WHAT IS A DIGITAL TREND?

21st Jul, 2014
by Rory Braatvedt

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As part of our recruitment process, we often ask prospective employees to write a short synopsis on a digital trend that they believe will play a key role in digital marketing. Unbeknown to them, it’s less of a test measuring their perception of trends, and more of a quick insight regarding their ability to write. Even if they were to discuss ‘the impact of robot cats uploading videos of themselves being cute to YouTube’, they could still come out golden if it’s written well.

Having read through a number of these submissions recently, and being sorely disappointed in the lack of robotic pets with video capture, I realised that the impact of trends are very rarely associated with a target market, location, or other piece of segmented data.  A trend is subjective, objective, and probably something else that ends in ‘jective’, and therefore it shouldn’t really be professed as a blanket statement without a reference point. 

"sorely disappointed in the lack of robotic pets with video capture"

It’s simple enough to spit out a few paragraphs regarding the growth of content marketing, native advertising, location-based marketing, user experience personalisation, wearable technology, and so on. It’s also relatively simple to pitch something as ‘developing or changing in a general direction’, i.e. as a ‘trend’. However, it’s not as simple to perceive a trend and then understand where the impact lies. What are the digital implications? Who are mostly affected - decision makers, consumers, or both? Is that ‘trend’ even relevant to the reader?

For example, one example of a ‘digital trend’ that was often cited revolved around the greater use of big data. That’s not a bad answer, but it’s certainly pretty broad; and doesn’t give any perspective on the implications from a digital standpoint. Data mining is nothing new, but making better use of the data to make more informed marketing decisions is gaining traction – especially given the exponential increase in mobile usage and the technology in newer mobiles giving access to a range of new data; including sensory data and location-aware data.

That said, in order to make better use of big data, you need the systems in place to capture and interpret it. This means integration of CMS/EMS such as our Kentico EMS platform, trained staff, and of course; funding. However, New Zealand companies are largely behind other countries in digital spend, which means it’s usually the basics that get looked after; not high involvement data insight projects. Therefore, the ‘trend’ isn’t necessarily taking place in New Zealand, but rather a movement towards educating the client and proving the worth of such investment is. Don't worry, Union is all over this and is currently working on something exciting already - watch this space.

Seriously though, a robot cat that can upload videos to YouTube would be an absolute gold mine. You heard it here first - the original catjective trend.