The only constant is change, and anyone who knows me, knows I’m all about change.

By the time you’ve read about a trend, or a “hot new app”, it’s too late. The value lies in being first to market. The first to utilize a new tool, app, strategy, etc. With that said, I’m going to go on a limb here and give you a list of things I’m predicting for 2015.

Hopefully you can prepare for these trends right now, not in 2015 when everyone else figures it out…

1. “Brands are Publishers” goes mainstream.

We’ll focus on enormous empathy and customer experience (and not just more blog posts). We’ll focus on more relevance and new inspirations. And we’ll focus on being actually useful. 2015 really will be the year we create and curate content our customers will thank us for.

2. Marketers will focus on their writing.

Good writing is like an iceberg – use your best words to convey depth under the surface. That means you’ve got to choose those words well, and write with the style and the end reader in mind. If you’re target demographic is Tween’s – write like it! If you run a B2B business, start writing in an authoritative tone. Generic is dead.

3. Paid reach.

Everyone (in the marketing world) is already pissed at Facebook for crushing their pages Organic Reach. Look at it like this, if you had 100,000 likes in February of 2012, only 16,000 (16%) would see any given post (on average and before engagement). Sucks right? Fast forward to March of 2014 and that number has dropped to 6,000 (6%)! (It’s rumored to be getting squished down to 1% soon)

But guess what? You could get major keywords from Google for $0.01 in 2003. Now what happened? What about banner ads? It’s just the cycle of digital marketing. As more business and competitors arrive the cost for reach goes up.

2015 will be the year agencies and business understand this are start (hopefully) setting a digital marketing budget to match their traditional counterparts.

4. Wearable Technology

Deal with it. How many of you thought, “I’ll never have a Facebook!”, “I’ll never have Twitter, that’s dumb!”. “Cell phone? Why would I want my family to be able to reach me at all times???”

How’d that go?

The same thing is going to happen with wearables and even augmented reality. Whether it’s convenient for you or I, It’s going to happen. Learn how to pounce on these advancements early and leverage.

5. Platform Specific Content

Seriously. I’ve been preaching this for two years, maybe 2015 will be the year. Here’s why…

If you take the same piece of created content (a video, image, audio – whatever) and share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, G+, and so on – even to the very same people – you will get WILDLY different results.

Why? Because when a user opens a mobile app, visits a web site – what have you – they have intent. Intent trumps all. If I’m on Facebook I’m interested in what my friends and family members are up to. If I’m on Instagram, I want the human element of a friend or business. If I’m on Pinterest I’m looking to be inspired. On LinkedIn I’m focused on business. If you show me a humorous video on Facebook, I’ll probably watch it. On LinkedIn it’ll be out of place.

Look at it this way. You have separate groups of friends in real life. Your family group, college buddies, co-workers, business acquaintances, etc. When you go to meet these groups you dress differently, talk differently, behave differently. There are social nuances to fitting in with each one.

Your business on a social platform is no different.

6. Genuinely Care

Similar to #1, but slightly different. Either way, it deserves to be here twice. Brands that pitch are becoming ignored. A little bit of selling here and there is great, but those businesses who do nothing but sell, sell, sell, are gonna get ignored, dismissed and overlooked by consumers and prospects.

It’s time to actually care. That means dedicating more resources to things that are harder to track, like answering customer questions and providing actual value to your potential customers, supporters, and future business partners.

7. Visual Storytelling

If Ellen DeGeneres taught us anything, it’s that visual storytelling matters. It’s a strategy for not only standing out, but also for nurturing and growing vibrant and engaged communities. The ability to craft visual stories that inspire emotion and spark the movement will help companies get noticed and amplify their message throughout those communities.

8. Digital will outperform Traditional

Again, whether it’s convenient for the old-guard of the marketing world or not – digital will outperform traditional in every manner. Brand awareness, tracking, conversions, metrics that matter, ROI – everything.

Hey traditional marketers still pretending social is a fad. Watch out.

9. Social Selling will catch on

Social marketing will converge with social selling in a meaningful way. Marketing (one to many) and sales (one to one) are beginning to use the same techniques of content creation and real-time engagement. The best organizations will not run marketing and sales as separate “departments” but will merge the two functions into one customer facing organization focused on revenue generation.

It should be in the interest of any traditional salesman to find a social media guy and hang on tightly…

10. Earned trust and loyalty

As brands strive to create authentic connections online, especially with Millennials, more will understand that a clever laugh or the vulnerability of silliness is the most efficient path to earning trust and loyalty. Mark 2015 as the year of humor in digital marketing. Unless you’re Twitter. That was 2008.

What do you think the most significant changes and important trends will be in 2015? What is it about digital marketing that will be most important for your business and customers in the coming year?

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