Return to all Posts

What’s Hot In Digital Marketing?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 | Posted by Aaron Goldman

Posted In: Digital Marketing


In my last post covering FAQ #14: "What Do You Do Every Day?" I mentioned that I've spent the past two months meeting with hundreds of marketers and digital marketing companies trying to assess who's doing what and who's doing it right as I build out the Connectual referral network.

Those of you who have read my Search Insider Summit Buzz-o-Meters know I'm a fan of Top 10 lists to capture the industry zeitgeist so here are my Top 10 Hottest Areas of Digital Marketing:

1. Social - while still a bit of an enigma, social media is a challenge that marketers are committed to solving. In a recession, there's no marketing like "free" marketing, and the allure of unpaid or "earned" media has spawned serious interest in tapping social networks and other word-of-mouth platforms. Accordingly, I've aligned Connectual with leading providers that can help marketers not only create a social media presence but manage it against specific and measurable goals.

2. Search - surprise, suprise, search is still driving the lion's share of direct ROI for marketers and has led to a proliferation of niche providers running the gamut from competitive intel to campaign management. In response, I've signed over ten providers specializing in various facets of SEM to the Connectual referral network in addition to the consulting I've been doing for Resolution Media

3. Video - with Hulu (and it's hilarious ad campaign) raising awareness and viewership, video has finally emerged as a scalable platform for digital marketers. However, the key to success with online video is to go beyond mere repurposing of TV spots. Smart marketers are using video on their own websites to help drive engagement and sales. And they're leveraging outside resources to create compelling content and seed it out to the community. Accordingly, Connectual is in discussions with several companies who have stakes in digital video from production to districution.

4. Analytics - with marketers testing more and more digital marketing channels, the implementation of robust analytics tools to measure success and track ROI has become a top priority. Connectual is working with web analytics providers as well as database management firms to help marketers monitor traffic and sales from all sources.

5. Behavioral - gone of the days of simple contextual targeting. Even keyword targeted seems soooo 2003. These days, behavioral marketing is all the rage. But it goes beyond just watching what sites people visit and then showing them sequences of ads on other sites. There are companies using the social graph and e-commerce activity to create segment profiles that marketers can overlay on top of their media buys for just a few extra pennies per thousand ads. One of them is Cardlytics, a company I represent, that is enabling targeting through financial institutions at the purchase transaction level.

6. Networks/Exchanges - exchanges are the new networks. Or are networks the new exchanges? Whatever the case, everyone and their mother is swapping impressions back and forth trying to match marketers with the aforementioned behavioral profiles. Before exchanges, if a network couldn't monetize an impression because they either didn't recognize the cookie or didn't have an advertiser buying against it, it would run RON or PSA inventory. Today, the network can liquidate that impression through an exchange. Companies that help marketers and agencies manage exchange inventory are positioned well to capitalize on this trend as are networks that differentiate themselves by not simply trading impressions and building out quality audiences on branded sites. I'm in conversations with some key players in this space in the hopes of helping them get Connectual.

7. Creative - while numbers one through seven on this list all speak to the placement or tracking of marketing messages, there's certainly an important role for companies that shape what that message is. It's amazing to see the innovative ways creative shops are using the power of interactivity to push the envelope and drive brand engagement. I've been fortunate to develop a partnership with Elevate Studios, a creative botique on the leading edge of digital strategy, design and production.

8. Multi-variate Testing - with marketers working hard to stretch every last dollar, testing creative and landing page elements has become paramount. I'm always shocked by how big a difference the tiniest change can make -- whether it be the background color of the banner or the placement of the "Buy Now" button on the homepage. Automated tools that can continually test and refine a program are great investments for marketers. I don't yet have any preferred relationships in this space outside some of the larger technology providers that have these types of features so If you've developed a flexible, scalable multi-variate testing tool, please reach out.

9. Mobile - while the momentum behind mobile marketing has waned a bit as budgets have been slashed, consumers continue to adopt the mobile web at a rapidly growing clip. As the handsets get better and the networks faster, the mobile web experience is finally on par with the computer. On the provider-side, there are full-service mobile marketing agencies, mobile ad networks, and everything in between. Connectual has identified the best of breed and is in the process of firming up contracts and logistics.

10. Local - while many digital marketing companies were built to serve the head of the brand marketer and publisher beast, there are others that have made quite a nice living down along the tail. Every day, more and more small businesses are getting hip to digital and need a conduit to help them execute. I've found a number of ways to skin the local cat and have signed a couple providers that have created simple yet powerful tools to help local marketers reach their audience.

All in all, despite online ad spend cooling off, there are a number of digital marketing categories heating up. You can be sure that I'll continue to hold the feet of Connectual close to the fire and align with the companies that are really cooking.

Update 8/4: Want some practical tips for cashing in on these trends? Check out my ad:tech Digital Marketing Webinar.


Related Posts with Thumbnails