Each year, to get an idea of the trends that will have the most impact in the year ahead, we ask Smart Insights readers to select the ONE marketing activity that they think will give their business the biggest incremental uplift in leads and sales in 2017 (or their clients if they work for an agency or as a consultant).
Here are the results for 2017 which make for interest reading since there are two clear winners.
So, what do the responses show? Well, there are two clear winners in popularity: Content marketing trends and Big Data. Content marketing has been in the top 3 for the last 3 years we have run this poll, so it shows the aspiration for content marketing to commercial success. A focus on content marketing makes perfect sense for modern marketing since it supports a more integrated approach to digital marketing where content is used as the fuel to increase engagement across different inbound channels including organic and paid search, social media and email marketing and also out outbound. Content marketing can support a strategic approach based on engaging different customer personas across the customer lifecycle, rather than treating different channels in isolation.
It is more surprising that Big Data is in the second position since it not a specific term and you may think that is limited to use in big businesses with big budgets. Its popularity is explained since, in the poll, we caveated it to include market and customer insight and predictive analytics. With IBM reporting that the volume of marketing data has doubled in the last eighteen month, it’s understandable that marketers want to mine and apply this as insight to boost response and conversion. Applying Machine Learning, a technique that was much hyped in 2016 supports this well.
You can read more details on the other channels in my Smart Insights article on 2017 Digital Marketing trends and a free download on 9 higher level megatrends that impact businesses of all sizes.
It’s clear that digital marketing is growing in importance, but which are the most ‘in-demand’ digital marketing skills that are worthwhile developing so that they will appeal to employers? We set out to answer this question in our new Digital Marketing Skills research report which is a free download summarising the 700 responses we received from marketers.
This ‘State of Digital Marketing skills‘ infographic summarises some of the main findings.
You can also read the full report if you are interested to discover which are the top in-demand skills.
As marketers today, we’re fortunate to have a huge number of free and low-cost online services to give us insight about our customers, competitors and market. They also help fuel our marketing by delivering automated relevant, real-time communications integrated across desktop and mobile and digital plus traditional marketing channels.
Our free digital marketing tools guide includes 30 categories of tools
To help shed light on the awesome range of online services available to support ‘hands-on’ marketers, working with the team at Smart Insights, I’ve created this new infographic that summarises what we see as the 5 tools in each of 30 categories. We have more detail on how we selected the top tools in this free digital marketing tools guide containing reviews of 150 different tools:
You can see we have tried to keep it practical by highlighting management tools for the main inbound marketing tools like SEO, AdWords, Conversion Rate Optimisation and Email marketing. But have also included some enterprise marketing management services suitable for larger organisations like Marketing Cloud and Marketing Automation services.
We were inspired by Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology landscape which does an excellent job of defining ‘enterprise’ tools for managing digital marketing, but can be difficult to read because of the sheer number of tools.
We also wanted to include more low-cost and free ‘hands-on’ insight tools which are important for managing activities like Search, Social media and conversion rate optimisation. These don’t tend to be included on Scott’s landscape. We also wanted to highlight the most popular, well-regarded services, particularly those which can be used across all sizes of businesses rather than being affordable only by the biggest brands.
If you want more details on why we chose the tools and some of their benefits, you can download our free guide here.
Here’s a new infographic from Smart Insights showing e-retail trends and growth. It highlights the growth of the Retail Ecommerce sector and shows some of the latest trends including the importance of mobile.
I’m not sure whether I’m criticising client-side or agency marketers here, or both. Either way, I’m looking to prompt marketers to think differently about their priorities.
Do you agree with my take on priorities?
This is my presentation to Prolific North Live in February 2016. I wanted it to be a little different from my usual presentation on Digital Marketing Trends…
We have a new infographic for the new year looking at the incredible volume of all the search and social media sharing activities that happen each and every minute across all the main digital marketing platforms.
The full post is on Smart Insights: What Happens in 60 Seconds Online.
