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December 28, 2012

Planning for the Future of Digital Marketing

James Giese UWEBC Communications Director

Mark Skroch Executive Group Director, Ogilvy and Ian Sohn, Executive Vice President, Director of Emerging Platforms & Partnerships, Ogilvy gave an overview of emerging marketing strategies and technology trends at the UWEBC's Web and Multichannel Marketing Peer Group Meeting on Dec. 6, 2012.

Sharing their insights as thought leaders at Ogilvy, both Skroch and Sohn reviewed trends in social media, mobile marketing, and technologies for the upcoming year.

“In five years, will we still be describing “digital” as something distinct?” asked Skroch. With a multitude of devices and their interactions increasing, defining digital as a separate medium is becoming increasingly difficult.

“Digital is becoming the fabric of our 21st Century lives,” says Skroch, “and digital is no longer a separate thing.” A key statistic is that 92% of people are using digital content search to guide their purchase decisions.

Within the digital paradigm, consumers expect a lot: real time information, anywhere; utility and entertainment; transparency; quality content; involvement, co-creation and dialogue; and customization.

Skroch said, “No longer about channels, it is about ideas…what do I want to stand for?”

Skrock outlined the following five technology trends for 2013 that have significant implications for marketers:

  1.  Improved front end capabilities. As browser capabilities have advanced, especially with HTML 5, marketers and designers are able to do more in the browser with less back-end processing. This will enable more streamlined user experience and faster load times to achieve higher user engagement.
  2.  Device homogenization. Although there has been an explosion of different devices and platforms, techniques have been developed dthat allow more one-build approaches. So there is a trend to more consolidation of designs, which will continue in 2013.
  3. Enhanced Immersive User Experiences. A trend that will continue in 2013 is to make the user more involved and immersed in the digital experience. Technologies that support search will have a major impact--since HTML5 is searchable, it is becoming more prevalent than Flash, which is not searchable.
  4. Global Design Cohesion. Global design cohesion is also called responsive design. Responsive design is a method to provide optimal viewing experiences, regardless of the device. This technique includes easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling for use across multiple devices.
  5. Improved Metric Support. 2013 will see further evolution of analysis of data generated from the variety of devices that consumers use to interact with companies. Part of this improved metric support comes from increased accounting for difference devices and tracking across those devices.

Ian Sohn noted that success in marketing is not as dependent on the media channel as it is on the idea being communicated and the brand. He shared three ways to reach consumers and break through their personal message shield: create and offer incredible and entertaining content; speak honestly and transparently with consumers; and finally, ensure that the content can be found or is searchable.

Sohn listed seven drivers of “word-of-mouth” that social media efforts and marketing should accomplish:

  1. Do we have a good story to tell?
  2. Can people show their involvement in a visible way?
  3. Do we offer something new to talk about?
  4. Do we let our supporters be creative?
  5. Do we invite people to participate?
  6. Do we offer them some value?
  7. Do we remind people to spread the word?

If we do all these right, then social media can drive impact of marketing, and will build brand reputation and value; create customer value, increase operating excellence; and strengthen a company’s workforce and culture.

According to Sohn, 56% of Fortune 500 companies think social media is very important to business. And while 69% of executives report measurable benefits from social media, just 20% of business received 80% of the benefits from social media.

"Doing social media well is difficult because it requires organizational change, it requires letting go of some of the control of a brand, it requires people that know how to use social media, and it requires a lot of content creation," said Sohn.

LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are still the most used forms of social media by both consumers and businesses. But, according to Sohn, 2013 will see more activity from newer social sites such as Pinterest, Foursquare, Spotify, and Google+. Google+ because of search.

Sohn also reviewed mobile trends and related it to the “internet of things.” Eventually many of the devices and objects in our lives will be connected, and consumption is shifting from the desktop to everywhere.

Social, Local, Mobile (SoLoMo) is becoming a much more prevalent way to shop. SoLoMo is consumers using either shopping on their mobile devices, using smartphones to comparison shop, or using local search to find retailers and social media to find products. The trend highlights the importance of responsive design.

Finally, with increased digital CRM, companies are reaching new stages of interacting with consumers. Email, loyalty programs, mobile, websites, telephone, marketing automation, field sales, and social media are all contributing to high-touch and more personalized CRM.

"Technology does matter, but it’s not about gimmicks, flashy apps, or cool technology," says Sohn, “It’s about figuring out consumer wants and needs, understanding their behaviors, creating great content that speaks to them and is sharable.”

As both Skroch and Sohn stressed, “It’s not about digital marketing, its about marketing in a digital age.”

Member companies can access Mediasite recording and other meeting materials>>

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