2015 Trends Special: The Year of Digital Recalibration (and Déjà Vu)
The year digital grows up? Maybe…
Welcome to the annual Kamber content marketing and social media trends special.
This year’s edition is a little different to the ones I’ve produced in the past (check out the 2014 edition here).
Why is this one different? It looks back as much as it looks forward.
After five years of infinite digital growth and innovation (especially due to the social media explosion), the time has come to take stock, embrace the lessons that have been learnt, and use them to develop smarter solutions (which will give creative thinking more chances to shine).
We’re about to enter uncharted waters: The year of digital recalibration.
I hope you find it useful and all the best for 2015.
Founder and Managing Partner, Kamber
2015: The Year of Digital Recalibration
For those who prefer purely text-based content, we’ve got you covered too:
1. ‘Always on’ vs. campaigns Getting the balance right still eludes many
- This isn’t unique to 2015, but it has become a lot more apparent of late
- The big flashy ideas will normally illicit the most emotional responses from brand guardians, but without a solid ‘always on’ program in place, campaign ‘spikes’ can be futile
- Taking the hard road, spending a sustained period of time building authority, and THEN adding the campaign layers is the formula for success in 2015 and beyond
- Invest (properly) in the future NOW and enjoy success with much more regularity LATER
2. ‘Borrowing’ an audience is like great sex…but what happens after it’s over? (Buying influence versus building trust)
- “That beauty vlogger has how many subscribers??!”
- There is nothing wrong with 3rd party publisher collaboration, but it’s often a short term fix
- If that path is taken, a long term outlook is required – can it be a 2-3 year partnership?
- Expect to see more and more influencer partnerships in 2015, especially from media buying agencies who are partial to dangling the ‘reach’ carrot
- Collaboration is great, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of developing channels and audiences you own
3. How much budget should we allocate to content promotion? But we’ve been spending…
- A very common question I’ve been asked of late has been: “We’re currently spending X, does that seem right?”
- Without knowledge of context, objectives and benchmarks that question is impossible to answer
- The simple answer, which isn’t a BAD thing, is that a promotional spend must be part of your toolkit (but that isn’t breaking news)
- As more is learnt about paid content promotion by businesses of all shapes and sizes, better decisions will be made
- Benchmarking will be preached louder and louder in 2015 (and rightly so)
4. We still don’t know what good looks like?! (Trust remains an issue)
- Now this IS a trend
- An uplift in agency reviews are occurring as brands question the impact being delivered by partners that originally came on board in the early stages of the social media explosion
- ‘Good’ is ultimately defined by the hard and soft metric ‘cocktail’ and whether or not those targets are being met
- Another way to measure ‘good’ is the quality of output – are you serving up content that your audience wants?
- The ultimate test: If you shut down all of your social media channels tomorrow, would anyone care?
5. Everybody’s doing content…but making it work in the participatory media age isn’t as easy as it sounds
- This is probably going to sound very self-serving given the nature of my agency, but great content ‘ideas’ aren’t enough if the myriad of other important variables aren’t taken into account
- What does your audience want? What are your competitors talking about? What unique subject matters do you have the authority and permission to talk about? What does empirical data tell you?
- Developing content strategies which answer these questions (and many more) is a skill which is in short supply
- Agencies must adapt constantly to remain relevant, but making content work in the modern landscape over a sustained period is a challenge…to all
6. Decision time: Is this social media caper really right for us?
- The participatory media landscape is naturally suited to the three F’s: Food, fitness and fashion (just ask any Instagram user)
- It doesn’t mean others can’t thrive – technology-based brands are naturally suited to regular publishing as ‘news’ is never in short supply
- But, is the social media thing really doing anything beyond placating senior management? Do other methods of marketing and communication deliver more impact?
- In 2015, we might (and should) see some brands pump the breaks, instead of hitting the accelerator, which reverses the recent trend
7. Channel or content? It should be an easy answer…
- Just because your audience is active in a particular place, doesn’t necessarily mean you should be
- The things you can talk about and the content you can produce, which can add real value, should be the first thing you address
- Then, channels can be considered, but with caution
- If Facebook died tomorrow, would your content strategy seamlessly adapt to a different environment?
- The participatory media environment isn’t going anywhere, but the places where participation occurs might change.
- Content first, channels second. Always.
8. Ready, fire, aim (yes, that is in the right order)
- We operate in the most fluid and fast-paced era ever
- Obsessing about getting your ducks in a row for too long almost certainly means you’ll never have them ready, something will change
- This is a huge challenge across all business departments, but especially across the digital disciplines
- Adapting to changes from the platforms and people as they occur is something that needs to be preached (and accepted) with more regularity in 2015
- Start, test the waters, learn from it, and then roll out with greater fervor. The longer you wait, the harder it (can) get
Wrapping things up – Trends, challenges, questions…
It is my hope is that this special feature isn’t another guest at the echo chamber hotel.
However, I do think that the all challenges addressed and the questions posed are important ones.
he fact that they aren’t especially earth-shattering (potentially) adds to their weight – common questions are common for a reason.
The digital recalibration has begun and could be THE key theme of 2015.
Thanks for visiting The Kamber Blog.