From one CMO to Another: Planning for the New Year

Erik Ford, acting CMO of Kaizen Platform, Inc., San Francisco looks to planning for the new year and considers some of the top emerging industry trends

Before our company holiday party, I asked my employees to participate in a team brainstorming session. It was fun joking with them about having to work for their food first. We came up with some fantastic ideas to try out in the new year, and identified some areas to challenge ourselves. As I reflect on the ideas we cooked up, and think about what will be hot in the digital marketing space for 2015, four big trends come to mind. My hope is that this blog will help spark some thoughts and ideas for your own organization’s 2015 planning efforts.

User journey. However you want to label it—omni-channel marketing, connectivity of data, personalization—it’s going to be all about the user journey. Building a stronger cohesive view of the user and getting a firmer grasp of the marketing mix will help pave the way for the customer’s journey from start to finish.

“Optimizing a single customer journey is tactical; shifting organizational processes, culture, and mind-sets to a journey orientation is strategic and transformational.” (Harvard Business Review)

Mobile’s next wave. The mobile platform has grown explosively over the past several years. This will allow us to develop some tried and true best practices surrounding mobile. It will also give us a chance to flesh out new digital experiences on mobile and refine tactics for where we are already operating. Expect to see more functional things happen with mobile such as payments and the Internet of Things space heating up rapidly. This will transform digital user experiences and create even more touch-points for brands to interact with customers. A landscape perpetually ripe for innovation.

“We are officially living in a mobile-first world. In the U.S., 90 percent of Americans over the age of 18 own a cell phone, and almost two thirds (64 percent) of those devices are smartphones.”  (iMedia Connection)

Programmatic. There is a clear shift taking place from traditional media buys to more programmatic ones. This route for advertising gives us the ability to go across any network and nicely match, in real time, the users we are trying to target with the personalized messages we are trying to communicate. It’s a great way to get more efficiency out of the digital media ecosystem.

“Two-thirds of marketers noting that they plan to manage at least 40 percent of their total digital budget programmatically over the next 12 months.” (Adobe)

Video. With big players like AOL, Google, and Facebook acquiring video companies, or priming the pump of their existing video companies, it’s clear that a major video wave is coming. There will be a killer opportunity for marketing companies to fill the needs gap for low-cost, quick production of videos. After all, video content is a highly efficient, targeted way to reach audiences en masse.

“90% – The percentage of online shoppers at a major retailer’s website who said they find video helpful in making shopping and buying decisions.” (Video Brewery)

The key to getting maximum leverage out of these current and emerging trends will be figuring out how to bring them all together and play them off one another. It’s a known fact that a group of people can come up with far better ideas that a single person; much like our team brainstorming session. The same can be true of these industry trends. I challenge you to find ways to embrace these trends and figure out how best to fit them together in your own marketing plans for 2015.

Happy planning and all the best for the new year!

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