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From the Five pillars of effective digital marketing, we have practical ideas for you to use.

For the last decade or so, I’ve identified the latest trends in digital marketing and forecasted what the major trends will be in the coming year. The goal is to assist marketers and business owners in coming up with new marketing ideas, reviewing their budget investments, and putting together their plans. There is always a lot of interest as businesses consider tactics they can use to gain an advantage by utilizing some of the most cutting-edge techniques.

Based on our RACE digital marketing framework, this review covers the most recent developments in digital marketing across the many digital marketing channels tools that businesses can use. We created this to assist businesses in developing a solid approach to developing integrated digital marketing strategies across 25 key activities that comprise our RACE Growth System.

digital marketing trends

The following diagram, from my book Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation, and Practice, depicts common digital marketing activities throughout the customer lifecycle.

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I intend to make the forecast useful for people working in various types of businesses, as Smart Insights members range from smaller businesses and startups to medium-sized international brands in industries such as retail, financial services, pharma, and business-to-business.

To simplify this review of digital marketing trends, we go beyond the 25 core RACE activities to examine trends across six digital marketing pillars. We identified these pillars to provide business owners and managers with a high-level view of digital marketing success factors that must all be invested in to provide a comprehensive approach to digital marketing. In smaller businesses, one person, such as the owner or digital marketing manager, may be responsible for all, whereas in larger businesses, one person may be responsible for each pillar with many team members. The six pillars of effective digital marketing that we will discuss are as follows:

  1. Strategy and management (or administration): Analytics, Strategy (Segmentation, Targeting, Brand Positioning), Integration, Marketing and Sales Alignment, Resourcing, Structure, Skills Development, and Marketing Technology are some of the objectives.
  2. Objectives and metrics: Forecasts, digital reporting, including KPI dashboards, attribution, and customer insight.
  3. Media: Paid, owned, and earned media, such as organic and paid search engine results, social media, and display advertising.
  4. Content: A content marketing strategy that includes product and blog content, PDF downloads, interactive tools, and content distribution.
  5. Digital Experience: Website and apps for desktop and mobile. Customer service is available online.

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Trends in digital strategy and planning

Digital marketing strategy is critical to digital marketing success because it defines how marketing budgets should be allocated across the pillars.

The latest Gartner State of Marketing Budgets and Strategy in 2022 research on digital marketing investment highlights trends in budget allocation among larger businesses where:

Marketing spends more than half of its budget (54% on average) on online channels.

More than 60% of the digital budget is spent on paid media.

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As shown in the chart in the media section of this post, there is a fairly even distribution of digital media channels.

digital marketing trends

Trends in marketing technology (Martech)

According to Gartner research, Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) typically spend 25% of their marketing budget on marketing technology. It’s a surprisingly large sum, especially given how difficult it can be to establish ROI, and the research also shows that using all of the features can be difficult. According to Gartner,
Trends in digital insight and reporting
As we saw in the previous section, there is a trend toward increased spending on business science and data analytics. The use of artificial intelligence (AI), particularly predictive marketing analytics, is growing.

Another trend in this area is increased constraints on data use due to consumer privacy concerns and government action to enforce this. The digital service act is part of this in the EU. Many states in the United States have now enacted stricter privacy laws, and this trend is likely to continue.

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Trends in the media

However, the mix of these media has shifted. One of the most significant changes is the growing need to invest in paid media. With the need for social media platforms to monetise their platforms and the platforms’ deliberate restriction of organic reach, ‘pay to play’ in social media is the norm. According to this graph, the two most important categories of media spend are paid social and paid search. It’s also interesting to see the options for partner marketing included, which are referred to as co-marketing in my chart.

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Trends in content marketing

We identified content marketing as one of our six digital marketing pillars because it fuels all digital marketing activities, including various types of media, and supports conversion through the digital experience. In my experience, content is frequently not managed as the strategic asset that it is, necessitating a dedicated content marketing strategy and resource.

Google’s recent Helpful content update, which can penalize port quality content, reminds us of the importance of quality content in Autumn 2022.

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Trends in digital experience

There is a general trend toward richer, more interactive experiences. The next figure, also from my book, depicts the trend.

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