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With the ever-changing landscape of communication media, marketers have new challenges and opportunities for 2015. Your business’ ability to adapt to what some would call an upheaval in marketing best practices will be vital to your overall success.

So what’s the focus for 2015?

1. Prove your worth. We know marketing is effective, but now more than ever the marketing department is being asked to carry the burden of proof. Heading into 2015, be prepared to answer, “What’s the ROI on that?” With the heightened transparency provided by PPC ads, e-mail campaigns, and PURLs, response rates will be called upon to justify marketing dollar spend.

2. Engage in a conversation. We’ll need to move away from the campaign mentality into an approach embracing a constant engagement with your audience. Rather than a campaign, which has a beginning and an end, we will need to see our relationship with our prospects and clients as an ongoing conversation. With communication channels offered by social media, companies have the opportunity and perhaps, obligation, to develop a corporate language, a tone of voice, and a conversation. Marketing will become more about rapport and less about pushing a message out in a campaign.

3. Bring emotional value. Having developed a corporate voice, using it ought to lend itself to this primary purpose: building trust. Our challenge as marketers is not only to be consistent across all media with our tone of voice, but to be prepared to respond to our audience should they engage us. That means publicly saying sorry if we don’t live up to expectations somehow or even directing a prospect to a competitor if they would be better served somewhere else. The individual sale may be lost, but a reputation of trustworthiness – and emotional value – will be remembered in the long haul.

4. Implement technology.  Successful marketing will involve implementing technology as a marketing tool. Using it not only to measure one’s effectiveness, but we will see the need to embrace technology as a tool to integrate sales, marketing, and even customer service efforts. With vast amounts of data available, we can draw on trends occurring throughout the company and with our audience to optimize our marketing efforts.

The future of successful marketing will involve the ability to effectively humanize the business experience for our audience across all channels and using technology to optimize our efforts.

-Ideas originally discussed in Target Marketing magazine, Nov/Dec 2014