Our annual Future of Digital Marketing (FODM) event is celebrating its 10-year anniversary on 11 June 2015.

You can take part in the proceedings by joining us and 300 other senior digital professionals for the one day conference, where you can be inspired by a variety of digital pioneers and learn about the trends shaking up our industry, and how we can harness them to change the way we do business.    

Tickets do sell out, so act fast.

In the meantime, let’s take a look back at 10 years of digital marketing prognostication and highlight 10 of the trends that either came true or are well on their way to being realised.

01. Mobilegeddon

It’s a no-brainer, your site has to work on mobile devices or your business will suffer.

This was uttered by addictive founder Simon Andrews in 2012, a period of time when 80% of brands didn’t have a mobile optimised site.

As of April 2015, Google has altered its algorithm so that it ranks mobile optimised sites higher than non-optimised sites.

02. Native advertising: the reader revolt

Although flaunted as the savior of digital marketing just two years ago, Doug Kessler pointed out last year that publishers are selling trust too cheaply.

Looking at the proliferation of content recommendation platforms that are currently being used by various publisher websites without a thought for the quality of the articles, this erosion of trust may well happen faster than we thought.

03. Single customer view is integral to future growth

In 2012, House of Fraser ecommerce director Andy Harding laid out his predictions for how multichannel marketing will develop, giving particular focus to the single customer view.

Digitising the in-store experience is key. Multichannel customers are three to four times more valuable than single channel customer each year.

He said brick-and-mortar stores are one of the only ways that House of Fraser can stand out against pure play online retailers such a ASOS, so service differentiation and innovation in-store are necessary to boosting the brand’s overall online framework.

Thanks to the rise of click and collect, multichannel returns and pure-plays like Amazon using high street lockers for delivery, it seems the importance of digital aligning with the offline world is finally being realised.

04. Apple Watch: game changer?

Marcus Mustafa, Head of Global User Experience at LBi discussed early and uninspiring wearables in the sport and performance market: 

The smartwatch is the 21st century beeper. It has no greater functionality than your phone. Let’s wait for the iWatch.

Well apart from the fact we got the name wrong, the Apple Watch hasn’t quite been quite the disaster that ‘some of us’ have predicted, with a large number of brands and developers building interesting apps for the device, and many glowing reviews.

05. Digital is finally becoming an emotional medium

In 2013, Jake Hird then director of research and education at Econsultancy in Australia, talked about the The New Customer Journey and made the point that consumers don't care about complexity, they just want things to work seamlessly, to feel special and unique, to be seen as individuals instead of “just another customer”.

Technology is increasingly becoming focused on delivering seamless customer experiences across all channels and touchpoints, and new forms of personalisation that put an emphasis on emotions are helping to strengthen the role that digital is playing in enhancing real world interactions.

06. The need to bring art and science back together

As Ashley Friedlein stated in his 2012 keynote address:

If the UK’s creative businesses want to thrive in the digital future you need people who understand all facets of it integrated from the very beginning.

The idea that engineers, creative thinkers and data analysts are of equal importance and must be installed at every level and be able to work fluidly with eachother is one that is increasing in importance.

Just think of Uber or Airbnb, businesses that have succeeded through creative thinking, effective use of data and outstanding business acumen.

07. Data is the new oil

An oft-heard phrase around 2010 that basically meant, to quote Gerd Leonhard from his keynote speech: 

With oil, people can profit from transporting and pipelining it, and the same principle applies to user data, we have ISPs, search engines etc. that make use of data, and a whole food chain is developing around this ‘data oil’ where people can use it and add value to it. 

This data is valuable, and so the user becomes the oil sheikh, making them as powerful as OPEC. The user can say: you can have my data, but I want things in return; free content, music, something of value. 

Not the best metaphor as of course data must be analysed and utilised effectively before it becomes ‘valuable’ but the conceit that data is vital to the future strength and health of a business is vaild. 

08. The value of failure

It may be a cliché, but as Simon Andrews mentioned in 2013, failure is often as valuable as success. While the financial returns may not be as great, having the will to try new things that don’t work means you’ll have much greater chances of success. 

Many businesses have begun putting money into ‘experimental’ pots, allowing them to test new ideas out without always worrying about the bottom line.

09. Digital marketing is just marketing

During 2011 we talked a lot about ‘brand everywhere’. As Ashley Friedlein stated in 2011, it isn’t about online OR offline. It is not about digital vs. traditional. They will all become the same thing. The difference will become pointless, and, retrospectively, faintly embarrassing, to talk about.

Digital has effected every single facet of organisations, not just the way products are bought and sold and the way services are delivered, but also in customer service, market research, HR, procurement. It has gone beyond ubiquity to normality.

10. You have to stand out in order to be seen 

No matter what your industry is, your online competition has never been more fierce. The only way to differentiate is to offer excellent customer service, be utterly transparent and honest and all times and have a personality. 

Luckily for us, the Ling’s Cars website still looks like nothing else on the internet.

Here is Ling Valentine’s keynote speech from 2012.

Don’t forget to purchase your tickets for this year’s event here: Future of Digital Marketing 2015

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 27 May, 2015 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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