Among the topics addressed at the 1st Meeting of Online Marketing Agencies held in Madrid, one of the most interesting was related to the future of digital communication: where are we going? How should we prepare for what awaits us? Five agencies answered these questions: The Plan Company, Poweraxle, Secuoyas, Contestomatik, and Cink Shaking Business.
What are the future trends in Online Marketing?
Faced with this initial question raised by Alicia Senovilla, the presenter of the event, the participants in the debate gave their first arguments. The content that you will find below is an almost literal transcription of what was stated by the participants of the Meeting of Agencies.
1. First ideas of the speakers
María Redondo, The Plan Company
For María Redondo, the three most important issues that Online Communication Agencies will encounter in the future are these:
– Fluid information channel. All the discussions are taking place on very large social networks, but it is not natural. Never in history has communication between people developed on sites with 1.3 billion users at the same time, because we are very different and there have to be different scenarios. The best way to communicate with your users is through emails, You can do that using an SMTP server. You do not necessarily have to pay for sending your emails; you can also use free SMTP relay providers out there to communicate.
In fact, social networks have understood this and small platforms have been created where interesting debates can also take place. We are not digital natives, we do not belong to the generation that was born with these channels. And many times we do not understand why young people hardly write on social networks. For us, it is still a novelty and we enter every two by three on Facebook and Twitter. I believe that this will happen and it will give way to a kind of fluid channel of information that we enter whenever we want something. Especially,
– Analysis of emotions. It’s basic. We have to know our clients very well. Not only to each group of our target but also to each client individually. I think that everything will progress there: it is not only about communicating but also about knowing how our clients feel.
– Gamification. Little is being said about gamification as an element of communication. Our young people are playing continuously. We will have to use gamification to filter the huge amount of information that we are having. Instead of focusing so much on the information, we should focus more on the game. In this way, we will have to hook users on a professional and social level.
Rocío Bravo , Poweraxle
Rocío Bravo also highlighted three fundamental aspects that Digital Marketing is going to face soon:
– The content is not adapting to the devices, nor to the different segments and audiences within social networks. Nor is taking advantage of the variety of formats that we can use to publicize the contents.
– Another basic thing is that those responsible for the communication and digital marketing departments must have an important technological component. If you do not know technology, it is very difficult for you to optimize your work and reach the client. Before it was difficult for communication companies to understand it, they considered it a geek issue. It is elementary to train yourself or have someone by your side with this technological knowledge.
– The issue of influencers and opinion leaders is also fundamental. It is a gem, it helps us a lot, it is a key piece just like the content, we have to rely a lot on them because it is very effective, it is very fast to gain notoriety thanks to them. Because they have more scope because at the communication level it is easier to take the brand, conceptualize it, and link it to an influencer. In addition, the client does understand this because he sees quick results.
These are the four points on which Pedro Abad focused his attention.
– Today we have a huge amount of information from our customers, users, or readers. And we can even know one to one who they are. The first trend that digital communication must have today is that whenever possible it is personalized and that it is different for A than for B. This is difficult to change because those who are developing the content have had training in journalism and traditional communication.
– Communication must be transparent and sincere. If we tell a lie, going to Wikipedia and refuting it can take a matter of seconds. So you have to be careful about telling half-truths because it ends up turning around.
– Communication must be consistent. We must not give mixed messages. As communication is multi-channel and multi-device, we must have unified style messages and manuals within our agency and also if several agencies work for the same brand.
– There is no more effective communication than the one someone seeks for himself. When someone searches for information and finds it, what is called opinion-shaping occurs in their brain? And this, in the sales process, is perhaps what impacts the most. It is the slowest way, it is the most expensive, but it is the best way and you have to try to bet on it whenever you can. Creating true and relevant information for people to find.
Úrsula Epalz a, from Contestomatik
Úrsula Epalza sees two keywords in the future of communication:
– Communication of value and disconnection. Right now we connect to everything: Internet, Facebook, Twitter … But I think that in the future we will not see it that way. Things are going to connect to us. When you meet the user, you know where they are connected, and you really start to make a direct, personal communication, from you to you and knowing what you have to say to each potential client. I believe that brands are ultimately made by customers. It is the added content that they are giving. I believe that the future of communication is a different way of reaching your audience that is going to be somewhere other than the one we have right now, that we do not know how it will be and that we will have to do it as we go.
