For The Rest of Us! Five Digital Recommendations in 2017

It’s that time of year again – parties, resolutions, and, of course, predictions for how the year ahead will unfold.

Recently, I read a prediction list for digital marketing in 2017. It was very informative. Except for one thing… The prediction list was geared to big brands and Fortune 500 companies with a team of digital experts and big budgets.

Which is super awesome if you’re one of those companies or brands. For the rest of the 99%, who deal with bean-counting bosses and decision makers still stuck in the ‘90s, here are my FIVE recommendations on where to take your digital marketing in 2017.

1. Integrate Digital with your Marketing Campaign.

Say goodbye to the days when a digital campaign was considered a tactic, a test, or came from a different budget.

All of the research is out there. You don’t really need for me to quote stats, do you? Transform your organization’s entire thinking. Digital marketing should serve as a centralized, integrated component to your entire marketing message and plan. In 2017, digital initiatives will need to help drive the organization’s strategic direction.

2. Leverage Social Media Listening and Digital Reporting to Listen, Respond, and Personalize.

Big Data, right? Every blog is about data, data, data. It’s all helpful, and if you have a lot of data, then use it.

But first, get started with the simple. Listen to your customers. It’s one of the oldest and most battle-tested business strategies. Your current 2016 digital campaign should net you plenty of data on what your customers are thinking, buying, and wanting.

So in 2017….listen, respond, and personalize. For social efforts, use social media listening tools. For digital, use the plethora of tools that measure clicks, interests, conversions, etc.

Once you learn what your customers want, evolve your messaging and product offerings, then personalize and dial in on what your customers are asking for. Watch as these personalization efforts lead to greater loyalty, increased retention, and more revenue for the organization.

3. Smash the Digital & Social Silos.

The digital transformation is not coming. It’s already here. Similar to recommendation #1 above, stop “siloing” your digital efforts and your social efforts.

Your digital footprints should walk and work together. Your customers are going to find you, shop you, and make decisions based on what they learn from your website and your social content. So why are you doing different things in these two mediums and having different people manage them?

Social content allows for expanded brand storytelling and secondary and tertiary messaging, but bring these two worlds together — it’s all digital now.

4. Go Video.

The next big trend in digital and social is augmented reality. But we’re a few years from this technology being affordable and from the bean-counting bosses  even understanding it.

So Go Video. Now, you could take this recommendation as “so last year,” and you’d be right. But there are companies and organizations who still aren’t on this bandwagon. Videos have the most engagement, click-through, and conversion when looking at digital + social. The social platforms are expanding their tools to use video including longer videos and more exposure to your own social audience. Combine these trends with a superior ad recall, and the choice is simple. So make 2017 the year of video.

5. Kill the CPM Model.

If your digital strategy is still based primarily on a cost-per-thousand (CPM), then you need to move into 2014. I kid, I kid. The truth is… Google and the digital world have grown a great deal in tracking and reporting, which enables us to measure digital on a Cost-per-Acquisition (CPA). After all, we’re in marketing where the A-1 question is… “What’s the expected ROI and how are you going to measure it?”

So measure it. We’re not at 100% trackability, but we’re pretty close in the digital world. Kill the CPM model and start focusing on how much you have to spend to acquire a new customer or sale.

And there you go.. Another 2017 list. This time for the rest of us.