Digital Doctor: Your digital forecast for 2015

The last decade saw a steep trajectory of growth and technological innovation in the arts. The head of marketing at AD, Cat Leaver, shares with us her seven secrets to success:

1. Truly integrated and measurable marketing

I predict 2015 will be the year of effective attribution marketing. In the last 12 months we’ve seen a number of efforts made to enhance key digital products and services, aiming to give a more accurate overview of entire user journeys (think Facebook’s acquisition of Atlas, or Google adding its new ‘in-store conversion’ metrics to AdWords). Attribution marketing seeks to join the dots between your various marketing efforts, ensuring that you invest your precious budget into the correct areas and enabling you to more accurately understand user behaviours.

2. Mobile… again!

Based on its continued prominence over the past few years, mobile interfacing will remain at the forefront of marketers’ plans. This has moved beyond merely having a mobile-friendly or responsive website, and now incorporates mobile marketing and new forms of digital advertising. We’ve already seen mobile video advertising picking up in the last few months, as well as the much more intelligent application of mobile location-based marketing. The possibilities now for innovation and engagement via mobile devices are hugely exciting – you can interact with your audience whenever and wherever they are (somewhat creepy, I know). On that note, think in terms of ‘bigger small screens’ – mobiles are only getting physically larger, and this will have an impact on user experience via the opportunity to make use of increasing screen real estate. Combined with this will be a continuing trend towards multiple screens and connecting them.

3. Innovative digital advertising

Digital advertising space will become more competitive. Our current models are beginning to look tired, and
are failing to our meet increasingly high expectations. Advertising networks (whether display, search or social) will start to consider how, for a premium rate, they can offer marketers guaranteed results, rather than merely floating predictions or providing somewhat unsubstantiated reports.

4. Smarter marketing

Organisations across a diverse range of sectors have realised the significance of digital, and now employ dedicated individuals or teams, with the support of expert agencies, to optimise these channels. In 2015 we’ll see a continued focus on internal digital upskilling, and a move away from those old distinctions between ‘marketing’ and ‘digital marketing’ teams towards a more holistic structure that incorporates all areas.

5. Smarter marketers

Digital marketing skills are now a prerequisite (or should be) for a new marketing hire. The natural competencies underpinning digital marketing talents tend to be found in more analytical, strategic and pensive individuals. Smart arts organisations will be looking to recruit those marketers with a better understanding of cross channel communications.

6. Getting up close and personal

As arts organisations and businesses seek out new ways to communicate on a more individual level with their audiences, localisation and personalisation will continue to grow in importance. In our digital society there is a wealth of user data freely available to us, much of which allows us to serve more useful, relevant and tailored communications to audiences. For the arts, this is still an area in which some vast improvements could be made. Over the course of the year ahead, I predict that the arts and cultural sector will take lessons learned from other industries, and use them to reach out and make connections with people in more interesting or personal ways.

7. Shiny happy people

It’s true that the data is what allows us to tap in to groups of people and their individual behaviours, but in 2015 I foresee a greater focus on the ‘people’ part of that equation. This shift in thinking will recognise that a shared collection of attributes, tendencies or characteristics does not mean that ‘X is equal to Y’ (for those of you who have seen the comparison of data on Prince Charles and Hitler, you’ll know exactly what I’m getting at here).
These are just a few predictions for some of the likely trends we can expect to see over the coming months. What’s most important, though, is always being ready to refine a marketing strategy – being responsive and open to change. Remember that your digital strategy isn’t set in stone, it must evolve with you.