6 February 2022
In the world of digital, stagnation is no option! Either you keep up with the trends or you fall behind. Let’s scroll back in our memories and think of the most popular brands like Sports Authority, Blockbuster, Sears, Pan Am and so on – Where are they today? Disappeared and aren’t operational anymore. Yes, you got it right! All these brands just fizzled out because they weren’t able to make conscious decisions about the digital changes happening around them. Or maybe they were too reluctant to catch up with the fast-changing digital environment. Similarly, if businesses don’t adhere to the ever evolving digital changes that are trending around the corner, they could put the entire setup at risk!
At Digital Ascendant Conference, some of the great insights were shared by a highly curated group of industry leaders from some of the top brands across the globe. They surfaced some of the prime issues why companies fail to perform and fall in the same fate. Here are six top digital trends they highlighted for the industry leaders to focus on.
1. Content is King and will continue to rule
Creating content just for the sake of creating it is not going to take you anywhere! Today, most companies curate and create content but what they skip is a rock solid ‘Content Strategy’. Each and every single content must have a trail of a guided document, narrating a strong strategy linked to the company’s common goal.
“There has to be a meaningful exchange between your brand and the consumer you are targeting.” Says, Kaydee Bridges, VP of digital and social media strategy at Goldman Sachs.
One of the best ways to create compelling content is to tap into your intellectual capital: your managers, thought leaders, influencers and internal experts. Incorporate their experiences and insights into your content to generate consistency, credibility and authenticity to your marketing campaigns. Simply put, good content is more about building a relationship and help your followers feel more comfortable about your brand. So before companies focus on producing content, they must understand the need of it. Meeting the right need of your consumers at the right time is the secret sauce that most brands play on!
2. Influencer reach is more than just paid media
Influencer marketing and its reach is more than just a paid media. In fact, it is one of the fast growing trends in Digital Marketing. According to John Bohan, CEO of Socialtyze,
“Most brands are not making the most of the influencer marketing opportunity. They are applying a very campaign-centric mindset narrowing down into short term goals and hoping to see a quick bump in sales as a result which is not true influencer marketing at all.”
Selecting leaders by their personas rather than their existing connection with the brand is ‘Superficial Influencer Identification’. Effective partnerships in influencer marketing start with a real brand association, love for the industry and relevant social following. Above all, it has to be data driven! Just like you can’t demand a cat lover to talk about dog food, you can’t just randomly go and pitch an influencer to support your brand. Your goal must have the vision to support long-term influencer relationship to create a powerful marketing database of influencers that your brand can control. CMOs should view influencer marketing as more of an owned asset and long-term partnership to take advantage of those opportunities.
3. Being a ‘generalist’ agency is a threat
Marketing is evolving faster than ever while making it more complex for agencies to survive. Smart individuals and top companies are specialising out of necessity, yet focusing on increasingly deep marketing aspects, but maybe not wide enough. To keep up with the pace, marketers and agencies cannot just increase their marketing spends on a few famous channels, in fact, they must focus on learning data, coding and digital strategies and be the go-between for your brand and your specialist agency partners. Both, the agency and the specialist need to work in parallel, making conscious transparent decisions in real time around how each penny is spent and what’s next to discover, achieve and deliver! So, believing in being a generalist and offering all kinds of digital services won’t help you last longer. Focus on the services you specialize in and strive to make it better.
4. CMOs are next to reserve a major seat in the boardroom
“Customer comes first” is a universal rule and all successful brands are focused on delivering the best customer services possible to retain their customer base. As companies are becoming more consumer-centric and CMOs are closely watching the consumers and their behaviours, this shift put CMOs in a rare position of authority, power and responsibility. They help their respective companies to connect with customers in the best suitable manner. Today, CMOs are responsible for creating new experiences for customers and are considered game changers. With much insights and association with customers, they help build positive brand impressions by learning directly from the customer. By mapping every single customer journey and touchpoints, CMOs get in a position to execute strategies beyond their rule.
5. Big Data is bigger than you can even expect
Today, big data talk louder than you can even think. It shows what decision led to what result and outcomes. In this way, CMOs are able to bring authenticity and true results to the table. Unlike before, CMOs are now accountable for each dollar spent on the marketing budget. “Tech has largely evolved marketing, particularly in terms of accountability. And now, there is no alternative to transparency. Whether it be CMOs or any other position, marketers are now expected to communicate their efforts and results in digits”, says; Kerry Bianchi, the President and CEO of Collective. Not just the marketing aspect, in fact, technology has changed the entire business eco-system and have enabled leaders to connect the dots between online and offline worlds. They ensure that each marketing allocation is measurable and has a conscious agenda towards company’s common goals. When brick and mortar businesses can use the date to examine store visitation rates and run online campaigns to maximise in-store traffic, what else do you expect digital to do for you? It’s time to attribute your marketing budget to results!
6. Pay Close Attention to Digital-Native Competitors
A lot of recent startups are coming from a new generation of digital natives and when industry leaders don’t take them seriously, they don’t just make a mistake, they give their competitors enough space and time to grow as much as they have. Samir Bhavnani, area vice president for 1010data, explained brands that were slow to understand the importance of digital evolution is getting crushed by these young digital natives. Digital startups are testing multiple options at a time to determine the best possible business strategy, however, brands are just starting to put some spend behind technology and innovation. In short, the major difference between the success and failure of CMOs is more about digital attributes than experience. Today, agility, adaptability and the ability to manage ambiguity are helping businesses thrive in the digital trends world. Experience with the right digital knowledge will position your business for success therefore, ensure that you are qualified for marketing leadership roles in organisations looking to drive change.
Last but not least, marketing has always been an exciting business avenue, and digital marketing is unfolding its potential faster than ever. Thus, the above trends tell us how leaders can keep up with this far-reaching evolution.
Are there any other trends leaders must focus on? Share your thoughts in the comments below. For more updates and insights, subscribe to our newsletter.
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