The online marketing landscape in 2018 is one that marketers from only a decade ago could never have imagined. Technology is evolving at a rapid rate and is being embraced by marketers in ways their older peers couldn’t have pictured. In fact, online marketing executives are spending one-third of their budgets on channels which didn’t even exist five years ago. This figure is expected to grow to 40 percent in just a few years’ time.
These stats are according to a recently released research report by Salesforce. The research looked at 10 digital marketing channels and found that website, social media marketing, and email marketing are currently being used most often. It was found that email marketing had almost doubled in usage in the past two years. Looking at growth among emerging channels, growth had been fastest for video advertising, SMS messaging, mobile advertising, and native advertising. Statistics show that business SMS marketing had grown significantly – by 197 percent – in the past two years.
When we look at that list of emerging channels, it’s clear that new technology is dominating the online marketing landscape. Marketers of the 1960s ‘Mad Men’ era would never have spent time discussing YouTube pre-roll ads or Instagram algorithm changes. So, how exactly has the digital marketing landscape changed in recent years?
Just 20 years ago, marketing largely meant radio and televisions, newspapers, outdoor advertisements, and direct mail. You likely wouldn’t be reading an informative article such as this one online since content marketing hadn’t been fully embraced yet.
“In the 2000s, content marketing started out with a few test programs that almost felt like novelty efforts, typically produced by one or two visionary marketers working away furtively. I imagine them in a dark closet, perhaps, working in secret, beads of sweat on their brow and giddy with excitement, because they knew they were on the front lines of something revolutionary and important,” says Ann Handley, chief marketing officer of MarketingProfs.
It wasn’t until the mid-2000s, that marketers began to embrace online marketing. And as this happened, marketers began to embrace the possibility of old and new school efforts working together. This is how omnichannel marketing became important. Consumers began to expect that a brand’s marketing efforts would be consistent across all channels. Whether in store, on the website or in a newspaper, a brand’s marketing efforts will look, sound and feel the same and the experience between channels should be completely seamless.
Consumers also increasingly expect their communication to be personal – and just the right amount of personal, at that. And it’s all too possible to step too far over that line. Addressing a consumer by their name in an SMS – positively personal. Mentioning their address, on the other hand? Downright creepy.
Nine out of 10 marketers agree that an omnichannel consumer journey, consistent across all touchpoints and channels, is positive for consumer loyalty. But just 23 percent of marketers are content with their ability to use consumer data to create personalized, seamless experiences.
Think With Google recently held an event, Google Marketing Next, where industry leaders discussed the forces and trends changing and shaping marketing. These four takeaways emerged:
"To meet and exceed consumer expectations in an assistive future, we at Google continue to innovate. And by arming yourself with the right tools and insights, you can ensure that consumer expectations won’t outpace your ability to deliver on them," says Google's Matt Lawson.
Seeing how online marketing trends and consumer expectations are changing, it’s clear that one form of communication is not going anywhere – SMS. Especially for business, SMS remains an effective way to reach consumers. With near perfect open-rates and the fact that seven out of 10 people feel that it’s the ideal way for organizations to get and keep their attention, there's little reason why you shouldn’t be investigating SMS as part of your digital marketing strategy. If you’re curious about how business SMS can benefit your organization, read our recent article which outlines why bulk SMS should be your top priority this year.