The Future Of Digital Marketing

Expert opinion on where the industry is heading


The rate of change in digital marketing is such that the industry is simultaneously one of the most exciting and challenging in business. From mobile usage to ad blockers, new trends emerge constantly and digital marketers can often feel like they’re playing catch up. Staying ahead of trends is now one of the most integral facets of a digital marketers work, as consumer behavior and new technology necessitates a change in approach with startling frequency.

And marketing is increasingly a digital sector. On average, 60% of a marketers’ time is devoted to digital marketing activities, a number that will only increase as companies move further down the line of digital transformation. 71% of companies planned to increase their digital marketing budgets this year, and it seems the vast majority are ready to go all in on honing their efforts to reach consumers on both mobile and desktop. There are many opportunities to exploit and issues to tackle, like user experience, personalization, mobile engagement, and video strategy, as well as new techniques in more traditional areas like email marketing and SEO.

We asked four industry professionals where they see digital marketing heading next, and received a variety of responses:

Anna Jones, CMO, Guzman y Gomez:

‘I’m a strong believer in marketing moving out of just making advertising and into owning the full customer experience. Consumers want to interact with your brand whenever, wherever and however they want, they want relevant messages that are useful and they want a tailored experience that can range from easy to immersive. That makes our job that much harder but when you get it right, your customers will reward you.’

Peter Strohkorb, CEO, Peter Strohkorb Consulting International:

‘One thing is for sure, there will be ever new buzzwords and hot new things coming out. The challenge for marketers is not to stay on top of all these trends but to make informed decisions on what will work best for them. That will involve quite a bit of experimenting and trying-and–seeing, which in turn will eat into already challenged marketing budgets.

‘In B2C, I foresee more specialization and customization by vendors of both their products and offerings and their messaging. They will become increasingly more targeted. We are already seeing the big department stores specializing and moving to store-in-store solutions. I think this trend will continue. On the other end of the spectrum, I think we will see even more price competition in the online space, together with a commensurate challenge for marketers to keep consumers loyal.

‘In B2B, I predict that the boundary between Marketing and Sales will blur further, that the two functions will have to start seeing themselves as two ends of the same banana, one supporting the other to do better collectively, as one team.’

Laura Dewis, Deputy Director of Digital Publishing, Office for National Statistics:

‘Little and often will be a mantra for many. We're certainly looking at our publishing model to see how we can be more responsive to user needs. A lot of publishers, ourselves included, have quite fixed 'periodic' issues and we recognize that our users need more timely analysis and real-time data. Of course, there is ongoing growth in mobile and video. For data providers who have users who want to interrogate huge amounts of data, neither appears to be the highest priority, but we can't ignore the growth and changing user behaviors.

‘We have to both improve the usability of our existing products as well as look at the potential. For us right now, that means concentrating on responsive design for data visualization but we are starting to think about how mobile could be used in data capture and to provide notifications to people providing us with data. In the near-future we'll also be considering whether users would benefit from location-specific services, utilizing our data. In data publishing, it is all about providing stable, machine readable data to enable greater flexibility in how we share, combine, curate, re-use and present data.’

Martin Ashplant, Digital Director, Metro:

‘I think there may well be a return to the focus on growing a smaller but more engaged audience for your product. Chasing mass audiences doesn't always help grow your revenues and can often put you in danger of being perceived as no different to everything else out there. I can see publishers starting to become more concerned with how users are consuming their products rather than how many users are consuming their products.’

Lukasz small

Read next:

Are Companies Thinking About Social Media In The Wrong Way?