Consumers are embracing new screens and new content, and are transforming how they shop, communicate and consume content at an accelerated clip. And in response, marketers are turning to those same interactive arenas just as quickly. Digital ad spending in the first half of 2013 grew 18% year over year, according to the 2013 Half Year IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report. The increase marks the fifth consecutive year of double-digit growth in the first half. Mobile is especially hot, with revenues soaring 145% to $3 billion in the first half of the year. “Mobile advertising’s breakneck growth is evidence that marketers are recognizing the tremendous power of smaller screens,” said Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO at IAB. Over the past year, the mobile ad format has grown from 7% to 15% of the overall online advertising pie.
Therefore, the industry has to innovate at a staggering rate. From technology to “wearables”/”drivables”, from niche communities and large-scale social-sharing platforms to hyper-local mobile and from still images to now extremely short-form video. Just when you think you’ve gotten the hang of one way to engage, established companies U-turn, shifting their product offering, while around the corner, another startup produces the next killer platform, and the process begins anew. Never have marketers had this many options to transmit messages as broadly or as deeply.
While none of this is easy, there are brands out there that seem to understand digital marketing better than others. There are the Red Bulls, Starbucks and Zappos of the world who have seemingly endless resources and a laser guided organizational vision to traverse the shifting ground. But what if you aren’t one of the fortunate who have “figured it all out?” Start by watching and learning from those who are. It’s all about authenticity, honesty and a genuine respect for its consumers. Look to your customers, they have better stories than the ones anyone could dream up.
The final piece here is marketing automation. The focus has always centered on customer relationship management systems, but several major acquisitions in the last 12 months have kept marketing automation at the forefront of the digital marketing revolution. Oracle’s acquisition of Eloqua and Salesforce’s acquisition of ExactTarget have come with hefty price tags reflecting the strategic value of businesses in this lucrative market.
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