It discusses the challenge for online marketers to counter “content shock” and in keeping up-to-date with the most significant developments.
Our research has shown that many marketers are now advocates of Content Marketing, but don’t have a Content Marketing strategy. I believe that since content marketing should be at the heart of digital marketing, a content strategy is essential, since specific tactics for other digital channels should flow from here. Content marketing can fuel SEO, Social media marketing, email marketing and conversion strategies too, meaning that they can managed together. From a customer point-of-view, a content marketing strategy supports customer engagement across the customer lifecycle.
So, what’s involved with developing and implementing a content marketing strategy? We cover this in our Smart Insights Content Strategy guide and I have also summarised it in this infographic which we have illustrated with our Content Marketing 2015 research report (free download) published with HubSpot.
I haven’t done any live blogging for a while, but have a chance before my talk at #DMXDublin from the Marketing Institute of Ireland and interesting to hear Mike Volpe CMO of Hubspot share their mindset – so I thought I’d share the 4 pillars that Hubspot’s marketing is based on.
So here are the four pillars:
ONE. Free Tools
An example of a tool created by Hubspot is Marketing Grader which although developed for just $5,000, originally has now been used more than 5 million times.
These should be:
- Fast (short time to value),
- Shareable (Virality)
HubSpot also have a new tool for Inbound Marketing ranking which we featured on the Smart Insights blog recently.
Solar winds – IT is an equivalent
TWO. Freemium model
Well-known examples or SurveyMonkey, Dropbox or publishers, e.g. Smart Insights.
Hubspot example – Sidekick – profiles in Email and Hubspot CRM
- Usage – get adoption before usage
- Tripwire – what is the perfect line between free and paid?
- Viraliity – product usage drives growth
Tips for Content Marketing
- Persona – focus on what your buyers want to consumer
- Media – not your direct competitors your competing with other media for attention
- Quality – highest quality wins the audience
This is ‘basically personalisation’ based on the stage in the buying process and their profile and how they interact with you. It also depend on device – mobile growing at 100% on site. Important for C-level for mobile.
Customers provide personalisation through browsing sites, clicking on emails. Mike gave the example of Acura a car brand where
The other aim is to make it human through social media too through real-time marketing.
Another insight was the ongoing impact of these activities – for Hubspot, 56% of leads are from more content assets or marketing campaigns created than than 1 month ago.
Earlier in February I was interviewed by Daniel Rowles of the excellent Digital Marketing podcast – Daniel and Ciaran Rogers have been running this podcast since 2010 and their interviews have become of one of the best ways of learning about the latest developments in Digital Marketing… particularly, if like many, you have a commute and a podcast is an efficient way of learning the latest.
In the discussion I discuss the latest trends, techniques and tools for getting better results from integrating digital marketing. Do let me know if you have any comments or questions in the comments or via social.
In the interview I summarise the research with the Technology for Marketing and Advertising Conference – 25th and 26th February London, where I will also be presenting it.
Resources mentioned in our discussion
State of Digital Marketing 2015 infographic
Here is the full State of digital marketing 2015 infographic we first shared on Smart Insights summarising the research we discussed in the report.
In the latest editions of my books on Digital Marketing, we feature the SmartInsights.com RACE framework for creating and managing a Digital Strategy. The idea behind RACE is to provide a simple structure for companies to develop a digital plan which meets the challenges of reaching and engaging online audiences to prompt conversion to online or offline sales.
To mark the start of 2015 we asked our friends at First 10 to update it to change from a focus on content marketing to a Digital Strategy focus as explained in the post where we launched it. I have added an introductory section on Digital Planning and reviewed and updated some of the KPIs, for example to reference the full range of VQVC KPIs for Digital. You can see that each stage of the visual gives an overview of the focus, tools and KPIs used to measure and control.
This RACE Digital Strategy infographic is one of a series of 10 infographics we have developed to help manage digital marketing. Smart Insights members can download all in this free compilation of digital marketing infographics.