2014 has come and gone, and while the holidays provided a nice time for reflecting on all that happened during the past year, they also gave us the opportunity to look ahead to 2015. Another year of hopes and possibilities. Another year of advancements in digital and social media. What will the new year bring? What’s the next Selfie or the next Ello? How will Facebook change its platform next – and how many times in the next 12 months?
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been thinking about potential trends and advancements our industry will see in 2015 based on things we’ve already seen and what we’re hearing from customers.
Here’s what we think will happen in 2015:
Traditional researchers will begin to incorporate social media data into their current research methods.
We’re already seeing this to a degree, but we think we’ll see the practice increase significantly in 2015. There are vast amounts of information readily accessible to researchers online and as it continues to grow at a rapid pace, more and more will realize the power of using it. But we’re not only talking about secondary research. Brands and Marketing organizations need to connect with customers in a seamless, ongoing, meaningful and personal way. Using social media for conducting primary research can be an efficient and less costly way to handle gathering primary data compared to traditional formats like focus groups. Some social media analytics companies are already strengthening relationships with researchers, doing things like giving them guidance on how they can use social media data.
Marketers will expand the uses of influencer marketing beyond pushing promotions and begin using it for things like product development.
For some reason, when marketers think “influencer marketing” there seems to be a tendency to think about it in a very push manner, focusing only on sales – how can we use these influencers to help us sell products? In 2015, marketers will realize how shortsighted that type of thinking is and how valuable influencers are for a variety of other functions. They can provide worthwhile information and opinions that can help companies develop new products, new markets, refine distribution or customer service and improve creative.
The continued growth of mobile will make it more important than ever for marketers to know their customers at an intimate level – and far beyond simply their interactions with their brand’s products.
Technology analyst firm IDC predicts that sales of smartphones will reach $484 billion in 2015 and account for 40% of all IT spending growth. While not the rapid growth we’ve seen in some past years, those numbers still indicate a strong, growing mobile industry. In the past few years, companies focused on omni-channel marketing have popped up all over to help sellers unify their efforts between the digital and physical sales spaces – but the continued rise in mobile displays a need for marketers to go further in their customer research than simply knowing the platform customers are using for purchases. Customers can be reached everywhere now, and targeting them with the right message at the right time is more important than ever. Marketers will need to see more qualitative research on their customers showing information such as what they read, their values and who influences them.
Next year we’ll see marketers proactively incorporating data into their campaigns.
You might be saying, don’t marketers always incorporate data, since you know, big data has been all the rage in 2013 and 2014? True, big data has been popular, but marketers haven’t been using data as much as they could. While the past few years have seen an influx of data readily available at our fingertips, these large amounts of data have led to analysis paralysis. There’s a lot of measurement being done, but it’s not always used in the best way possible – sometimes it’s not used at all. A comprehensive data strategy with streamlined data analysis will make it more likely that in 2015, marketers will actively use data, not just collect it.
2015 will see some evolutionary changes in marketing, due primarily to advancements in big data solutions and the strength of the CMO in the executive suite. Will you adopt more social data into your research? Start to use influencer marketing for product development? Stay in touch with what we’re seeing by subscribing to our blog.