In the coming year, marketing will continue to evolve, while data will be more important than ever.
Demand generation will be a bigger focus than ever for marketing departments this year. While the role of a demand-generation marketer did not even exist 10 years ago, there's now a clear understanding that marketers are responsible for forecasting and driving revenue. In fact, an increasing number of companies now require marketing to demonstrate its impact on revenue.
The demand generation is now a discipline of its own, and within that discipline, here are three trends that will evolve this year:
Content Marketing Will Mature
Companies that can effectively tell a customer-centric story and engage their potential customers through innovative content will succeed in generating demand through content marketing. But this year, content marketers will need to be able to justify their spending. There is more brand content than ever before; if you do not relate to your buyers or communicate with them via their preferred channels, it will be harder to get them to engage.
Successful marketing organizations will spend time and energy on how their content marketing is planned and executed. To do this, marketers must become more data-driven about their content. This begins with mapping content to buyer personas and throughout the buyer journey. Your buyer personas will help you define your audience – their challenges, questions, needs, and the kind of content they like to consume. Their buying stages tell you what each piece of content should accomplish. If you haven't already, use your customer data to build personas and understand customer journeys. Next, identify the goal for each piece of content. Finally, make sure your marketing analytics will help you understand what's working and what's not.
Multichannel Communication Will Be More Important Than Ever
In 2013 and 2014, technology and digital marketing exploded, and the need to communicate across channels became a prominent topic of discussion. Marketers of all kinds, but particularly those in demand generation, are inundated with technology, and they're under pressure to communicate across multiple channels. In 2015, we will start to see some companies make it easier and more streamlined to do this well. Marketers will feel less overwhelmed as we move toward a model of not doing everything just because it’s possible. Instead, data-driven decisions will lead us to do what's best for the business.
Marketing Organizations Will Change
Lastly, I think we will start to see more businesses restructuring their marketing organizations in 2015. The starting point is determining whether digital marketing efforts, including social, search, and the website, should be separate from traditional marketing. I believe that forward-looking companies will create a powerful digital team—one whose charter is to think of a digital strategy first, then about how to implement it, and finally, how to run marketing operations.
Data Will Reveal All You Need to Know
In conclusion, remember to keep things simple. In 2015, we marketers need to be thoughtful about our goals. It's all-too-easy to feel like we have to implement the marketing flavor of the month, or keep chasing competitors' campaigns and strategies. Keeping one eye on data and the other on trends and emerging media will help you stay on target, aiming toward what will make your business boom in 2015.