According to Fi Bendall, managing director of Bendalls Group, which has worked on digital strategy for clients like ANZ, Origin Energy and Coles, digital marketing today is more about understanding your consumer than the latest technologies.
1. If it’s not mobile, don’t do it
As consumers increasingly rely on their mobile devices (that is, mobile phones and tablets) to research products and shop, Bendall says mobile should be an essential component of any business’s digital marketing strategy.
“We completely rely on our mobiles to maximise every moment of our lives. It’s like multitasking on acid and it’s not going away,” she says.
“Years ago I heard the CEO of Nokia in Europe say the mobile device will become the communicator and that there won’t be anything else in our hands – that’s exactly the way things are going. So, if it’s not mobile and it’s not accessible pretty quickly, then don’t do it.”
According to Bendall, there is also a move towards subscription models for apps, providing another opportunity for businesses to generate money.
“If you’re talking strategically, I don’t think pay walls are the way to go but I do think subscription-based models will be an interesting way for businesses to earn money.”
2. The power of data and consumer behaviour
According to Bendall, businesses need to understand the power of data.
“With the emergence of mobile becoming the thing we all rely on, consumers will also take control of their lifestyle data to get what they want,” she says, noting the importance of looking at digital marketing from the consumer’s point of view.
“You’ll get a lot more insight than looking at what’s the hot piece of tech that’s just been launched. I’m definitely of the view that it’s consumer behaviour driving all of this. It’s almost like technology is rushing to keep up with consumer demand, whereas before it was technology influencing the consumer behaviour.”
User experience is becoming more and more important, according to Bendall, who says businesses should be putting 10 per cent of their budgets towards usability.
“I think in the coming 12 months, usability is going to become really, really important from a technology point of view – understanding consumer behaviour and consumer experience. Not building something and saying, ‘Hey, this is cool’.”
4. Crowd Funding
This year has seen an increase in the acceptance and prevalence of crowd funding, says Bendall, and it is a trend affecting how businesses can fund their own developments, allowing more emerging products and markets to develop.
“This is going to be quite an interesting area to watch. You’re seeing consumers jump in far more easily than they perhaps have done so in the past,” she says.
5. Social media
While social media is nothing new in the digital marketing sphere, it will continue to be a powerful tool for businesses in 2015.
However, Bendall says businesses need to get better at it.
“Small businesses aren’t utilising it as a transactional channel. They need to increase their skills and use it in an intuitive way. Think about a niche group you can attract,” she says.