Digital marketing trends 2011 – eConsultancy

This week I got rather excited when I received an invite back to Manchester Metropolitan University, where I studied for my degree. The reason for my (geekish) excitement was because Digital Marketing legend Dr. Dave Chaffey, author of a large proportion of digital marketing textbooks including those that I studied with, was due to do a talk on the ’11 Trends of 2011′. The lecture was really well attended with many of the usual, and many new faces, from the Manchester digital scene and students too.

Dave began the talk by giving everybody a heads up on the new Smart Insights website that they have been working on that will be going live soon. He mentioned that the site will be fully integrated with Google Analytics, something which I think will definitely be worth checking out!

He then went on to outline the 11 trends that he will be discussing, these were separated into:


  1. Content / Engagement Strategy
  2. Digital Marketing Optimisation
  3. ‘Right Touching’ = Engagement Optimisation
  4. Social Media Marketing
  5. Display Resurgence
  6. Mobile Apps

Threats & Headaches

  1. Googlization
  2. Social CRM
  3. Touchpoint Attribution
  4. Privacy Wars
  5. Digital Marketing = Marketing

Monitoring, Understanding & Learning About the Future of Digital

Dave spoke briefly about the ways that he keeps track with future trends and the direction of digital and digital marketing. While obvious things such as RSS feeds, a sturdy Twitter account and reading just about anything that you can get your mits on, which would be PushON’s recommendations. Dave showed the Ofcom Consumer Technology Adoption graph (shown below) and the Gartner Hype Cycle 2010, both as ways to gain understanding of consumer activity to use to influence your advances in the coming 12 months, based on 2010.

OfCom Consumer Technology Adoption 2010

He also discussed the difference in effectiveness between ‘trend’ and ‘vision’ following, personally I feel that there are positives for both – trend allows you to understand the marketplace and vision allows to to break the mould and really stand out.

1. Content/Engagement Strategy

The Internet is now a major part of a large proportion of people in developed countries lives’, they use it for many different purposes. These purposes are very different to the traditional uses of ‘shopping’ and ‘research’, it is vital that companies and brands recognise this. Rfintentindex is a great way of recognising questions like: Why people go online? What experience is it that they’re chasing? It’s no longer only shopping, people now use it as entertainment/have fun, just look at the figures… “82% use it to socialize, while only 31% use it to shop”.

Dave spoke about how Lakeland invested heavily in content and user experience to sell “boring plastic” and how i-to-i use video content effectively to engage their audience. “Crowdsource to improve your services, ask the question.”

2. Digital Marketing Optimisation

Dave then asked “how ‘automated’ is your optimisation?”, “many companies are drowning in data and not using that information”. Many processes can now be automated through a variety of tools available online, RSS feeds and tools like Shuffle Point, or even Yahoo Pipes, can help you become more efficient. Dave recommended following @minethatdata for realistic insight on the use of data within your organisation and @optimiseordie for expert views on conversion optimisation and usability.

“People sniff out/self identify with websites” – give them very simply clues and icons to help them to ‘smell’ and get to where they need to go. And, when in doubt, ask them! Tools like Kampyle, 4qsurvey, KISSinsights and Whatusersdo allow you to ask the questions to continuously improve your website.

3. ‘Right Touching’ = Engagement Optimisation

“Touch the customer with the right information at the right time.” And don’t unnecessarily pester them, a customer will come to you when they’re ready. An important point that has been stressed throughout the massive increase in the use of social networks, many of them failed to get this right (remember Myspace… ;-p) also, in my opinion, Youtube are teetering on the edge of this at the moment, serving messy and largely spammy pop-up messages all over videos that I’m watching forcing me to evangelise, and use much more, sites like Vimeo.

4. Social Media Marketing

While the term ‘social media marketing’ is a relatively old term to some of us in the digital marketing realm, Dave highlighted that to be effective it’s more about “social ‘selling’, social ‘CRM’ and social ‘business’, than simply ‘media'”. Media must be engaging if it is in the social landscape, such as Old Spice and Tipp Ex‘s fantastic Youtube campaign.

