A key trend in overall digital strategy development is the ongoing popularity of digital transformation programmes. A recent poll on a members' webinar in digital transformation showed that a third of businesses are planning transformation within the next 12 months with a quarter already having embarked on them. This is similar to what we’ve seen in our more general surveys.
Within digital marketing strategy, there is continued interest in developing integrated digital marketing strategies across multiple channels. Digital transformation programmes are a response to the challenges of digital silos in some companies where there has been a failure to integrate digital across a company. Instead, we recommend using a customer-centered approach to audit your approach for different personas across the lifecycle as shown below.
Ultimately, it is the business, marketing, and brand development strategies which drive the growth of a business, so it is important to have a sound marketing strategy and branding in place before working on the digital tactics. Otherwise, it’s likely your hard work on the digital tactics will be wasted if they are directed at the wrong audience and your value proposition isn’t strong enough.
The key trend here is the way digital technologies and media offer the opportunities for digital disruption. Yet digital marketing is not always used as a disruptor. Digital marketing is more often used for market penetration than new product or market development (these are the classic Ansoff growth strategies). To give you a benchmark, this new CMO Survey research from Duke University Fuqua Business School, Deloitte and the American Marketing Association based on the views of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) in large US organizations is useful. It’s interesting since it translates the theory of Ansoff into practice, showing how businesses are mainly investing, but other strategies are significant.
Since Google dominates the results that businesses get from search engine marketing our summary of the search trends here focuses on Google. Carolanne Mangles reported for us back in August on some of the biggest changes Google made in 2018, many of which will be deployed and evolve in 2019. The most obvious change is the launch of the Google Marketing Platform which saw AdWords renamed to Ads and the DoubleClick ad platform and analysis tools like Google Analytics, Data Studio, and AB testing through data studio more tightly integrated.
For organic search the update to keep an eye on in 2019 is Google’s Speed Update which penalizes slower sites and was released after months of trials. While this will initially only affect the slowest sites, from past experience, we can expect Google will change the weighting on the algorithm to affect more sites that don’t improve their speed within time.
We can expect that Instagram ad spend continues to increase in line with increased usage and better advertising options on the platform. This shift in ad spend is indicated by a Merkle report of their clients' investments that showed that while Facebook ad spend grew 40 percent year over year in Q2 2018, ad spend on Instagram jumped 177 percent during the same time period.
Within Facebook, increased use of Messenger is an opportunity. The latest statistics from Facebook show the importance of Messenger: with 1.3 billion people use Messenger every month; 8 billion messages exchanged between people and businesses every month and 78% of people with smartphones using messaging every month. As well as targeted sponsored ads, use of Messenger for conversations is a major trend. Nike has one of the most advanced commercial chat applications and well used implementations I have seen that is worth checking out.