Did they come true?
by Sharon A.M. MacLean
New predictions for digital marketing hits and misses are out now. HubSpot leads the way with their forecasts. This visionary company follows the likes of MOZ Founder Rand Fishkin, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezoz, and Social Media Examiner Founder Michael Stelzner. HubSpot has made enormous strides since it launched in 2006. I’ve been a fan for the last four years when they drew me in with their free and irresistible content—known today as inbound marketing.
So, I’m really careful about attaching my own observations to their prognoses. Their projections are like manna for the 47.5% of early adopters and early majority according to the Diffusion of Innovation Theory. That leaves 50% of business types in the late majority and laggard categories who contend that the life of a pioneer is an expensive one.
Here’s my take on their forecasts from last year.
1. Real-time campaigns win over stop-and-starts
Author David Meerman Scott says, “the days of promotions planned in advance with flight dates” bookended by moments of silence from the company as marketers planned and held post-mortems are over.” Consumers live on their devices and want instant information to their queries.
It makes sense that information be made available to consumers through mobile devices, websites, landing pages, and automated emails. It’s now easy enough and more economical. However, I do hear struggles from business people who say they simply cannot keep up to the demands of social medial postings or creation of content. There’s a difference between casually posting a comment when we’re moved compared to producing volumes on deadline.
More time is required by business people to create or even stockpile the content they need for the search engines. And to get used to concepts such as editorial planning calendars and to use social media aids such as Hoot Suite.
2. Inbound marketing will spread enterprise-wide
Do you even understand the term? Inbound marketing—pure and simple—is advertising a company through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, enewsletters, whitepapers, SEO, and social media marketing.
Except it’s a lot of work. Before the Big Digital Makeover took hold, all that was needed by business owners or marketing reps to push out their message was to press the button that dropped an advertisement in newspapers, magazines, and billboards in their city or across the country. I called it the path of least resistance. Today, stories need to be researched and well written, blogs created, podcasts recorded to pull in consumers who spend 60% of their buying time online doing research before talking to a sales rep.
3. Email lives on
I’m a believer. Personalized emails or those sent through segmented lists informed by a person’s habits is the 21st century of direct response marketing that took off in the early 80s. It’s always been true that our names mean everything to us, that we love to see how others care about what we think, that the sender knows about our individual habits, and that we are more than a detached number. We want to be recognized as individuals. Or, at least, to pretend that it’s true.
Marketers sent more than 838 billion emails last year—more than all the other social networks combined. Improved technologies now support ongoing conversations with a consumer based on the habit of filling out forms, downloading ebooks, or the time of day night we open our emails. Personalized email improve open rates by 14%.
4. Content and social matters even more than SEO
Yes—finally—Google is moving closer to how humans search online compared to the bots who ruled the cosmos for the last 15 years. This one came from Rand Fishkin of MOZ, the people who rank the trustworthiness of your websites and their links. I couldn’t be more happy.
Google upped the game when they started focusing on quality content, in-depth articles, and social recommendations.