Dave highlighted tools such as Gigya and Reachcast that help you optimise your site’s connection with the social web. And also posed the question “Why isn’t your main presence for your company your facebook page?” H & M have recently done this and currently have over 6 million likes! I think that we should be prepared for similar changes over 2011.

5. Display Resurgence

Dave discussed the rejuvenation of display advertising with intelligent tools that collect information from the user (such as IP location, and sometimes even information from social networks that you’re signed in to) and displaying content relevant to this. This is often mentioned as every marketers dream, having tangible information on a specific user so that you can serve personalised, targeted advertising direct to them, increasing the potential click-through rate. GroupON are one company that I think have done this to great effect in Q3 and Q4 of 2010 and I would expect to see more of it.

6. There’s an app for that

Dave refereed to 2010 as “the year of the app”, something that I completely agree with. We saw the new generation of tablet computers come in in force, the iPad, Samsung Galaxy and the Dell Streak, most of which were accompanied with a greater importance on apps and app stores; whether Android or Apple-based.

7. Googlization of Everything

Need I say more…? Dave referred to the somewhat obvious trend that Google holds a major share of the search market, this is (and will continue to in the near future) a large influencing factor to online marketing budgets.

8. Social CRM

This is also referred to as ‘online channel integration’, an interesting point was made that Dave said that a large amount of marketers have shifted too heavily towards social networks and are forgetting about the tried and tested ‘traditional’ online marketing techniques, such as email marketing. He discussed that considering all marketing channels when constructing campaigns is essential, and don’t forget about your email marketing strategy! Dave recommended that ‘social network specific deals’ (e.g. “‘like’ our facebook page and comment on the wall to enter a competition) and recruiting Twitter followers via an email campaign can prove very effective. Flowtown was mentioned as a tool that can help to “make social media profitable”.

Also, with greater importance on social media marketing we must be aware that these networks are looking to monetize meaning that prices will only rise and some networks may charge for access in the future!

9. Multi-Touch Attribution

In a similar vein to the last point, marketers must consider and manage their overall strategy, including all channels and potential ‘touch points’. Dave mentioned that the data that we can pull from online analysis tools can teach us a huge amount about our visitors, using this in a intelligent way can help you analyse those visitors that visit your site a number of times before converting, TagMan is a company who gives great insight in this area.

10. Privacy Wars

Dave discussed the strong rumours that European legislation, and legislation in the US, will heavily influence a change in privacy rights in the near future, potentially seriously affecting ‘local’ targeting (even in light of Google’s recent location-orientated overhaul) and even geolocation technologies and social networks. A deeper discussion could be held about these proposed changes in EU legislation, I believe it is essential for digital marketers to pay due attention to these, including the larger related issues that are explored well in this article on piracy and infringements on intellectual property rights; OpenNet Initiative provide a solid overview of Europe’s ICT and online-based infrastructure and legislation.

11. Digital Marketing = Marketing?

Digital marketing is now beyond ‘new media’ and should be considered as central to most (if not all) marketing strategies. Check out and download the slides from the lecture here

Some other articles and blog posts that I found interesting for additional reading on this can be found below:

The talk was incredibly insightful and helped me, and us at PushON, think about the year ahead of us.

  • What changes do you think the coming year will bring us?
  • Do you think there is any reason to worry/get excited? If so, what is it?
  • Have you come across any articles on the trends of 2011 that you found interesting and would like to discuss/share?
  • Samsonj84

    Good info. Do you happen to have any information on trends in business schools focusing more energy to digital marketing? I have a facebook page dedicated to digital marketing degree programs and would like to share some of that info on there. Here is the page if you would like to see. Thanks

  • Samsonj84

    Good info. Do you happen to have any information on trends in business schools focusing more energy to digital marketing? I have a facebook page dedicated to digital marketing degree programs and would like to share some of that info on there. Here is the page if you would like to see. Thanks