Our brands have been doing digital for the past three years and we are excited with what 2015 will bring. Anything we should prepare for this new year? Do you expect digital marketing to change dramatically, like a new Facebook or Twitter coming out? How should we plan for our digital marketing projects this year? - anonymous
It is good that you have been doing digital marketing for some time. I hope that you are reaping its rewards, from increased brand affinity, to sales uplift. While there are a lot of challenges with regard to digital on ROI (return on investment), we have seen a good number of brands “getting it” already. Digital marketing is not about being present in all possible internet assets like having a website, social media accounts, and a Youtube channel. On the other hand, it is all about identifying a brand’s desired target market, and how you can properly communicate to them in the online platform. There are cases depending on one’s target market and brand situation, when digital is most potent, and on the other extreme, most irrelevant and should not be used.
In 2015, we expect brands to achieve a higher level of digital maturity. I feel brands and agencies will not have any more conversations about convincing them to go digital, or what is the ROI of digital marketing. I think after ten years of doing “internet marketing” in the Philippines, brands already know they have to do it, and agencies know they have to offer it. It is now about who can strategize and implement well.
In 2015, we will see most of the hype on digital marketing tapering off, and digital will now be used as an integral part of marketing. There are three very obvious directions that digital marketing will go, based on the various successes and failures of the past, and trends coming from consumer digital behavior. The first is that media integration will be paramount. Digital marketing will never be about just creating a Facebook page or an app, or just having a website. Media planning will now integrate digital seamlessly with above the line channels. This dream of media integration with digital is now becoming a reality. Any brand manager should not be asking their agency: so what are we doing in digital? The automatic offering should be integrated already, and if it is not in the plan, then digital is not integral in achieving the objective.
The second is that there will be massive shifts of digital marketing efforts towards creation of videos and Youtube channels. This trend started early 2014 when I said a year ago that most brands will start experimenting with developing their Youtube channels rather than putting budgets on their Facebook pages. As the next generation of media audience shifts toward Youtube as their main source for videos, brands will see Youtube as an integral part of their digital efforts. We have seen efforts this year by some brands, like Honda creating their Youtube channel focusing on concerts and events. We have also seen for example, the most successful viral video in my books, Volvo Trucks Youtube channel and its hero video “Van Damme Epic Split”, showing how precise Volvo Trucks are. As the early adopters settle down, the majority of brands will start to enter into this platform after seeing that the water is no too cold.
The third is that metrics will become the center of everything digital, and social will become less “creative” sexy but more numbers driven. I do not expect any brand to do any more Facebook video or photo upload promotions. I also do not expect brands to go mobile, only because there is still not enough traction yet for any mobile activity to have volume usage. However, social media integration will necessitate better community management and in a more advanced level, the creation and setting up (or outsourcing) of social command centers for social media management efficiency.
Digital marketing is now becoming more mature, as digital immigrants and natives are now beginning to speak one single “digital” language. It is now up to brands to take advantage of this platform before it is too late. Think about it: in this age where digital platforms are now mainstream, how can brands remain relevant if they are not yet in the online platform?

Donald Lim is the Chief Digital Marketing Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc., the country’s leading marketing and sales training company. He will be conducting the 14th Digital Marketing Plan Seminar on February 11-12, 2014. For more information, email info@mansmith.net, call (+63-2) 584-5858 / 412-0034 or text (+63) 918-81-168-88. We are also happy to answer your marketing, sales and strategy questions to mentors@mansmith.net.