As part of a campaign looking at the workplace of the future, experienced marketing professional, Claire Curzon, shares her vision for the future of digital marketing for SMEs.
Over the past decade, digital marketing has undergone a substantial transformation and has firmly established itself as an important way to create brand experience.
Social networks (e.g. Facebook and LinkedIn) were the most commonly used type of social media (42.9%), followed by business blogs (23.8%) and multimedia sharing (15.0%)
Looking at Twitter alone, recent statistics show that it’s now reaching over 288 million active users every month – active are accounts that regularly post and contribute to the platform, of which 80% come from mobile.
Facebook announced at the beginning of the year that their audience had grown by 13% in the past year and over 34% of that increase was via mobile access.
But what does this actually mean for small and growing businesses?
In my opinion the statistics speak for themselves; there will be a clear growth in mobile search over the next five years and the digital landscape will become more ever more important for those small businesses who are willing to explore and embrace the channels available to them. As digital technologies evolve, some practices will ultimately become obsolete, while new tools hit the market.
Here are my predictions for the next year:
1. Mobile access will be vital
The importance of mobile will grow more in the future. With the expected updates from Google search (in Feb they stated their clear intention to penalise any site that they do not deem to be mobile-friendly), other search engines will likely follow suit and this means that businesses need to move fast when it comes to mobile optimisation.
Other than websites, businesses need to also think about their marketing as a whole and how mobile will translate. For example we will see an increase in the use of tools like QR codes on printed collateral as a way to drive audiences online more.
2. Visual story-telling will boom
Visual marketing will always be an important tactic in customer engagement because it opens up a new world of presenting complex information simply; we have seen this with the growth of infographics over the past year and this will continue.
Another visual element that I think will increase as part of businesses digital strategy will be video – particularly through story-telling. What I mean by that is by adopting “visual communication” – integrating tools such as video, infographics, design creations (leaflets) into a consistent strategy – businesses will enhance brand messaging and inspire emotional connections with your audience.
3. Augmented reality & wearable technology
Probably something that not a lot of smaller businesses have come across much as of yet, but something I think will boom over the next few years; it is a natural progression for the internet to close the gap between off and online marketing.
Augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.
A great example of this is the Ikea Catalogue, which in 2014 added bonus materials which includes digital content, the user activates the 50 bonus pages to reveal a decorator’s virtual paradise with 360/180 degree views of rooms, and allows the user to design their own space digitally!
On the other hand there is wearable technology, which will be the next stage in development technology – you only have to look at what Apple did for technological progression to see this. I believe (and hope), that wearable technology will become another way to “reach out” to new and prospective customers and bridge the gap further from on to offline.
4. Social Media will become more cost driven
We have already started to see this shift through Facebook’s “Boost Posts”, its new interface tool which will slowly develop to push all brands towards paid-for platform advertising to reach a more segmented audience group and increase business visibility.
5. Analytics will have more focus
As a digital marketer, it goes without saying that I actively encourage companies to invest in online activity and to create a professional presence on social media channels. But it’s also very important to have a vision, a strategy and footprint and clear objectives for your social media development, or it really won’t be worth the time you put into it at all, and you could end up in hot water instead.
Find out how Daisy can help prepare your business for the future by calling 0808 163 9549