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4 of 2015’s Biggest Digital Marketing Changes

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It’s true, 2015 isn’t over yet and we certainly don’t intend to rush the season, but this past year has brought with it many changes in digital marketing. Just 12 months in a year, and it’s fascinating how much can change both with the consumer mindset as well as with the tools, programs, and campaigns that companies use to engage with their audiences. One thing is certain: if companies aren’t keeping up with the changes and demands of consumers, they will eventually be left behind completely, attempting to reach an audience that is no longer listening.

So what were some of the biggest changes to the way marketers used digital marketing in 2015? Here are 4 of the top changes we’ve noticed:

1. Social Media:

Social media continues to be a very important digital marketing communication method for companies in both the B2B and BsC space. What changed during 2015 wasn’t the use of social media in general, but how it was used. Brands that promoted themselves and used Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn solely as an advertisement lost followers and engagement fell. Whereas companies that used these platforms to tell stories, connect with buyers and prospective buyers, and engage by being up-to-date with messaging and on point with content marketing, saw massive increases in followers as well as overall engagement.

According to Innovation Enterprise, social media is now not simply a way to gather your fans in one place, it is a way to spread stories and content that they want to see.

2. Content Marketing > Story-Telling:

If you’ve been involved in content marketing during 2015, you know this area of digital has seen a massive shift away from companies just producing “quick and dirty” content in order to spike website traffic and get clicks. Now, digital marketers must carefully plan out their content marketing in accordance with trends in the industry, time of year (calendaring), and personas of readers – all with the goal of telling a compelling story, versus trying to sell a product or service.

Seth Godin is quoted saying, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but the stories you tell”. We couldn’t agree more with this as consumers no longer want to be sold on your product or service. They want to be empowered to make the purchase decision themselves, but truly understanding how it will affect them personally, or the company they represent.

Many content marketing leaders, such as Jay Baer with Convince and Convert (@Convince), have been predicting this shift for several years now. For more great information on how to tell a story with your business, check out the podcast “The Business of Story”.

3. Mobile Everything

This may go without saying, but we are a mobile society in every way possible. This past Cyber Monday was the largest grossing retail day EVER with almost $3B in online sales, many of those dollars sourced via a mobile device. Not only that, Nearly two-thirds of Americans are now smartphone owners, and for many these devices are a key entry point to the online world, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center on mobile phone usage in the U.S. No longer do Americans “go offline” after leaving work or stop engaging via their mobile devices at night or in the morning or even on weekends. They use their phones to engage with family members, to watch videos, to use apps for directions, ordering food, making a grocery list… you get it. The mobile device is now a basic human necessity on many levels, and presents a huge opportunity for digital marketers to meet their consumers literally anywhere, at any time, with the right message based on behavior.

According to Digital Doughtnut, in accordance with a recent report on the behaviour of IT buyers conducted by IDG, 61% of B2B users will watch mobile videos relating to their work, while 57% will access work-related mobile content outside of business hours. These figures show us the huge number of opportunities that mobile devices offer digital marketers, both inside and outside of the working time-zone.

4. Content creators on the rise

Neil Patel, a contributor at Forbes, explains this change very well. “Ever since Web 2.0, the writing profession has had a heyday. Anyone and everyone could become a publisher. Anyone who had a voice could also have a platform on the web.”

There will always be the need for great content creators, including writers, developers, video producers, podcasters, and speakers. Lizetta Staplefoot said it well in her Visual.ly article: “The need for quality content will spotlight the importance of professional writers.”

Great writers can be difficult to find. But it’s no longer enough simply to find a “great writer.” You need to find a writer who knows your niche. The world’s greatest writing skills don’t count for much unless the writer possesses knowledge, ideally experiential knowledge, of his or her subject matter.

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