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Marketing Trends in 2015 Your Agency Needs to Know About

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Image from freedigitalphotos.net.

As an agency working with brands to create engaging marketing and digital content campaigns, it’s important to keep up-to-date with the trends in the market. 2014 already saw a sea of changes, with native advertising becoming more important and the trend towards Smartphones and tablets meaning content strategies needed to be rethought for a mobile crowd. It’s a new year, and we’re about to see a whole new range of changes.

In this article, we explore some of the emerging marketing trends for 2015, and look at how your agency can leverage them to gain new clients, offer increased value and establish your shop as a market leader:

1. Personalisation

In 2015, more people than ever are connected across the globe via technology. But with all the brands on the globe shouting into the digital void, what consumers are looking for is localised, personalised brand connections. Personalisation isn’t a trend, it’s the future of marketing - being able to tailor messaging directly to a customer’s interests, demographic, or role.

What this means for your agency? Add personalisation into campaigns by suggesting ways your clients can further segregate lists, or create content to target specific customer groups.

2. Companies will mobilize workers as brand ambassadors

Led by Silicon Valley tech workers, many large global firms are beginning to see the value in having a team of dedicated, enthusiastic employees who promote the brand as cool and hip to their own networks. This is especially true when your staff are made up of motivated millennials with thousands of Twitter followers who are influencers and trendsetters in their own right.

What this means for your agency? Expect to see more projects focusing on internal communications. Work with your clients to find ways they can identify influencers in their own company and incorporate and involve their staff in upcoming campaigns.

3. Platforms will move to a “pay-to-boost” model

According to Jay Bear, President of Convince & Convert, “2015 will be the year of paid amplification.” As companies like Facebook and Twitter are beginning to understand the tremendous value of their user-base, they are focusing on finding ways to monetize their data pool. Post amplification and boosting social media reach is going to become more important, as this focuses on reaching people who are already fans of a brand, as opposed to sourcing new fans.

What this means for your agency? You’ll need to stay on top of changes in the social networks and how they impact how many people see your updates. Include a budget for boosting posts in each campaign, and implement better system to measure which updates work best.

4. Wearable Technology Causes a Paradigm Shift

With Apple Watch and Google Glass hitting the market in 2015, augmented reality and wearable technology has arrived. Its impact on the world of marketing will be massive - but what exactly that impact will be we have yet to discover.

Many brands will want to get in early to pioneer campaigns to integrate with this new technology. There will be new opportunities to create not just integrated, but interactive, marketing that reaches customers in an entirely new way.

What it means for your agency? Keep an eye on this space because by the end of 2015 we will begin to see early marketing applications specifically for wearable devices. Start thinking now about how you can become an early adopter and leader in this space.

5. Marketing becomes more human

Although companies know they have to become an authentic content hub, the content they produce still reeks of sales-speak. Consumers hate feeling as though they’ve been tricked into liking or supporting a brand - they just want interesting stuff to read or watch.

This year, more than ever before, brands have to embrace humour, vulnerability, authenticity, and silliness to win over their audience.

What it means for your agency? Start thinking about campaigns that incorporate humour, kindness, and authentic human experiences at their core. Make this the factor that differentiates your agency’s content from the rest.

6. Marketing Technologists will Have Their Pick of Jobs

As marketing is becoming increasingly tied to the digital landscape, those marketers who don’t just understand how to create content, but have a working knowledge of development and coding will thrive. Recruiters will be looking for marketers with equal parts creativity and technological acumen to drive their digital strategy in 2015.

What it means for your agency? Alongside your creative team, you’re going to need to invest some money into growing your technical abilities, whether that’s hiring someone new, training up a current staff member, or taking on a contractor.

7.  Disparate channels will be merged to create end-to-end marketing

Previously, many brand marketing strategies have been somewhat haphazard. They knew they “must” be on Instagram, so an Instagram account is set up. They knew they should be blogging, so they begin blogging, and this is how the marketing suite is created. But none of these brands have a strategy for how these disparate elements fit together, or what they mean in terms of the customer journey.

2015 is the year brands get serious about bringing together all these different pieces and creating a strategic customer journey.

What it means for your agency? You can be an ally for brands in creating a seamless customer experience. Focus on creating a strategy template incorporating different types of content and marketing collateral, so that you can help brands to streamline and strategize.

8. More Data means Micro-Targeting of Campaigns

With increasing levels of detail in the amount of data available to marketers, brands have the unique opportunity to target different consumer groups at a micro level, targeting campaigns based on a customer’s college major, favourite TV show or most frequented fast-food restaurant.

I was at a blogging workshop recently where I learned about micro-targeting in action. A wedding photographer in the UK talked about how she targeted a Facebook ad to women who’d been engaged in the last 6 months, who lived in her local area and who had also liked the Belle & Sebastian Facebook page. She then included some song lyrics in her ad text. The photographer paid less than $50 for the ad over its entire run and booked 8 weddings as a direct result.

What it means for your agency? Explore micro-targeting as a way to get more oomph out of larger-scale marketing campaigns. Perhaps this is a service you could offer as an add-on to your standard packages.

9. Guest posts are out - paid placements are in

As site owners are inundated by low-quality guest post content, and guest-posting platforms being hit by Google penalties, it seems guest posting as a way of sourcing a legitimate, dedicated audience has gone the way of the dodo.

Instead, brands are turning to native marketing and paid placements to get their content on popular websites. Research has shown native ad campaigns deliver higher brand lift than pre-roll video ads - it seems consumers either don’t notice or don’t care about the difference between native advertising and ordinary content - as long as the content itself is of a high quality.

What it means for your agency? Are you offering to help your client run native advertising campaigns? If not, you should be adding this service as part of your offerings.

10. Creative Content Will Win the Day

In one key way, 2015 is no different to any of the years preceding it. And that is the fact that creative content is the key to marketing success for any brand. If a brand is to succeed in the digital space, then they need to be thinking of marketing not as a series of stats and ads, but as a production house, creating stunning articles, videos, images and infographics we love to read.

What it means for your agency? Look at the types of content you’re producing. What has been the most successful? How are you able to stay at the forefront of the market? Remember, as a content-producing studio, other agencies are not your competitors - the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Huffington Post … these are the platforms with which you have to compete for the eyes and ears of consumers.

To learn more about what to expect for 2015, check out our article 15 Fascinating Stats that will Influence Your 2015 Email Marketing.

What trends do you think we’ll see come to fruition in 2015? How is your agency rising to meet these new challenges?