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Digital marketing trends 2012

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 03 Jan, 2012
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12 digital marketing fundamentals to get right in 2012

At the turn of the year, it’s always worth reflecting on the opportunities and challenges ahead to help shape priorities for marketing. In a recent talk for AdTech London, I identified 12 marketing trends, available in the Slideshare embed at the end of the post. In this post I’ll highlight some of the main opportunities and I've added links to our posts and guides to help you think through your strategy.

We've kept this post available on the blog for historical reference, for the most up-to-date marketing trends see our 2015 Digital Marketing trends predictions.

Most important marketing trend for 2012 : creating a cross-channel engagement strategy

We can be sure that there will be will be lots of announcements of exciting innovations and marketing trends in all of the search and social networks within in 2012. We look forward to covering them within our alerts, but they can be distractions from your overall strategy, so it helps to get the basics right and you need a defined digital marketing strategy for this.

The marketing trends which I cover in the 12 points below define how will you offer value to your audiences and encourage them to share content to help your online visibility. So we think it's important to.....

Source: Keep-calm-o-matic

Increasingly, the evolution of the algorithms of the search and social networks will favour companies who have a good engagement strategy, as I said at the start of my talk:

The importance of developing an engaging, shareable brand increases each day as algorithms evolve (especially Facebook, Google, LinkedIn) and

A solid digital marketing strategy will help give focus for growing an online presence through encouraging engagement and sharing through a content marketing strategy. All the 12 activities below are focused on creating an integrated engagement strategy based on a content marketing strategy with the right goals and KPIs for content marketing. If you don’t have sufficient investment or process for content marketing, I urget companies to make this a priority in 2012.

OK, more than enough pre-amble, these are the 12 opportunities for 2012:

Marketing Trend 1. Search engine optimisation (SEO)

Despite all the interest in social media marketing, the data on what drives visits shows that search still drives a significant proportion of traffic, so smart marketers use a deeper approach to SEO others.

With Google’s major Panda update in 2011 there’s opportunity in thinking how you can develop unique, shareable content.

Recommended: Beat the Panda by Mel Henson

RecommendedWebsite optimisation for SEO by James Gurd

Marketing trend 2. Social media optimisation (SMO)

As I discussed in my post on the definition of SMO, SMO provides a framework to take social media marketing to the next level. Many companies have a presence and are active on the social networks. The next stage is to develop a social media strategy and optimise how content is shared and how it supports customer journeys through to sale. There’s also a need to look at how content is shared through key influencers and developing an approach for influencer outreach as part of social media monitoring.

RecommendedWhat is Social Media Optimisation by Dave Chaffey

Digital marketing trend 3. Content optimisation

Content optimisation is closely related to SMO and developing a content marketing strategy. To succeed needs a deep understanding of customer preferences; analysis of what works for competitors and then development of your findability and shareability for content.

Recommended: 7 Steps to Content Marketing Strategy Guide

Digital marketing trend 4. Content aggregation

With the incredible amount of content generated every 60 seconds online getting cut-through is a big challenge for the marketer and as a consumer of content, finding the important developments that make a difference is a challenge too. Content curation and aggregation is how we try to help and you can use tools to tame the social media firehose too.

Recommended: Tools to tame the social media firehose

Digital marketing trend 5. Gamification

There was a lot of interest in our post on gamification. It’s an interesting new approach to engage online audiences, but we’ll see how widely it can be applied.

Recommended: Gamification for marketing by Dan Bosomworth

6. Video marketing

We’ve had a lot of interest in YouTube marketing too and this suggests many marketers are going to “up their game” on video marketing. Remember that You Tube is the second most important search engine in many countries.

Recommended: B2B video marketing options by Rene Power

7. Ad network innovation

I think there’s growing awareness that there is value in display advertising beyond the click, for it’s value in building awareness, encouraging searches on a brand or category and subsequent visits to a website. There are also a lot of new approaches to target, for example Google’s Remarketing and new display formats too which integrate content marketing and social sharing. This is an area I’m interested in covering more on the blog, so watch this space.

8. Privacy compliance

With compliance for the new privacy law required by May 2012 how companies interpret the ICO advice is sure to be an issue for all marketers who manage website in 2011.

Recommended: Latest guidance on on UK Cookie Law

9. Cross-channel optimisation

Since we specialise in digital marketing innovations, we naturally focus on digital approaches, but these are only part of the broader multichannel customer journey in many cases, so this is an area that warrants better understanding and optimisation of the customer touchpoints.

10. Mobile marketing

As we saw in our recent post by James Bott, there are many mobile marketing strategy options.

Of these options we have seen lots of interest on the blog this year in QR code marketing and this fits the increasing consumer usage of QR codes which seems like it is nearing tipping point.

Recommended: 7 mobile marketing options by James Bott

11. Website performance optimisation

The last two approaches have been around for a long time, really possible since the first websites, since log files were available for analysis, but with the new features of Google Analytics v5 and Google Website Optimizer which we have a discussed a lot this year, hopefully their usage will increase.

Recommended: The 10 most useful features in the new Google Analytics by Dan Barker

12. Performance marketing

But there’s more to driving better results through analytics than having the right tools in place. People, process and setting the right KPIs are all important to. We’re sure to be discussing those on Smart Insights in the year ahead too.

Recommended: 7 Steps Guide to Delivering results from Digital Marketing

Recommended: 7 Steps Guide to Improving results from your website

All the best for 2012. It should be interesting!

You can see more examples and practical tips within my presentation:


Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. 'Dr Dave' is known for his strategic, but practical, data-driven advice. He has trained and consulted with many business of all sizes in most sectors. These include large international B2B and B2C brands including 3M, BP, Barclaycard, Dell, Confused.com, HSBC, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, M&G Investment, Rentokil Initial, O2, Royal Canin (Mars Group) plus many smaller businesses. Dave is editor of the templates, guides and courses in our digital marketing resource library used by our Business members to plan, manage and optimize their marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is also keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing 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. My personal site, DaveChaffey.com, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

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