5 Must Practice Digital Strategies for the Year 2015 - #ARM Worldwide

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Our first year of operation as #ARM Worldwide with collective independent experience of over 40 man-years was put in to write Digital Marketing trends for 2014. This year, we thought of going beyond and talking about must implement a strategic direction – which translates to predictions with a specific direction. As one of the leading digital consultancy companies in India, we decided to do what we do best, that is, think of solutions.

Five digital strategic changes that we feel that every brand big, small, thin or fat organization must incorporate to rocket boost its digital presence, ensure higher digital engagement and set an example for others to live by. Here is our list:

Brands should do in 2015

1) Live Wire Agility – listening to what consumers say and doing analysis will drive key strategic decisions for the brand.

Resurrect and renew not reconstruct

In the business world, we are in love with the idea of doing new things from the scratch thanks to a scintillating new plan and in the process abandoning old ideas. But often we abandon ideas half way though or in half baked stage when maybe one more iteration and it could have ben a ground breaking move. What would hold key in 2015 would be a model of evolution and refinement as much as the model of innovation, which is evergreen. It would be important to improvise and excel in the practices and efforts we developed and deployed in 2014.

Social Media listening will hold the key

Social Media listening would be one of the ideas every brand would have to revisit, but with an additional leg of Social Media Analytics. These analytics would then not only allow an effective ORM but also serve as a database to build upon an automation tool that with the help of AI and sentimental analysis would help automatize a lot of Social Media processes such as standard query response, freeing up resources for creating an emotionally engaging content while leaving everyday tasks to a tool that would take care of it.

Automate Social Media and concentrate on engagements

Social media automation, therefore would be an interesting option in 2015. To put things clearly and in context, if you had your social media listening right in the soul of your brand and an effective and workable strategy in the head thanks to your body that is capable of automating the processes, with your hands busy innovating through personal engagement, the entire end product, when seen from the outside by an influencer or a connected consumer would make for a beautiful story worth talking about and sharing, which lets face it, is wanted.

2) My POV take it or leave it – unbiased or unbiased along with brand owners perspective at source.

The 1-99 creation rule is history

In the world of Digital Media or Digital PR we have extracted great comfort in the fact that as a brand we are content producers while an influencer or a blogger would use that content as a source to create and disseminate content that revolves around it. However, what most of the brands would need to realize is that only 1% of the content on the web is directly created or communicated by them while the other 99% of the content is either interpreted or written as a follow up story which may or may not be accurate or project the message that the brand had in mind.

Content produced by influencers should clearly convey the brand story

As a result, it becomes extremely critical for a brand to ensure that the content produced by the influencers or bloggers is in conjunction with what their message is. And since the influencer community is always unbiased and completely fair, the only solution is to engage with them in a community like fashion and explain and incorporate their feedbacks.

Do regular engagements than a single source information blast

Therefore, instead of a pure single source blast, forums and community development would be absolutely crucial for all the brands to ensure that the content created around them is in synchronization with the brand story, positioning and target. Regular engagements instead of just depending upon a single PR blast are essential given the digital prowess that every connected user possesses.

3) Let’s not talk mobile first, let’s walk mobile first

We may have gone mobile, but our ecosystem is still desktop driven

We have been talking going mobile first for a while now. In fact we have plenty of data that supports the notion and is propelling us towards the idea of going mobile first. Facts like over 30% of of 1.32 billion users browse Facebook purely on mobile and using mobile apps are significant and clearly outline the large shift from desktop to mobile and other mobile mediums such as tablets. However, even today, while we may have moved to developing more mobile friendly websites and basic things like that, we have not moved into an eco system which is purely mobile driven.

Define clearly of what goes mobile and at what stage

If we talk about stages of going mobile, the first definitely has to be having a website that is mobile ready and designed for mobile viewing than desktop. To a large extent we did this all through 2014, however its the next two steps which brands would have to cater to which includes- producing content that is purely kept in mind for hosting on mobile and creating an ecosystem of apps and tools that we use commonly use on desktop and bring them to a pure mobile experience. It is necessary to create content specifically for mobile because on an average a user spends about 33 minutes watching a video on mobile per day while the same on desktop is just 22, the funny stat is that the user attention or the video average length on mobile is much shorter than on desktop. While television and desktop video viewing may remain the popular video mediums for now, if you are actively looking to target mobile audience, you must have content that is specifically catering to the demographic demand of the mobile consumer.

