This was a revolutionary year for the digital marketing industry. While conventional marketing ruled the roost a decade back, rapid advancements in social media and technology has meant that businesses can no longer afford to miss the digital marketing bandwagon. Whether it’s social networks, location-based services, mobile websites or social web, I reckon next year will be a defining year for digital marketing. Here are the seven most important changes in the digital marketing industry.
1. Mobile will be mandatory
Till date, mobile has been a nice-to-have/ wishlist medium for most digital marketers. I reckon mobile (smartphones and tablets) will no longer be an optional channel for digital marketing next year. On the contrary, digital marketers will use the best of both worlds – native apps and mobile/ hybrid websites to enable anytime anywhere connectivity for prospects.
Social networks are already beginning to offer personalized content based on user preferences. Further, they allow users to filter content as per their preferences. I anticipate digital marketers to leverage personalization big time in order to create innovative marketing campaigns according to user tastes.
2011 was a year of consolidation for the location-based services. Foursquare and Gowalla joined hands, Facebook continued Facebook Places while Google acquired a couple of niche startups in the location discovery segment. I expect location based services to be digital marketer’s best friend next year to make suggestions about where you should eat, drink, play etc.
Google+ Hangouts introduced the much needed innovation in the video communication segment this year. With continuous advancements in video technology, I would expect Video to be major force for digital marketers to create interactive viral web content. Tools such as Google+ Hangouts will offer the much need face-to-face communication channel for digital marketers.
5. On Demand
The line between Television and Internet-based video content is blurring first. It’s been a good year for on-demand video providers such as Netflix and Hulu and I believe they would emerge as an effective channel for digital marketers in future.
The Apple iPad and Amazon Kindle Fire will change the face of the digital publishing for good. This would further open up a new window of opportunity for marketers to reach out to audiences through digital marketing campaigns.
I believe full-fledged ecosystems and platforms will fast replace individual applications as digital marketer’s preferred tools. Google is already leveraging its existing ecosystem to transform Google+ from a social network to a platform. I would expect Facebook to do the same using third-party apps and Facebook Connect. Such platforms would offer an end-to-end solution for digital marketers.
What changes do you expect in the digital marketing arena in the New Year? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment.