WHITE PAPER 2012 Online Marketing Trends Online Marketing Trends. Why Personas?

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1 The online marketing landscape is changing, there s no denying that fact. Those changes, while foreseeable, often come with their own set of questions. How do I implement that? How do we address this issue? What the heck IS that? Read on if you want more information on what this year s trends might be, and how you can fully embrace and implement those trends in order to increase ROI and sales. Why Personas? Knowing your target audience is critical to communicating with them effectively More effective communications lead to increased sales Trend 1: Increased Use of Personas Persona: A fictional representation of your target audience, taking into account both behavioral and targeted metrics. (Wikipedia) Personas help marketers to more effectively communicate their message, improving conversion rate. An improved conversion rate means more lead forms get filled out, which means more leads for marketers to give to sales. Simply put, effectively developing and using personas helps to increase ROI and revenue, which is what we all strive to do.

2 Trend 2: Increased Focus on Mobile Everyone s been talking about mobile and how important it is, but according to a recent poll we conducted, only 28% of those who responded said they had a mobile strategy in place. Twenty seven percent hadn t even thought about it. Marketers HAVE to get on the ball regarding mobile, and develop their mobile strategy ASAP. The reasons are myriad, but are all equally important. Because of increased mobile usage, local SEO will be increasingly important in The most basic, easiest explanation of this is that most local searches are performed using a mobile device, whether it s your iphone s maps app, or opening up Google in your smart phone s web browser. We search for local businesses when we re out and about and away from our desktops. Also affecting local SEO is Apple s Siri. Apple claims that Siri is search engine agnostic, and those who have used it concur--they receive results from Bing, Google and Yahoo, from Wikipedia and Yelp. Along with being search engine agnostic, Siri is also revolutionizing SEO. Instead of typing into Google a search string such as austin pizza users speak to Siri naturally, saying, I want pizza. SEO analysts will increasingly have to consider mobile and Siri when optimizing keywords. Mobile Stats At TechCrunch 2011, Google stated that 40% of all mobile searches were local. Microsoft placed that number at 53%. According to a July 2011 Mashable article, 40% of tweets came from a mobile device Mobile retail traffic was up 160% on Thanksgiving Day 2011 over 2010 (Usablenet) 23% of is accessed via mobile device An August 2011 Forrester Research report stated that by 2015 smartphone adoption wold grow 150% and that 82 million would own a tablet A November 2011 white paper by Affiliate Window stated that ipad conversion rates are double those of desktops, and almost twice those of other mobile devices

3 Trend 3: Marketers Really Begin to Fully Utilize Social Media Marketers know that social media is an important part of their online marketing strategy, but being able to prove that has been the bane of our existence saw marketers finally figuring out how to measure social media to some degree, but most were still left frustrated with those metrics. Marketers have questioned what they should measure--engagement, Facebook likes and fans, retweets, followers, time spent on social media sites, etc. Once you figure out what to measure, there s the question of HOW to measure it. There is no consensus, and thus far marketers have been left feeling like they have this important tool that they can t metrically prove is important. Which Social Media Networks Do You Use for Marketing? With the strides made in 2011 in regards to social media analytics and measurement, 2012 looks to be the year that marketers finally have something to hang their hats on regarding metrics and ROI calculation. Facebook continues to improve their reporting on pages, and Open Graph looks to be promising. While B2C and ecomm marketers finally figure out how to measure social, we believe that B2B marketers will begin to play more in the social media space. So far, social media has been seen as a prime opportunity for B2C and ecomm marketers to reach their audience, while B2B marketers have been a bit skeptical about the value. As marketing continues to evolve, though, B2B marketers are beginning to focus more on communicating with people rather than businesses. We build relationships with people, not companies, and B2B marketers are beginning to more fully embrace that ideology. Better metrics and increased usage will also lead to marketers better targeting their social media efforts. Rather than having automated posts that post the same thing across all social media outlets, marketers will begin to better segment and target their social media efforts. With the development and use of personas, companies will also be able to better figure out where their audience is regarding social media, and thus be able to better utilize their time and social media spend.

4 Trend 4: The Rise of Marketing Automation Marketing Automation: The name given to software platforms designed for marketing departments and organizations to automate repetitive tasks. (Wikipedia) Do you currently use marketing automation software? Marketing automation helps marketing and sales become more efficiently aligned by automating repetitive tasks (such as nurturing s), reducing human error and creating a more streamlined process. Marketing automation tools are generally designed to perform key tasks, including: development and analysis of marketing campaigns and a company s customers, managing those marketing campaigns, and appropriating customer data. Fully developed marketing automation platforms help marketers with demand generation, lead generation, lead scoring, lead nurturing, lead generation, campaign analysis, lead qualification and sales effectiveness. Until recently, marketing automation software has been very cost-prohibitive for SMB marketers, meaning the primary users have been enterprise level marketers. Realizing that SMBs also have a need for marketing automation, some companies have stepped up to the plate and have begun to offer those services at a lower cost. As more marketers begin to turn to marketing automation for those repetitive lead nurturing tasks, the need for guidance on platform choice will become increasingly important. Knowing which software best fits your needs is paramount in regards to marketing automation; having the wrong platform can set your campaigns back drastically (not to mention waste marketing dollars), whereas the correct platform can help advance your campaign effectiveness by leaps and bounds.

