Five things to watch this year

Five things to watch this year

My god, time flies doesn’t it! Once again it’s that time when we do some chin scratching about what has gone before and take a look at the year ahead. I like this time of year. The days are getting longer. Spring is not too far away. Above all, you get the chance to focus again. So, what stuff am I watching in the non-stop, always on, occasionally exhausting world of digital marketing?

Responsive web design

Responsive, adaptive … whatever. The point and exciting thing is that we shouldn’t need or want to distinguish between desktop, tablet and mobile anymore. Our users don’t. Changes in our audience’s consumption habits and expectations is driving a fundamental shift in the way we develop websites. Providing a seamless experience across multiple devices should be on this year’s must-do list.

Using paid media to scale owned and earned

Dare I say it, having now figured out how to drive business through owned and earned media, we need to figure out how we can be smart in our use of paid media to help scale those efforts and the stories we are trying to tell. But we are not there yet. Despite the buzz around native advertising formats and the delivery of high quality content in stream it still feels like a fairly blunt instrument. Maybe it’s not the toolset but the way it is used. Regardless of what you think it’s time to be less precious about paid media and work out how we can make it work for brands and our customers.

Shaping up to deliver in the converged media space

We’ve been talking about paid, owned and earned media for a while now. Like a lot of models we digital folk create it provides a useful framework for understanding the world we work in and helps us deliver effective and integrated marketing programmes. Like most models it is there to be challenged. This year has been dubbed the year when everything converged and, whether or not you call it converged media, the dynamics of different types of media are coming together.  All this raises the bar even further in terms of delivering integrated marketing and a joined up customer experience. It’s going to push our traditional marketing structures to breaking point and demand that we get a lot better at working across organizational boundaries. It’s going to push the existing skills shortage further and create even more demand for those people that can be true specialists at being generalist.

Measurement and evaluation

Let’s not underplay the opportunity. Last year saw a renewed interest in attribution analysis and models that derive the true value each channel creates. Then came ‘big data’, the mashing up of multiple datasets to create mega datasets that have the potential to change the future of business, technology and the internet. Add to that the development of always on measurement and the rise of real time listening and marketing platforms – an exciting and insightful year of number crunching lies ahead!

Destination Marketing

The business of selling places. A particular interest of mine and the subject of my future gazing this time last year. If content, mobile, integration and finally putting that campaigns led mentality to one side represented the focus of our efforts last year I think we have largely risen to that challenge. But if we don’t change the Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO) from the inside out they will become obsolete. Defining a clear role that adds vale and sits alongside the commercial and social, especially in more mature markets, defines the biggest challenge. I still believe that becoming a fit for purpose content platform; one that supports the destination brand and facilitates the distribution of destination content across those networks that are important to help achieve specific marketing objectives, is a big part of the answer.

I’m certainly looking forward to the year ahead …