Here we examine a number of key marketing trends that will continue to gather pace throughout 2015 — and identify those that are at tipping points and pivot points, those trends that brands need to understand and act upon now to stay ahead.

One trend that has definitely had its day is the recent obsession with ‘omnichannel’ marketing: we think the concept can be passive and lazy. It is a concept that throws mud at a wall and hopes some of it sticks. Not all content is relevant for all channels. And content needs to be high quality to appear on any channel. For those that haven’t yet got very far with it, there’s a chance to do it in a much smarter way.

To succeed in 2015, brands need to focus on thoughtful, targeted context.

1. The end of ‘matching luggage’

No longer can campaigns be classified as integrated just because they exist in multiple channels. No-one wants a miniature billboard on their phone. Brands need to go back to basics, to understand the real business challenge, and then devise a marketing solution to meet those needs. As the media marketplace continues to fragment, that solution should exist where the consumer is most receptive. Relevant content with a single-minded strategy, for the channels where your audience will consume it.

2. The jigsaw that tells a story

For brands to succeed in such a fragmented marketplace, there is a need to bring multiple disciplines together to collaborate. Whilst the message must be tailored and relevant at every stage, the output of communications, across all screens, channels and experiences should be to deliver ONE moment of truth to consumers. This will mean more cross-over between the real and digital world, with technology being used to bring content and experiences to life. This journey will be combined through compelling storytelling. Agencies will need to collaborate as partners to make this happen. No one can be good at every discipline, but each needs to be a master of one.

3. A return to humanity and community

We all know the days of preaching and broadcasting to an audience are long gone. Instead, brands need to connect with their prospects in an authentic way — incorporating human language, real life imagery, stories and humour. Replying to a review on tripadvisor is nothing new, but brands need to learn to nurture their communities across multiple channels. Stories need to provoke a genuine emotion to create genuine connections with individuals. Curating a meaningful conversation as a part of a community, where consumers are already discussing a product or service, will be the way for brands to stay relevant.

4. An opportunity to personalise, with permission

Consumers have always been reticent to hand over their data to brands. But where the value exchange is enticing enough, consumers are more willing than ever to share. 36% of global consumers are now willing to share their current location with retailers — almost double the number since just a year ago. In return, in this always-on age of accessible data, brands have the opportunity, and the need, to offer truly personalised, highly relevant and most importantly, permissioned experiences to their audience.

5. The web comes to you

Sophisticated analytics now track consumer behaviour more closely than ever before. And with the addition of mobile data, we move away from channel based thinking, to context based messaging. Where brands previously had to stand out in an excess of content, as consumers sought out only the information they wanted, in 2015 they will become more passive again, and expect our messaging to find them at the time that matters most. Mobile, only a tap away, will continue to be the medium that unites online behaviours with offline actions, the key to both understanding our audience and delivering meaningful experiences.

6. Wearables wearing thin?

With the consumer launch of Apple watch apps and Facebook’s Oculus Rift both slated for 2015, no thoughts for the year would be complete without a mention of wearables. With over a third of users abandoning their smart wearables within six months, and the consumer release of Google Glass postponed, so far the reality of the products has yet to meet expectations. In order to get the most out of these devices and experiences, brands who adopt early must therefore avoid gimmicks and look to create something that lasts, with real value rather than temporary novelty. With the growth of health apps, this may herald a return to consumer desire for data privacy. Brands should study the opportunity carefully, but not necessarily rush in.

Author: Sarah Doery, Co-founder, CYCLONE GROUP.

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