Want to know what marketing will look like in 2015? See below my top 10 predictions for the coming year:
- R.I.P. channel planning. Marketers will stop thinking in channels. Instead, they will start planning marketing around the behaviour they want to change in an individual over time and the sequential story they need to tell to do this effectively, facilitated by smart technology that enables that fluid story-telling.
- Internal comms as an essential component of the marketing mix. Marketers realise that investment in internal communications reaps dividends in this new era of engagement. They now understand that every employee presents both an opportunity and a threat to the brand and are investing heavily in making sure their employees are engaged and telling the right brand story, at work and at home. More than half of all employers are planning to increase their internal comms budgets next year, according to The Drum.
- The rise of the Privacy Brand. 2015 will be the year when issues around data privacy will come to a head and companies will find themselves taking sides. Expect more brands to proactively push for privacy – to stop collecting data from certain sources and stop using cookies – and to use their stance on privacy as a key selling point.
- The merging of B2B and B2C. B2B and B2C brands will be more aligned in 2015. Companies understand that they need to present a single face to the world – a single vision, mission and values and a singular brand voice – and that the fundamental laws of engagement apply equally to both groups. Expect to see a major shift in B2B brand behaviour in 2015.
- Measurement gets relevant. As marketers adjust to new digital and social media channels and as the pressure to justify marketing spend increases, expect companies to be laser-focused on the link between the decision funnel and measurement. Only measures that can be proven to help companies achieve their business and communications goals and proven to nudge people through the funnel will matter. Gone are the days of measuring everything from Facebook Likes to column inches. Big data will also be less ‘big’ and more ‘smart’ in line with this.
- The rise of Satellite Marketing. The days of the hard-sell campaign are well and truly over in the Western World, as consumers become more marketing-savvy and increasingly tired of old-school commercialism. The next era of communications will see brands trying to nudge rather than shove consumers into making decisions, through smart satellite campaigns, rather than direct-sell initiatives. We’ve already seen this happening but expect it to accelerate in 2015 and beyond.
- The end of mass production. Marketing was once about mass production. But no more. Over the next few years, we will see a seismic shift towards a new age of personalised production, as technology like 3D and 4D printing make the creation of one-off goods at scale a concrete reality. Over the next two years, retailers plan to invest heavily in 3D printing to create personalised goods and this will be accelerated by the Maker Movement.
- The Virtual Revolution is upon us. Until relatively recently – and with the exception of gamers – we have all lived (mostly) in the real world. We’ve worked in real environments, we’ve socialised in real places and so on. But we’re about to witness a major shift in the way we engage with each other and with brands. AR technology, combined with multiple intelligent materials, will propel us into another space entirely and we will find ourselves interacting in ways we could never previously imagine. From shopping and tourism to workplaces and leisure pursuits, virtual reality will be everywhere. Marketing itself will also go virtual as marketers will start to use virtual marketplaces to test how new products will fare before they have even left the lab. The Virtual Revolution starts here.
- The death of the marketing road map. Long-term marketing plans just don’t cut it anymore – it’s now impossible to plan that far in advance. Marketers will still spend time crystallising their long-term vision but be far more flexible in terms of how they set out to achieve it.
- Agencies mirror marketing departments. As communications become more fluid, borderless and 360° and as companies take more work in-house, increasingly agencies will act as extensions to marketing departments, mirroring their structure to be as fleet-of-foot and effective as possible.
Liz Wolstenholme is head of Brand Strategy, Weber Shandwick UK