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2011 digital marketing trends

My predictions on 11 marketing trends for 2011

I'm was early in reviewing marketing trends for 2011 since I presented my predictions on the latest developments at the IDM/DMA North Annual Conference in October 2010. You can view my presentation at the end of this post.

2011 update - predictions in key areas of Internet marketing

Since this post has been popular and we've been learning from what others have been saying as we enter 2011, we've also created a series of posts giving our recommendations on strategies you could consider for your 2011 marketing. To make them more useful we give links through to other recommendations and where you can get started. We have top tactics for 2011 for:

I also updated the presentation embedded at the end of the post for a talk I gave at Manchester Metropolitan University.

11 trends in Internet marketing for 2011 from Dave Chaffey

In my review, I"€™ll focus on the trends that matter based on a roundup of some of the major developments in 2010 and some ideas on how best to respond to these in 2011.

Trends 1 through 6 are relatively new opportunities for companies to exploit approaches in digital marketing which have only been exploited well by the few. Trends 7 to 11 are challenges and headaches for marketers which must be managed to be successful. They're in rough order of importance for the average organisation (if there is such a thing) in my opinion.

As always, I'm interested to hear what you think. What I've missed or where the emphasis is wrong?

Trend 1 Content / engagement strategy

We all know that "Content is King" was the mantra through the 1990s and then "Context was Queen". Today we realise that exceptional content is the key to acquiring customers through search engine optimisation and social media as part of inbound marketing. It's also essential to keep customers engaged with a brand via different touchpoints like the website, "social outposts", email marketing and apps.

And of course, it's not just text content, video content, podcasts, apps all to match all preferences. It's been good to see increased attention on content strategy in 2010 with several new books on the topic. Since I believe it's so important to success online, that's why it's Number 1.

Takeaway: Develop and refine your content strategy to compete effectively in your category.

Trend 2 Digital Marketing Optimisation

In the beginning there was search engine optimisation, then conversion rate optimisation and social media optimisation (hate that term). The analytical tools available to digital marketers enable analysis and optimisation of performance as provided by many agencies in these fields. Integration of toolsets through APIs and XML feeds has supported the growth of a rich set of free and paid tools. See the Google Analytics Application Gallery for the wealth of tools available.

Takeway: Put in place processes and resources to support optimisation. Harness the free and paid tools to support analysis and automation.

Trend 3 Right Touching

Our prospects and customers increasingly use multiple channels when selecting products and services switching between digital media and traditional media. So it's important to understand their preferences and facilitate switching from print to online and vice versa.

Since outbound contacts are still vital in selecting the right print or email message frequency and message according to position in the lifecycle helps repeat sales. Smart companies have developed an automated email lifecycle with the right business rules to maximise engagement and sale.

Takeaway: Refine and automate your contact strategies to support right touching requires investment in integrated contact strategies project upfront which is why many haven't implemented yet.

Trend 4 Social media marketing

You may have heard of this... People don't go online to "surf the web" today, they "Facebook". Every company needs a Facebook strategy and the right resources to manage it unless their brand is so badly perceived it will do more harm than good. Nestle? For other companies, B2B? Twitter may be more important. We'll look at some examples that show that success in an individual social media is achieved by understanding what you want to achieve from each channel, a clear idea of the value proposition and then resourcing it to deliver. But it's underpinned by having the right content and touch strategies to integrate with other channels.

Takewaway: Decide on the priorities for your different social presences, for example using our digital marketing radar and again resource and review to make effective

Trend 5 The resurgence of display advertising

Resurgence may be overstating it but many companies have found the newer remarketing and retargeting options available through established ad networks and Google's new Adwords Remarketing feature effective. Using weighted attribution studies can also help establish the value of the display advertising halo effect.

Takeaway: Review this recent Comscore whitepaper showing the most effective forms of display advertising.

Trend 6 Mobile Strategy

The growth in use of Apple App store has been phenomenal, increasing by several billions of downloads in 2010. Meanwhile other handset manufacturers are achieving success with apps, although Apple still has over two thirds of the market by download. See my post about mobile app strategy which summarises the growth and the options of app strategy.

Trend 7 Googlization

In many countries, including the UK Google still drives the majority of traffic or it should if you get your SEO and PPC right. It's increasingly important for generating awareness and display through the new Googled Display (formerly content) network too which in 2010 saw remarketing added. Google is so important for most pureplays that you could say you need a specific "Google Strategy". A Google strategy requires an intimate understanding of your online marketplace or ecosystem. Oftentimes partnering, PR and contextual advertising can help you by thinking beyond your own SERPs position.

There is even a book on Googlization out in 2011.

Trend 8 Online channel integration

With growth of importance of social media channels it has been suggested that email marketing is dead or less relevant. My belief is the two work best in an integrated way. To get ideas on the best strategies to achieve this I recommend signing up to Social Email Marketing.

Trend 9 Touchpoint attribution

Since online conversion to sale may occur over several site visits, it's important to analyse and attribute sale to all of the channels that contributed, not just the last click. Online marketers have been grappling with this for a long time, but in 2010 these cases show that more companies got on top of this.

Takeaway: See this attribution case study for an idea of what's required.

Trend 10 Privacy wars

Many of the keys to success online have a dirty secret - they rely on cookies. From Google Analytics to Remarketing to on-site personalisation, persistent cookies are needed to track and target behaviour.

But the media are intent on scaring consumers about threats to their privacy so unless marketers take action we're going to lose some of the greatest benefits of online medias which will negatively effect marketers.

Trend 11 Digital marketing = Marketing?

We can no longer call digital media new now. With an increasing amount of media consumption and media spend migrating online, some are suggesting we don't need a separate discipline of digital marketing, we don't need separate digital strategies, but integration is the name of the game. What do you think?

Expert Commentator

Dave is CEO and co-founder of Smart Insights. He is editor of the 100 templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ Digital Marketing experts. Our resources used by our Expert members in more than 80 countries to Map, Plan and Manage their digital marketing. For my full profile, or to connect on LinkedIn or other social networks, see the About Dave Chaffey profile page on Smart Insights. Dave is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Emarketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing.

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