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5 Digital Marketing Trends That Will Disrupt Your Business

By: Jeff Bullas


You have been running your business for a long time. Life is good. Sales are holding up. The admin processes and technology systems are nailed. You have your eye on your competitors and industry. The business model is stable.

Or is it?
A small startup starts selling direct online to your customers. From London…
A potential competitor doesn’t do distribution like you do. They go straight to your end customer…
This digital disintermediation model is only going to get worse, if you are a traditional business. The frog thought things were cool when it jumped into that pot and was just chilling. The water was a pleasant swimming temperature. Did a few laps. But someone had started a small fire.
A Raging Digital Fire
It was only a few years ago, and the web, technology and business started changing faster than ever before. Social media was ignored by most except the teenagers and early adopters. Facebook was frivolous. Mobiles were for the corporate chiefs and senior executives. The devices were nicknamed “Crack Berries.”
Apple brought out the iPod, iTunes, and the iPhone. Vinyl died and businesses disappeared. A digital fire had started.
Those little icons downloaded to your smartphone hide powerful technology and new business models. Apps are now redefining business. Uber’s app has the taxi monopolies and authorities running scared. But their business model is not just about technology—it is much more about building a trust network and adding more value.
On-demand apps are pushing into many industries. Is yours next?
Capture the Data
Facebook captured almost every intimate detail from your relationship status to brand preference, gender, location, and much more. It collected the data and now they sell it back to us.
Granular data will give you the power to do what seems to be “one to one” marketing. When visiting websites, are you seeing the same banner ad popping up? It’s no coincidence. You have been targeted!
Here are some digital marketing trends that will disrupt your business, whether you are disrupting yourself or you are being disrupted. Don’t ignore them.
1. Digital Marketing Automation Platforms
The splintering of media has made marketing at scale a nightmare. There is:
  • More media
  • More digital channels
  • More social networks

Yes, there are a lot of moving parts. But there is a solution:
Marketing used to be a creative pursuit. That has changed. It is much more. You need a digital marketing platform. A new approached called “marketing automation.”
The race is on to own the platform. The player? Many. Hubspot, Ontraport, Infusionsoft. Then you have Social Sprout, Marketo, and Hootsuite. The list is growing—fast.
The marketing automation race
It doesn’t matter whether you are a:
  • Content marketer
  • Social media marketer
  • Blogger who wants to scale and monetize their platform
  • Or just a digital marketer.

You will need a marketing platform sooner rather than later. This scramble for the high ground and platform domination is coming from startups and the established Enterprise technology giants. It is a challenge for big and small. But the complexity increases at the big end of town. To manage marketing at scale in a digital world requires a new breed of marketer. The data scientist. Previously they were kept in a cave and tossed scraps. Now they will be your secret ninja weapon.
2. Big Data for Personalization and Identifying Influencers
As the web exploded, the tools to manage and measure the noise and information were non-existent. We cobbled together software, technology and amateurs. You need professionals. And you need to capture the data.
Data is going to be your secret weapon.
Knowing more about your customer than they know about themselves is marketing power. Natural language processing will identify influencers, customer preferences, and content that works and is viral. There is another aspect to this.
Identifying influencers
Identifying global influencers in your industry or niche is starting to go mainstream. I was surprised the other day to find that technology that sifts through 6 million web properties per day over 90 days had identified me as the “#1 content marketing influencer.” This technology big data engine called “Appinions” has been developed over 10 years at Cornell University. It provides insights into what is influence in a digital world.
Apparently influence is not based on my amazing smile or good looks, but “data.”
Platforms such as BuzzSumo, Appinions and Simply Measured are all using data to help you calculate your next marketing move. It also includes identifying and creating great content.
Enterprise platforms like Teradata allow companies with 10 million customers like the Qantas Frequent Flyer Loyalty program to dissect the data. Then they target them with an email or even that print piece in the snail mail that is relevant and personal. Expect the smaller end of town to use data more effectively to produce powerful marketing results. Let’s look at an example.
When someone registers for a LinkedIn Webinar, then they are maybe in the market for a LinkedIn course, lead generation, or other relevant training. It should be tagged by your marketing system and used for future targeted campaigns.
But it’s not the data that is important… It’s what you do with the data.
3. Paid Social Media Advertising
When Facebook would back its organic reach, the game changed. Building likes wasn’t as important anymore. But using its paid and very targeted advertising data now is. We are moving on from just chasing fluffy likes. Now retargeting and Facebook custom audiences allows you to get a good return on your advertising dollars. Facebook is now dominating the social media advertising budget. It’s on target to hit over $14 billion in advertising revenue in 2015. It is now becoming a serious rival to Google.
Return on investment
But what it means is that if you are spending $10 on an “Ad” you better be sure it is making money, not losing dollars. So measurement of ROI is gaining serious attention. Google+ tried to disrupt Facebook’s social network domination, but failed. Twitter has its place in paid, but it doesn’t have Facebook’s discrete data. It is more about creating top of the funnel brand awareness, driving traffic, breaking news, and powering viral content.
Don’t ignore this trend. Targeted social advertising on desktop and mobile is here to stay, and some of your competitors are already using it.
4. Mobile Assets and Advertising
We knew sort of how important mobile was. But as the second screen has become the first screen, we are scrambling to adapt. The growth of mobile advertising is stratospheric.
Some more perspective on the scale of where this is heading: 73% of Facebook’s $14 billion this year comes just from mobile advertising. That is over $10.2 billion from mobile alone. Facebook also has barely tapped mobile advertising on its 1 billion users on WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger platforms.
Look for that to change over the next few years.
So what is important here?
Making mobile a priority in your marketing and media focus. What you will also need to consider is that mobile requires a different approach in how you create your digital assets and use the screen to display media and calls to action. With mobile, less is more. What are you wanting them to achieve?
  • Read
  • View a video
  • Capture an email
  • Contact you

Maybe those four are enough for mobile. You cannot do everything on mobile that you can do on a desktop. You need to focus on what is the most important and prioritize.
5. Visual Media
We have been watching it for a few years now, but images, photos, embedded video in social networks, and now streaming video (Meerkat and Periscope) is changing the engagement landscape. This has happened because of the rapid rise of mobiles with cameras that are fast rivaling professional Digital SLRs.
How important is visual content?
I grabbed this chart off my “Simply Measured” tool the other day that measures the metrics for social media networks. It shows an increase of 59% more engagement when a tweet includes an image. This trend will only continue to consolidate as more people move to mobile as their primary screen as developing countries purchase smartphones. India is predicted to have more mobiles than the USA in the next couple years.
Over to You
So what marketing automation platforms are you considering? Is mobile on your radar? Are you already personalizing advertising and using Facebook’s targeted Ads? Look forward to reading your insights and stories in the comments below.
This article was originally published by Jeff Bullas
Published: July 2, 2015

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Jeff Bullas

Jeff Bullas is a consultant, blogger, strategist, and speaker. He works with companies and executives to optimize their online personal and corporate brands through the use of social media channels. Author of the Amazon best-selling book Blogging the Smart Way—How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media (Jeff Bullas, 2012), Jeff's own blog is included in AdAge.com's Power 150 ranking as a top 50 marketing blog.

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