People are shifting their behaviours and interacting more with computers and online services, which has led to significant changes in the way businesses operate and grow. According to HubSpot Blogs research, 62% of American adults use online marketplaces to research products or services, and 39% regularly search for products or services online. Additionally, 13% have purchased something online because the web offered the best deal, while 5% have gotten online marketing emails from brands and companies that they like.
This shift has major implications for business growth. While many entrepreneurs and established companies struggle to keep up with the pace of change, those that master digital marketing and online business management stand to gain much from this transformation.
This report from Forrester Consulting investigates how online marketing and digital marketing activities will evolve in the United States over the next five years.
Digital Marketing and Online Business Management in the United States
The ‘traditional’ approach to marketing in the U.S. focused on television advertising, magazine spreads, and radio broadcast. However, as people have shifted their behaviours online, so too has marketing, particularly digital marketing. As a result, businesses need to adapt to follow their consumers, or lose them altogether.
“Digital marketing is marketing conducted online using digital technologies, including blogs, websites, and social media. It can also include offline marketing, such as radio ads, magazine spreads, and billboards.” – Forrester Research, November 2018
To succeed in this environment, marketers must understand the unique language and approach of the online community in which they wish to engage. This includes creating content that appeals to potential customers, establishing online profiles, and finding the right platforms to reach and influence consumers. As a result, businesses must ensure that their marketing plans and strategy fit the digital landscape in which they’ll operate.
Marketing departments at businesses have evolved to incorporate digital marketing activities, while also continuing to focus on brand strategy, customer analysis, and media planning. Senior executives, who are used to considering the whole marketing mix in isolation, must now think holistically, considering all aspects of marketing including public relations, SEO, and content creation, from the standpoint of a digital consumer. This requires marketers to collaborate closely with other departments, such as sales and product management, in order to craft engaging customer experiences.
Trend Predictions for 2022
With the right digital marketing and online business management strategy, marketers can create a buzz around their brand, gain valuable insights into their customers, and dominate their industry. Using the data they’ve accumulated, marketers can then craft an approach to growing their business that’s suited to the digital age.
This report explores how digital marketing and online business management activities will evolve in the U.S. over the next five years.
This research examines the major trends that will affect digital marketing and online business management in the U.S. over the next five years. The report examines the reasons behind these trends, as well as the industries, businesses, and individuals that will benefit from them.
1. Content is King (or Queen).
While SEO has existed for many years, Google, along with other search engines, has made content the central pillar of its algorithm. Now, content is more important to consumers than ever before. When seeking information online, people expect to find high-quality content that’s well-written and relevant to what they’re looking for. As a business, it’s your job to provide content that’s both valuable and engaging to your customers. To do this, you need to focus on building a sizeable library of valuable content, wherever you may be in the world. Creating and curating content takes effort and time, so be determined to make the most of your efforts and create something that’ll be worth it.
2. Customer-Oriented Websites.
With the ever-changing, digital landscape comes a constant stream of competitors trying to grab your customers’ attention. To combat this, you need to create a website that focuses on providing value to your visitors. One of the best ways to do this is by incorporating customer feedback into your site’s information architecture and content.
Through a well-designed questionnaire, you can easily gather crucial information from your customers, such as what type of products they’d like to see you offer, how they’d like to be contacted, and what their general feedback on your services is. With this information in hand, you can then work to improve your customer’s experience by, for example, adding more relevant products, upgrading your ordering process, or getting in touch with your customers when something goes wrong.
3. Authentic and Personal Branding.
In a world full of sponsored content and brand promotion, consumers are sick of getting sucked into digital marketing and commercialism. For businesses to really connect with customers, they need to step away from the hype and become more genuine, informal, and human.
For example, if you market yourself as the ‘go-to’ source for information on your industry, you are limiting yourself to being a sales person. An authentic and engaging brand will be valued and treated as an equal by customers, despite being heavily sponsored by a big business.
4. Video Content is on the Rise.
While consumers have long been able to access information online, the ability to consume content in bite-sized chunks has encouraged people to short-circuit their learning curve and get the information they need quickly. As a result, video content is rising rapidly, as people can get an idea of what they are looking for with brief descriptions or a fast-paced video.
Additionally, with the rise of TikTok and its ilk, consumers have had the opportunity to discover brands and content creators they like and follow, without having to seek out information about them through traditional methods.
5. Influencer Marketing.
As previously stated, people are turning to video content to get quick information. As a result, influencer marketing is rising as a tactic for businesses to gain attention and loyalty from potential customers. Influencers are usually famous people or bloggers who have an audience of thousands, if not millions, of followers. They can be valuable tools for businesses to tap into for campaign inspiration, product vetting, and marketing support.
To be considered for an influencer contract, you need to demonstrate a large and engaged audience. While there are no concrete metrics for measuring an influencers’ impact, some companies, such as Topsy, claim to have compiled the list of Top 100 Influencers based on a combination of metrics, such as social media engagement and brand value. Having an audience is one thing, converting that audience into paying customers is another.
How To’s and Guides Rise As Popularity.
Despite people wanting quick answers and helpful guides online, many still prefer to read detailed How-to’s or look at video tutorials to gain the knowledge they need. While search engines like YouTube thrive on content that’s brief and entertaining, longer-form content can still prove to be popular, especially during times of crisis or tension. For example, after the U.S. Presidential Election in 2020, searches for How to vote rose by 28% according to Google.
The Future of Marketing.
The way we consume information has changed and will continue to evolve. As a result, marketers must continue to evolve with it, or risk being left behind. To succeed in this increasingly digital world, marketers must focus on establishing a strong digital presence, understanding their audience, and creating high-quality content that’ll make an impact.