– Now the challenge for agencies is that clients understand our language, take them to our field or, even, we get off theirs. In the future, it will be the other way around. Our customers, the digital natives, will be above us. Because we were not born on Twitter, but those of us who are going to speak tomorrow have.
Sergio Cortés, Cink Shaking Business
Sergio Cortés focused on four aspects:
– Intelligent communication is the clearest future trend of Online Marketing. This has been talked about a lot for a long time, it is nothing new, but technology now allows us and makes it possible for communication to be personalized and one to one. Thanks to technology, today it is possible to know each client, we have a lot of information about each user: what they like, where they live, if they are married or single, keywords and tags associated with their profile, etc., etc. Therefore, we can direct personalized messages in a real way.
– The concept of audiences will change within online marketing. The communications will become personal and drink from two sources: first, everything related to social profiles; and on the other, everything that is big data and what will be the new evolution of the Internet that is constantly giving us new data.
– How are the agencies going to deal with the issue of privacy in a real way? The key is in the value proposition that brands are capable of generating. It has to be concrete, clear, concise, and generate a situation whereby the user is willing to give up their data for a brand to exploit.
– The mobile is the channel of the future and generates communication dynamics that the agencies have not yet understood too well. We must take into account many factors. For example, it is the only device we have within a meter of us 24 hours a day, even when we sleep. That doesn’t just mean a channel, it means a very different way of communicating. This also generates a whole system of technology and devices that allow that personal audience to have the tools to configure their information system. From the agencies, we have an important mission to facilitate that the user regulates what type of content reaches him.
2. Should agencies change the way they work?
Once the participants made their initial proposals clear, several important questions related to the future of Online Marketing agencies came to the fore. The first is the way of working.
Sergio Cortés stated that marketing companies must change the way they do things.
The debate we are experiencing now about the reach of Facebook shows this a lot. The agencies are very angry because Facebook controls too much of the targeting of the content that puts a brand on its profile. And there is a great debate about what right Facebook has to advocate for its audiences. We have to communicate in a different way. We are still in the concept of I generate content, I have an audience that listens to me, and what I want is to have the largest possible community. For me, this is quite a disused topic.
Úrsula Epalza was also in favor of the change when communicating.
Before there was a wall and we saw that brands tried to communicate with their customers by throwing paper at them. They threw the message to see if they got it. Now brands have begun to enter the life of the client and it is not about that either. I believe that the future of online communication involves us knowing how to differentiate, seeing that that was the past and that now we have to know how to enter a type of people who connect in a very different way. The users now perceive the brand in a different way: not as something behind the wall or as something at home eating breakfast with them. Something in between.
Pedro Abad went further and highlighted what is the cause of the current type of communication.
One of the things that are most difficult for us to understand is that we no longer have control over messages. One-way communication is over. The community does and says what it wants, whether you agree or not. One of our challenges is to make brands understand that they no longer control their messages, their content, or opinions. This has entered a mode of total freedom, everyone says and publicly expresses what they want, under their responsibility, and the brand has no control. In fact, trying to interfere with that freedom is usually quite negative.
3. Should there be a fusion between Communication, Marketing, and Advertising in agencies?
María Redondo raised this topic generating a lot of debate.
Communication agencies, marketing agencies, and advertising agencies must be differentiated. Advertising companies often dominate the client by trust, but not by knowledge of digital media, for example.
Pedro Abad was in favor of the merger.
Communication, marketing, and advertising should be integrated, go hand in hand, and be a whole.
Sergio Cortés added an interesting nuance: the existence of digital service companies.
The role of marketing to sell is often confused when what companies really need is to design a digital service. That is, to adapt to the fact that the consumer has other habits, other uses, other channels, etc. It is not that from the marketing we have to use digital services to reach a consumer who is digital and buys through the Internet. There is a big difference between companies that are dedicated to marketing and communication and companies that are dedicated to designing digital services. This basically means identifying an innovation opportunity in the consumer’s habit and executing it in a digital environment, or sometimes analog, or mixed. They are disciplines that often mix and coexist with each other.
Rocío Bravo also spoke in favor of integration.
When a client comes to our agency and tells us “we want a digital presence ”, we create a communication campaign, we go to all the social channels that there are and we go a little over the limit of communication. We started doing promotions, marketing strategies and everything began to merge. The good thing about doing it from the communication agency is that you have some key messages that have been created in a very exhaustive way, with which you don’t get lost, but in the end, you get into marketing aspects a lot. I rather believe in fusion.