Now that 2014 is coming to a close, let the ubiquitous year-in-review lists begin! Most newsworthy topics of the year. Best music videos of the year. Most shocking moments. Biggest things that “broke” the Internet. Best new technology—you get the idea. Our left-brain-dominant advertising staff loves a good list, so we’ll play along.

One of the best things about being in advertising is that we are trendsetters. A good advertiser can use the data from the past to project future behavior, and begin to instill tomorrow’s trends into today’s reach.

So rather than summarize the past, we’ll peer into our crystal ball for 2015 and share with you our 12 best ways to strengthen your advertising in 2015.

1. Learn to reach the Hispanic/Latino audience.

As the population increases in the country, Hispanic and Latinos are becoming more prominent–yet subliminal–in advertising.
http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/heres-why-brands-are-speaking-spanish-general-market-ads-158448

2. Increase your awareness and understanding of how to reach Generation Z (a.k.a. iGen, a.k.a. digital natives, born in 2000 and later.) They are up and coming and entering their formative teenage years.

3. Use Mobile responsive formats. We’re not at the point of creating mobile-only, but we are far past desktop-only. Omni-device targeting is so important to rendering success and ROI of your campaigns.

According to eMarketer, the number of local searches made via the mobile web is growing at a much faster rate than desktop searches.

Plus, consumers who do local searches on mobile are more likely to take action. A study found that half of consumers who conducted local searches via smartphone visited the store within a day, and 18 percent of local queries on smartphones led to a purchase.

Similarly, when it comes to website content, less is more. People aren’t reading websites now—they’re merely skimming headlines and images.

4. Flash is going away – HTML5 is increasing in a big way.

5. Stay true to your brand. Authentic branding is more important than ever. With the rise of social media marketing, don’t underestimate the intelligence of consumers – they can spot inauthentic messaging a mile away. Coupling stellar brand messaging with authenticity to your audience builds a much stronger brand in their minds.

6. Incorporate image-based social media marketing – Vine, Instagram and Snapchat are showing no signs of slowing down.

7. Custom Apps. The world can use one more app. Yours. Make it all that you need it to be. From allowing your sales people to capture leads information while engaging with customers on the trade show floor, to connecting with consumers for special event and offers, custom apps will become one of your most flexible marketing tools.

8. Use your website analytics to provide insights. Digital efforts provide all sort of insightful information (how many clicks, how many views, who, when and for how long) that can help you better understand your target market, evaluate your return on investment and adjust future efforts. That information is readily available and everyone should use it.

9. Programmatic marketing may work for you. Broadcast media is starting to be offered similar to digital. Now you can target a geographic and psychographic audience and serve your ads specifically to each audience (on some stations). That means you and I could be watching the same exact program, and have different commercials served to us based on our viewing habits and preferences. It’s literally the best of digital ads on a traditional broadcast medium.

10. Optimize your website for Search – SEO. Google has changed their algorithm again (well twice this year already)! Are you staying ahead of the curve? Search Engine Optimization, when done correctly, allows you to increase your standings on search engine response pages. Every marketer should be incorporating this into their plan this year.

11. Start PPC Campaigns. Along with SEO, you should be doing Pay Per Click. Capture leads and prospects while they are searching on the major search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing). Best of all you can control what you pay and who sees it. This is a must do for every marketing plan.

12. Hire Awesome People. (Wink, wink) Deciding what agency to work with in 2015 will probably be your most important decision. Look for a team who’s knowledgeable and talented, who shares your same values and those of your organizations and why not, one that’s fun to work with.

Janelle Vandriel

Born and raised in Canada, Janelle has managed multi-channel marketing projects for over 8 years. Her past marketing experience in Los Angeles included several national clients with a focus on integrated campaigns in the healthcare and sports industries, and nonprofit sector. Notable accounts include World Vision, American Cancer Society and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Forward-thinking and marketing-minded, Janelle has a strong background in business and brand development, print and interactive campaigns, account management, and marketing consulting for startups. At Davidson Belluso, Janelle managed accounts in her areas of marketing expertise, and drove process improvements to maximize efficiency. An American and Canadian citizen and personal trainer, Janelle is an exercise enthusiast and completed the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim hike.