5 Trend 5: Full Integration of Online and Offline Marketing Campaigns Integrating online and offline marketing campaigns is becoming increasingly important to marketers. Consider this: an August 2011 Forrester Research report predicted that interactive marketing spend would increase to near $77 billion, accounting for 35% of all advertising. That leaves 65% of advertising budgets being spent elsewhere, but most marketers would agree that their online efforts are cheaper and have a better ROI. It makes sense that marketers would fully integrate their online and offline marketing campaigns in order to maximize their spend in both areas. The easiest way, most interactive way to integrate the two has been QR codes. In 2010, 14 million people scanned QR codes. That s a lot of people. No matter which side of the QR debate you re on, there s no denying that when used properly those little pixellated boxes can be a great way to get a customer to interact with your print media in an online world. Beyond QR codes, though, is the need for strategic keyword use across all marketing campaigns. Keyword research isn t just for AdWords campaigns. The keywords you re using to drive traffic from Google are the same ones you should also use in your print collateral, and even when you speak at events. People don t always remember a brand name, but they remember what that company does, or where that company is located, or the name of the person they talked to. That s what they Google. Effective use of keywords across all mediums means you have a higher chance of being found on the internet. Trend 6: Continued Focus on Video and Rich Media Content is king. How many times have we heard that phrase by now? Lots. Too many to count, really. But there s a reason why we keep hearing it--because content really is king. The difference, though, is that while written content is still important to your overall marketing strategy, video and rich media content is becoming increasingly important. In general, our attention spans are much shorter, and we also have increased stimuli all around us. That s a lot of things vying for our very little free time, thus marketers have to be smarter and faster regarding content. Short, compelling pieces that engage the customer and encourage interaction are the future of marketing content. Considering that YouTube is the second most popular search engine, video is obviously an important part of any marketer s arsenal. Marketers have also begun to dabble more in infographics, realizing that our audience wants visual representations of data. Short, sweet, to the point. Combining the power of video (and YouTube) and infographics could very well be the next wave in online marketing content. Interactive infographics could be the key to customer engagement.

6 Trend 7: Search/SEO Results Harder to Achieve As Google continues to change its algorithm, SEO results are becoming increasingly difficult to achieve. Add to the fact that in January of 2012 Google made the decision to combine its search with Google+, it is becoming increasingly obvious that gaming Google is only going to get more difficult. Add to Google s changes the fact that more searches are occuring on mobile devices, and SEO analysts are finding themselves caught in the middle of a rapidly changing SEO landscape. SEO analysts have known for a while that social media plays a role in search results. With Google combining search with Google+, it is now blatantly obvious that social DOES play a role in search results--but only if Google wants it to. During CES 2012, Google announced that it does not recognize Twitter handles as search terms. Basically, if you were to search on Google, our Twitter page would appear lower in the SERPs because Google doesn t recognize the handles. It does, however, promote Google+ pages high up in the search rankings (see results of search below). This, along with the increased use of mobile to perform searches means that SEO tactics will have to change in 2012, and the results won t come anywhere near as easily as they did in the past.

7 Trend 8: Marketing Grows and Becomes More Effective marketing has long been the go-to weapon of choice for marketers. It s cheap (relatively speaking), fairly easy, and effective. So effective, in fact, that a recent Direct Marketing Assoiation report stated that marketing had an ROI of 4000% in Yes, four THOUSAND percent. How effective are your current marketing campaigns? Marketers have cued into the incredible ROI with , so much so that they expect to increase spend by 60% in more tan any other aspect of their marketing budget (StrongMail, December 2011). In order to achieve such a high ROI, though, marketers will have to make sure their marketing campaigns are targeted and segmented. Along with the usual segmentation ideas (demographics, company, age, income, title, etc.), marketing systems and marketing automation platforms are making it easier for marketers to further segment their s, making them more personalized and focused. Personal s based on customer feedback, ratings and recommendations will become the new norm, as will retargeting s aimed at shoppers who have abandoned shopping carts. The ability to further target, along with increased amounts of available data, will help marketers to better analyze and attribute data. Click through rates (CTR), open rates and bounce rates are still important, but conversion is becoming not only more important, but easier to track. Knowing how many recipients click through is good knowledge to have, but knowing what they did on your website AFTER they clicked through is even more important. Being able to attribute a white paper download, a request for consultation or reclaimed shopping cart will help marketing to not only better calculate ROI but will also arm marketing with data and knowledge that helps to prove a campaign s effectiveness.

8 Summary In summary, our projected are: 1. Marketers will begin to fully embrace the use of targeted personas 2. Mobile strategy development and spend will increase in We will really begin to harness the power of social media 4. Marketing automation and marketing automation consultation will increase in popularity 5. Offline and online marketing campaigns will become fully integrated 6. Video and rich media will become increasingly important in helping not only search results, but also in audience and brand awareness and interaction 7. SEO results will be harder to come by 8. Marketers will increasingly turn to as the thread that ties all of their campaigns together, with an increased focus on conversion rate over CTR, open rate and bounce rate ABOUT APOGEE RESULTS Apogee Results is your complete online marketing company providing professional services across multiple online marketing disciplines. As a large independent marketing services agency we recruit top talent in the areas of search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, social media, website effectiveness, quantitative research and web analytics. Through client collaboration, intense focus on bottom-of-the-funnel metrics, and in-depth industry expertise, we help our customers take their marketing programs to higher levels of performance and effectiveness to generate significant returns on investment. If you need help maximizing your online marketing effectiveness, please contact us.

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