6 Vital Digital Marketing Developments of 2016 — Halfway Grades

Just as quickly as the year seem to start, we have breezed through the Super Bowl, March Madness, the Stanley Cup, and NBA finals — now left in the halfway summer months where ESPN is dominated by soccer and baseball highlights. So it’s the perfect time to refer back to a blog post we posted in January about the six digital marketing developments every company should measure throughout 2016.

How did we do? It’s time to take a look and find out.

Development #1: Adaptive vs. Responsive Website Design

Even though time has passed quickly, our opinion on this matter has not changed. In 2008, Mary Meeker, an analyst at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byars, boldly claimed that “mobile to overtake fixed Internet access by 2014.”  While this seemed hard to believe at the time, it is clear that she was correct.

Yes, mobile dominates search. You can see this demonstrated by total shopping behavior, which mobile outranks desktop for total amount of devices used in search by the end of 2014 . 


Mobile Shopping Behavior


Confidently, I can say that no company would allow merchandise or apparel that is two years old to be the predominate items at their storefront or online retail. So why settle for technology that is clearly outdated?

For more information on mobile usage, check out this article from Smart Insights.  With Apple releasing the iPhone 7 into an inundated mobile market, an adaptive website platform ensures you capitalize on the various shopping devices at consumer’s disposal.

Development #2: Voice technology and Virtual Assistant

While this technology still seems to be largely ignored by the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, it is the consumers who will make buying decisions in the future that rely heavily on this technology.

Some sources say that more than 50% of 13-18 year-olds use voice technology for search every day.

With that being such a smaller demographic (for now), I do think we may have predicted this one a little too early. Apple’s Siri still has trouble deciphering different dialects, accents, and slang. This has prevented many people outside of the the youngest shoppers from relying on the technology or pushing it to the mainstream.

Development #3: Social media promotions demand more attention

Thankfully, the days of struggling to provide ROI for a Facebook or other social media campaign for businesses have ended. With Facebook’s ability to target being better than ever and the cost remaining relatively low when looking at other advertising mediums, we can firmly say that we believe that social media promotion should be added to everyone’s digital marketing tool belt.

Facebook has given companies the option to create ads leveraging uploaded database information, as well as multiple locations, behavior information, demographics, and more. That level of targetability should be enough to make any digital marketer excited. To make it even easier, Facebook has generated multiple how-to and informational guides that make this process simple with step-by-step instructions.

While social media channels like Instagram and Pinterest continue to gain traction and hold the attention of the younger shoppers, I expect that they will continue to improve their targetability and marketing functionalities. If you’re still doubting how effective social media can be for your business, read more in our previous blog on attracting more social media followers to your account.

Development #4: Companies with high retention yield high rewards

It is no secret in business that it costs much more to hire and train new employees than it does to retain a good one. As more and more business shifts to online purchasing, it is going to be imperative for companies to keep long-term employees with whom customers feel comfortable and trust.

At Reunion Marketing, many of our customers and partners are in the highly competitive automotive industry. This specific business has changed more in the last 5 years than the preceding 50, so sales people who are in tune with current technology and new strategies will be the ones who excel in the business environment.

For employers, listen and learn about what your new generation of workers are looking for in the workplace. Your business does not have to be the size of Google or Facebook to establish yourself as a positive, enjoyable working environment. Look at Business Insider’s article here about which companies are the best to work for in the country. It is not always the companies who provide the largest salaries to their employees, but those that allow flexibility and empower their employees who are retaining the top talent around.  


Development #5: Online transactions begin to merge

Netflix, Tesla, Uber, AirBnB, Warby Parker, and dozens of other companies have made headlines and millions by disrupting what was believed to be the common idea and challenging how consumers were interacted with in their particular industry.

Just as there was pushback about putting photos or pricing online out of fear of giving the customer too much power, the next stage — actual transactional opportunities — is quickly coming. Multiple verticals and industries are uselessly avoiding the point that consumers are going to want to shop and purchase from the comforts of their living room and most likely on their choice of device. For many industries, the thought of an online order scares the heck out of a sales person. After all, if someone can buy online, why do they need me?

Here’s your answer…

Be more valuable by focusing your efforts on customer retention and offering genuine expertise. There will always, in every industry, be the people who want to physically touch, sit, drive, or lay on their new car, mattress, furniture, shoes, etc. Be there for those people and close every new opportunity that enters your door.

Development #6: Search and social integration — Stand-alone services

In our last post on this topic, we discussed the amount of data that can be used effectively when you have one partner handling all of your company’s digital marketing. It is not just SEO that is a complex puzzle, but it is the digital marketing arena as a whole. Using your search and social data together provides you with the most opportunity to stay in front of consumers as they research and shop, as well as keep your business front of mind to your consumers who have purchased or may purchase from you later in the year.

The power of leveraging all your data and channeling it to create one cohesive strategy and message should appeal to businesses who are looking to gain an advantage on their competition. To learn more about how digital marketing companies can combine data and strategy to drive up our customer results, simply let us know today!

All in all, 2016 has provided us with new technology, new Google algorithms, and new Facebook ad changes. The exciting thing for digital marketers is that we are barely just halfway through the year. Very similar to how messaging needed to change and adapt with the times through TV, radio and print years ago, your digital marketing strategy should always be evolving and changing based on data and new technology. The only difference is that today, it is happening much, much quicker than ever before.



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