tablets and television at the same time, technology will enable them to slide information from the mobile device to their televisions for everyone in the room to see. As such, marketers will have to find ways to promote the ability to share content this way—because yes, everyone is in the sharing mood.
Wasn’t 2012 supposed to be the year of content marketing? In many ways, it was; but now that users can share content—and are doing so rampantly—it is even more important to originate compelling material. The fact that people share content lets brands reach a wider audience, and companies will be depending on these users to promote their content.
Expect companies to invest even more in content production, some of them even going as far to devote positions in the company solely to develop engaging content. Additionally, brands are looking to target share-savvy consumers, and they want to turn Web visitors into Web customers by producing captivating content.
Visuals matter more than ever.
In today’s world of sparse attention spans, people may not even make the time to read content—so visual appeal matters. Make digital graphics alluring and you win; and if they stink, a user will click away from your site faster than you can list your favorite Pantone shades. Sure, we all want to use digital tools that are functional and load quickly, but we also want them to look good—in fact, more people demand it.
“Mom marketing” will take off.
When it comes to digital sales and advertising, marketers realize that women—specifically, moms—mean business. Women drive more than 80% of all purchasing decisions. Out of that segment, though, there are different types of moms, and marketers are taking notice. Interest in the “Boomer mom” is sure to increase because this breed of consumer has the time, yearning and finances to impact others and be choosey with her purchases. She’s also caught on to technology and knows how to use it…no grannies here. Marketers will need to tailor their digital campaigns to this savvy, ready-to-spend-and-share mom.
Top talent will be a must.
Exactly who are the people pushing all these digital advancements? Organizations are devoting some hefty resources to digital professionals, and some say the battle for this talent is an all-out war.
According to a Forrester report, 60% of marketers surveyed had fewer than 10 people dedicated to digital at the end of 2009, while only 17% had teams this small in 2012. A total of 20% of companies had more than 100 digital staffers, while 45% had more than 25. In short, the need for digital professionals is growing.
Most companies now have roles created for digital, and securing top digital talent can be difficult because technology giants like Google have appealed to them so well—and won.
The digital world is sure to evolve as our ideas advance and technology emerges. Where do you think the digital arena is headed?