2015 Marketing Predictions

Yesterday I revisited my 2014 predictions. Today I want to change things up and look at the future. 2015 is almost here. And that means a whole new round of predictions. The world is changing, and so is marketing. Here’s what I think will be the trends and positions to watch for in the new year.

Marketing Trends for 2015:

1. Audience Targeting

There are companies out there with platforms designed to collect a vast amount of information about their users. Lucky for marketers, they sell that information in the form of targeted advertising.

2015 will be the year that more companies start advertising to defined audiences. Facebook and Google are the two biggest players in the space online. They both offer companies the ability to advertise not just based on keywords and interests, but they can create groups of individuals (usually called audiences) that meet certain criteria defined by the advertiser, and show ads to them in various places. Instead of bidding on everyone who searches for “dog food”, you can identify dog owners based on past behavior and advertise to people before they ever search.

These custom audiences will be available everywhere as the method grows in popularity. There will be links to audience targeting among all online advertisers as well as some traditional channels.

2. Marketing Partnerships

2015 will be the year that more companies see the value in working together to reach new audiences. In the financial world, 2014 was the year of mergers and acquisitions. In marketing, 2015 will be the year companies partner together on a broad set of initiatives aimed at bringing in new customers and new revenue.

In today’s world, it is important to identify what you do well, and what you don’t. Your company can leverage the success of other companies in your space to take advantage of your own weakness. Who else is marketing to the audience you’d like to reach? What can you offer them in return for a connection to their audience? The companies that answer that question and take the necessary steps to put those kinds of partnerships in place will be best positioned to succeed.

3. Narrowed Focus

It seems the finance guys have begun to cross the line between finance and marketing. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, it means that more attention is being paid to ROI (return on investment). 2015 will be the year we all identify what works to drive business and what doesn’t.

How can we slim down and still grow? By doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t. I think that we’ll see a lot more companies experimenting less, and spending the majority of their time on those initiatives that are proven winners.

Marketing Jobs for 2015:

1. Marketing Generalist

Over the last few years, marketers have become very specialized. Either you’re an email marketer, or a content marketer, or a social media marketer. Companies have invested large sums to hire the best and brightest in each specific niche. And the result is that not enough companies have the jack of all trades needed to tie it all together.

2015 will be the return of the generalist. Companies will be looking for people with a broad skill set, and experience in roles that required knowledge of more than one niche. These folks are able to manage multiple projects and have a great understanding of marketing strategy as a whole.

2. Writer/Content Developer

It’s no longer enough to pay people to pump out crappy content. Companies write for search engines. They write for social media. They have a “content marketing” strategy that consists of dumping articles after article, blog post after blog post of the same old stuff.

2015 is the year we start writing for real people. Companies will be looking for writers with a marketing background who can produce engaging content for the web. These writers will be responsible for writing all copy, whether it be updates to the website, ads, articles for social media, blog posts, promotional materials, or anything else you can dream up. They are great writers who can develop a strategy and know how to captivate an audience.

3. Web Design +

Designers have always been a position to themselves. We hired designers because they had a skill set no one else had. That’s no longer true in many cases. Lots of young marketers have design and development skill sets.

2015 will be the year we look to our designers to offer more than just design, or we expect marketing hires to bring with them certain design skills. We have to merge the roles of a designer with other marketing functions. I’m not taking anything away from gifted web designers (they’re a savior), but most companies would benefit more from a more general marketer who knows the basics of design and can learn on the job.