The world of marketing as we know it is a constantly changing beast. Privacy issues dominate the news headlines at the same time we see brand journalism taking a greater role in the proliferation of news, and newspapers starting to offer promoted content (ahem, New York Times). Recently, I sat down with several of our department managers to ask them about where they saw our industry heading this year.
TREND #1: NATIVE ADVERTISING
Julie Yamamoto, a veteran PR leader and managing director of the earned media department, believes native advertising will make a bigger splash than ever. Last year, both The New York Times and the Associated Press announced native advertising platforms, and Altimeter Group released research and guidelines for publishers and brands. She says, “Watch for more formats and options as publishers continue to experiment.”
Advertising will continue to impact how brands use social media. “We’ll see limitations on the ability for brands to grow their content and following organically,” Julie said. “The major social networks will all convert to or improve self-service advertising platforms in a rush to demonstrate revenue for their investors.”
TREND #2: NEWSROOMS ARE BACK
While the trend away from traditional newsroom models has been well documented over the past few years, the lessons they hold for brands are here to stay.
That’s because quick-turn, high-quality content and better storytelling is the secret sauce brands need to try to capture if they are going to become trustworthy thought-leaders.
Journalists have always understood that to appeal to audiences, news must be timely, tangible, in sync with a larger trend, have human interest and be entertaining or educational. It also must be credible. Brands are learning these lessons too, and organizational structures are starting to shift to better mimic the newsroom model. We’re now seeing marketing departments designed after newsrooms, with managing editors and assignment desks to help plan and assign; content creators and “reporters” skilled at multi media creation designed to capture maximum audience attention and produce under tight deadlines; and publishers who master the fine art of amplification across social, digital and traditional avenues.
According to Darcie Meihoff, VP/executive director, CMD Earned Media, it’s a model CMD has refined over the past few years for clients such as Microsoft, Intel and Expedia – from reporting “live” at key events where content is created and published right from the show floor, to building ongoing content models to support deeper community engagement.
“At its core, the emphasis has to be journalism, not marketing,” she said. “The goal is to look at it as objectively as possible from the audience’s point of view while also being willing to tell and share not only the wins, but also the challenges and lessons learned. It sounds simple, but for corporate marketers trained to focus on telling their brand story in the most positive light possible, that kind of balanced, straight forward and quick turn storytelling can be tough to master.”
TREND #3: DIGITAL SOLUTIONS FOR EVENT SUCCESS
By connecting the dots, digital solutions are recreating the way we plan and design event experiences for clients. Jon Agee, our associate director of events, sees digital solutions for event registration, navigation, attendee engagement, content presentation and real-time feedback via social channels sharply increasing.
“Event marketers are discovering new ways to provide optimal environments,” Jon says. “Event experiences will grow richer in opportunities for face-to-face interaction to match the rise of peer-influenced perceptions in social media, inspiring digital both during and after the event.”
TREND #4: CONTENT MARKETING
Just when you thought “content marketing” was a buzz term soon to go the way of “ROI” and “optimization,” think again. Gary Rubin, earned media account director, predicts:
“Content marketing will continue to become more important as companies look to make deeper connections with potential customers.”
The rub? “Companies need to get better at creating engaging content that accomplishes their objectives.”
Content marketing will fragment as two very different strategies emerge. According to Kevin Murphy, director of digital strategy, the first will be thinly disguised advertising and a lot of syndication, while the second will be truer to corporate journalism, where the people creating the content are in it as much for the consumer as they are for the marketing message.
TREND #5: MOBILE ADVANCES
Mobile, of course, continues to have a huge impact across all industries, its success propelled by what Matthew Douglas, integrated production director, calls the continued personalization and customization of content. As people are more willing to share their data, the messages and content will become more tailored. He says, “Mobile commerce is still a small part of total sales, but mobile research—either before an online purchase or while in-store is a growing trend.”
“Conversion of a mobile researcher into a mobile buyer means companies need to provide better contextual offers. For example, if someone is researching small personal electronics, getting a relevant offer for accessories or batteries – makes sense and may drive them to make a mobile purchase.”
What are your predictions? Leave a comment below or tweet us your thoughts @cmdportland.