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Digital Marketing In 2015 – An Interview With Mike McGrail

Digital Marketing in 2015 – an interview with Mike McGrail

We were lucky enough to catch up with fellow Edinburgh-based Marketer, and founder of digital agency Velocity Digital, Mike McGrail, recently. He was very happy to share his thoughts on what trends he expects to see in Digital Marketing this year – and what he’d like to see. Read our full interview with him below.

Mike, you’ve been in the digital business for quite a while now. What do you think is the best thing about digital marketing – is it the personalisation, the internationalisation, the social element?

The ability to take your message to people in a form that allows you to be creative, responsive and analytical is a key factor for me. Looking at social media, we’ve been in a place for a while now where marketers can have a dialogue with the audience – that didn’t really exist pre-social. The rise of paid social may well reduce that as I can see a revolt against it coming if it’s not handled properly, and people will just switch off.

What tips would you give to a young entrepreneur considering promoting his or her business online? Should everybody go for social media, PPC campaigns or content marketing?

First of all, do your research! Where are your prospects present? How do they do business and find people they want to do business with? If you’re a B2C business, what influences purchases within your target market? Once you have that data in-hand, then you can make a far more informed decision on marketing. You will always need to take an integrated approach, with content very much being at the heart of it. Paid activity can drive your business forward, but it has to be in the right spirit. Think of content and social as a way of warming people up – paid activity, whether that be AdWords (and the rest of ‘traditional PPC) or social ads, you need to make sure it all works together.

You have a lot of experience in social media management. How do you feel about the new developments in social media– e.g. introducing paid-for campaigns?

The fact is that it’s harder than ever to make an impact on social, and when done properly, paid can be a great way of growing an audience and driving them to action. It’s all about the right blend though, you can’t just get by with paid social, your ‘organic’ social activity has to be excellent too. The fact is that nobody is on social to hear from brands – you need to earn that attention and once you have it, respect it. Social ads can be dangerous, too many companies leave them out there and ignore the social part – people can comment, and if they do they want answers, or if they are being negative, you’d better be there to respond!

Will companies keep using social media in 2015?

Yes they will and many of them will be investing more in delivering it in-house and allocating more budget to paid activity. Will they do it well? We’ll see!

In one of your latest blog posts, you mentioned that content marketing is still “a huge opportunity in 2015”. What other top trends should we keep an eye on in this year’s digital scene?

Content is the still the big one. Audio will make big leaps this year I think – it may well be the year that podcasts really unlock their value. Video is still massive and will continue to grow (especially if Facebook gets its way!), but I think people are starting to really adopt audio-only – look at the success of ‘Serial’. Personalisation of content needs to take steps forward, and the context of that is key.

What would you like to see happening in the digital world in 2015?

I’d like to see something truly innovative in the social world – a new platform that makes us all go ‘wow’. I think for that to happen, it will have to be something that is hugely visual and really grabs the imagination. I’d like social media analytics to take a leap forward, as it can still be very hard to attribute social interactions that lead to search activity for example.

*Photo credits: Patrick Brassat /

Mike McGrail

Mike McGrail is the founder of Velocity Digital, an Edinburgh based digital marketing consultancy that helps businesses grow by making the most of the digital opportunity. You can read more of his thoughts here. Follow him on Twitter here @mike_mcgrail.

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