Let’s take the functional tools mobile in 2015

As far as the tools go even the most basic ones, be it productivity or task specific or even in-house designed ones, must be converted from being pure web based services to having a fully functional mobile app on at least the important and commonly used mobile Operating Systems. 2015 should be an year where even complicated tasks, such as uploading a creative and running an ad on an ad serving network should be as easy as logging into the application and selecting the creative from your photo gallery.

4) Lay foundations for Programmatic marketing

Key is understanding what Programmatic marketing is

In the years gone by, we have sworn by re-marketing as the preferred method to engage customers based on some prior heads up on their interests. However, while re-marketing can ensure a conversion, quality of engagement is never assured. This is where a superset of retargeting that is programmatic marketing comes into fore. The term in itself refers to a marketing campaign that is triggered off in itself by occurrence of an event or an action that is captured by an automated tool or a server, which results in a follow-up. Re-targeting, real time bidding on an inventory, product customization, mailer campaign when purchase abandoned are some of the methods for programmatic marketing.

Face the challenge and collect relevant data

The big challenge currently the model faces is the lack of sufficient data and backend analytics to serve accurately in order to provide a contextually relevant and a personalized experience to a customer. There have been cases such as hyper-targeting campaign run by Audi for the launch of A3 where they relied upon the data of VISA/ MasterCard to help target only a set target audience. With pragmatic buying, most of the online inventory would be sold via an auction ready to serve model with minimum human insertion. These ads have a set target audience and unless that criteria is met, an impression is not served. As a result, for 2015, it would be an excellent idea to build big enough database both on the publisher and the buyer end to establish proper functioning of this model.

The propositions going forward are massive

The worldwide RTB or Real Time Bidding is expected to grow to almost $20 billion by 2017* from almost $3 million in 2012 clearly laying a foundation that the future marketing model, which would in turn ensure a hyper targeted personalized ad experience better ROI on campaigns with scalable, granular and more data driven media buying and planning.

5) Marry the In shop and Digital Experiences

Offline experience is still invaluable

With the rise of e-commerce a lot of brands have in a way boycotted an offline or retail experience. While there may be plenty of reasons such as the growing internet penetration and internet audience being more educated than offline one, a good inshore experience is just as critical when it comes to converting a purchase. An impulsive buy, good sales skills with convincing power as well as real product touch and feel are some of the most important features of an offline sales channel that an online sales channel will never be able to compete.

Bring digital offline 

As a result it becomes absolutely key to marry online and offline experience in a way that one supports the other without one acting independently of the other. Bringing over a digital experience such as live digital browsing on devices in a tech store to allow the experience of online web in a brick and mortar store where people can enjoy both the worlds is one example of a collaborative world where things work in a conjunction.

Coexistence of both models is where big win is

It is necessary therefore to not disrupt one model for another and live in a supportive ecosystem, which has the consumer experience at heart in an online-offline collaborative piece. Brands such as Samsung and Apple have achieved this beautifully by owning their own offline presence and using that as a single display for the liquid digital content which can change season on season.

It is necessary therefore to not disrupt one model for another and live in a supportive ecosystem, which has the consumer experience at heart in an online-offline collaborative piece. Brands such as Samsung and Apple have achieved this beautifully by owning their own offline presence and using that as a single display for the liquid digital content which can change season on season.

5+1) Therefore, the Mantra to live by in 2015

Trade like stocks, knowing you won’t lose out

Before anything else, it would be absolutely key for every brand to take it on board and understand that digital visibility is very much like trading in a stock market. Unless you experiment, and try options you will never know what will be the best gains. The good part here is that entry into digital to try things is largely free or available at very cheap entry-level cost.

Experiencing may be cheap, you still have to buy a ticket for a full journey

The road ahead may not be cheap or less resourceful when compared to other mediums, but you do get an idea at a very nascent point of association of whether the strategy would work out or not for your brand or campaign allowing you to focus your energy and resources elsewhere if things need refinement. It would be a great idea for brands in 2015 to explore literally every possible avenue of engagement and measure the returns tangibly and compare back to the investment made.

Do what works for you the best

If the ratio is in the positive, you have just discovered what will work out for you. While digital will continue to grow, and you do not need a domain expert to tell that to you, what will need to change in 2015 is your approach as well as refinement of what you do, more than doing new things that is not heard of. None of us could predict the big Tsunami, unheard of, which will hit the digital coast, yet, we can continue to build upon our grasslands and strengthen the roots so that in all the likelihood of no Tsunami, our houses are flourishing and built like a champion.

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