Businesses with an online presence, and, of course, those who advise them, need to keep abreast of trends affecting digital marketing. This is particularly so if if they are to create and implement workable, profitable strategies and identify new opportunities.
Advances in technology directly shape online consumer behavior, prompting marketers to invest in continuing education which can teach new techniques and systems and sharpen digital marketing skills.
Identifying trends and challenges is an important first step for marketers to determine which direction to take in the year ahead.
Marketing trends in 2013
Increased focus on digital marketing
By now, businesses understand that Internet marketing can yield tangible results such as increased sales, profits and leads. A number of studies reveal that in 2013 companies are setting higher budgets for digital marketing.
Digital marketing branches
2012 saw the emergence of mobile marketing and increasing use of video for improving bottom lines. This year, video advertising remains strong and will continue to grow. However, video only forms part of a comprehensive strategy that includes other associated branches of digital marketing such as content marketing, email marketing (including video emails), subtle search engine optimization, social media marketing and paid search.
Tracking and analytic tools
Organizations want to measure the effectiveness of digital marketing strategies and want to go beyond tracking website traffic and measuring customer satisfaction and net promoter scoring. With increased marketing spend, companies as well want to quantify the return on their marketing investment. The focus now is on the use of different types of analytic tools giving digital marketing a more structured approach of strategy, promotion, management and analysis.
Importance of digital systems and skills
The popularity of mobile marketing and video advertising has created a demand for new systems and technical skills to cope with the new technology.
Challenges in digital marketing
While fresh opportunities in digital marketing arise out of new marketing technology and consumer behaviour, challenges related to the emerging trends also exist.
Companies may be setting budgets for digital marketing but they are often insufficient to maintain strategies in an ongoing basis. I see this often when clients ask me to create great website copy, but once their sites are live, they don’t grow the sites with the addition of fresh, unique, regular content.
Furthermore, a recent report The State of Digital Marketing in Australia (the findings of which correlate to other international studies) observes that the digital industry is plagued by a lack of technical skills which can slow down an organization’s marketing strategy.
Another obstacle is the lack of belief and support from senior management who can play a role in increasing budgets for marketing. Leaders in organizations tend to lack understanding of digital marketing and focus on traditional marketing channels. All too often they believe that the simple presence of a website is all that is required for them to meet any commitment to online marketing.
Measuring results and attributing them to specific marketing strategies can help improve the senior management culture and outlook.