It’s the time of year for prediction posts. But every year that practice seems more and more of a fool’s game. Looking at the grab bag of digital marketing news that has bubbled up recently, how can you make any predictions? This field is too fast moving. In lieu of predictions, I offer you a nice “clean out the kitchen” stew of online marketing news.

The gap between email and social in the financial services industry

Customers in the financial services industry prefer to communicate with representatives from financial institutions via email, according to a study of payment preferences of U.S. consumers.

More than 30 percent of respondents preferred email as the channel of choice for all issues, including account information, special offers and customer service, while social media did not pass 3 percent in any category.

Law firms are getting out of their comfort zones to find sales professionals

Law firms are a little behind the times when it comes to content marketing. (We saw some evidence of this in a previous news digest.) One tradition they’re trapped in is relying on “rainmakers” in the firm to bring in clients rather than employing business development and sales professionals. But many firms are breaking this tradition, according to a report from the Legal Marketing Association.

  • 42 percent of those surveyed have hired someone with “primarily market facing responsibilities.”
  • 31 percent said they plan to hire “non-lawyer” client-facing positions.
  • 93 percent said they are planning to provide sales training to lawyers in the firm.

A Bloomberg report on this trend notes that much of the resistance comes from an icky traditional image of sales people.

Fair enough. But you know what’s a great antidote to that perception problem? A Definition of Content Marketing Based On What You Can Do For Others

Vinyl makes more money than free music platforms. Natch.

This interesting nugget got a lot of attention last month, but the trend is not so easy to parse as the headlines suggested.

Apparently, sales of LP records on vinyl generate more money for the music industry than does ad-supported streaming to consumers on Spotify, YouTube and Vevo combined, according to a report from the Recording Industry Association of America [RIAA].

Vinyl sales are up 52% from last year. And they represent 30 percent of the value of all physical formats, which was more than I would have guessed, but that’s largely due to a fast decline recently of CD sales more than the growth of vinyl.

So vinyl is more profitable than digital, right? Not so simple, as this column in The Telegraph points out. The free-to-use ad-supported corner of the music industry is in question, but digital radio sales are still ten times LP sales.

Politicians use content marketing too

Brands use content marketing to attract consumers, so it’s only natural for politicians to leverage it as a tool to attract voters. Politicians in the U.K. have actually hired American content marketing firms, according to an article from British content marketing company First Word. The best candidates deployed content that answered voters’ questions in a straightforward manner on a simple website.

Related reading: A Campaign About You: How Content Marketing Could Help Elect the Next President

140 characters might not be enough for Twitter

Twitter is considering expanding its 140 character limit, according to a Re/code report. This might involve not counting Twitter handles and URLs as characters, providing commenting options and potentially even adding a long-form blogging product.

Edtech is growing really fast

Global investments in learning technology jumped from $2.4 billion in all of ‘14 (which was itself a giant increase over ‘13) to $3.7 billion for the first three quarters of ‘15, according to a report from Ambient Insights. Deal flow is also way up — 473 deals in the first three quarters of ‘15. Even this is only a slice as the report doesn’t include non-instructional tech in the education sector such as back end, IT, support services or financial management and marketing tools designed especially for schools.

A huge share of this investment, $1.2 billion, was in companies operating in China, and growth is also significant in Brazil and India. About half of the companies are direct B2C (student facing) and the rest sell to corporations, health care, K-12 or higher ed.

Millennials are still dominating social media

The majority of Instagram and Twitter users are millennials — 70% and 61% respectively — according to research from GfK. Median ages dramatically increase for other social media platforms such as Facebook (40) and LinkedIn (44). But so do income and education profiles. After LinkedIn, Pinterest had the second most education user base, with 41 percent at “college plus.”

Joseph Rauch contributed research and writing to this article.