By Bo Mattsson, Chief Executive, Cint

The digital marketing toolkit is more diverse than it has ever been, stemming from the rapid and significant evolution of the marketing arena, which was brought about by the emergence of fierce competition. However, fundamental marketing principles should not be forgotten in the quest to appear cutting-edge and brands should still give strong consideration to their approach, ensuring it is the right one for them.

One area that has experienced significant growth this year has been in advertising on social media. Platforms such as Facebook have been open about their plans to increase paid media and decrease the amount of organic content that brands deliver to the news feed. So, whilst many brands use a combination of social media advertising and organic content engagement to propel their messages to fans and followers, this major shift means they could be forced to take out more advertising if they want their messages to be distributed to their audience. Facebook has also decreased the amount of advertisement space available to make the platform more desirable for users. However, this premium space for marketers inevitably comes with a larger price tag. This means even greater consideration is needed with regards to innovative content, as opposed to simply following the trend.

Following on from 2013, another major trend has been content marketing. However, it is again important to ask if brands have rushed to the fore without properly considering their strategy, content quality and channels. Much can be earned from holding back and watching what other brands are up to, in order to learn from their successes and mistakes. In order to get it right, one of the biggest aspects to consider is what your target audience wants, which can be established through effective market research. Many brands are now experiencing the merit in gathering insights and opinions from their audiences on a regular basis, by establishing their own research panels. This practice further engages the audience and enhances loyalty and brand advocacy by involving them in the process.

Geo-targeting has been a buzzword in 2014 and is a real area of evolution. Examples of this include real-time targeting of consumers in a physical store, through tactics such as ‘check in’ invitations or push notifications. As an evolving area, it is understandable that brands will want to heavily test this practice. However, considering how crucial the audience and context is, there can be a fine line between engaging a customer in real time and having them feel that the process is invasive. This can be an excellent tactic for some brands but for others it may simply not be appropriate.

Trends evolve from innovation in any industry. While many strive to be at the forefront of advancement in whichever field they operate in, sometimes it’s better to hold back rather than jump on the bandwagon. This allows better assessment as to whether a particular development is right for the business rather than rushing in off the back of a trend.

Bo Mattsson is the chief executive of Cint, a global provider of market research tools and survey sampling solutions for obtaining market insight from survey respondants via its OpinionHUB global exchange platform. Bo founded Cint in 1998 when he decided to apply his experience of trading online to the market research industry. He then took over as CEO in 2003 to revamp the core technology behind the market research tools into an exchange-based offering for transparent respondent access. For further information, please click here.