Some would say we are in a digital revolution and are wondering what 2014 will bring in terms of continuing trends.
Below are predictions on what the continuing trends will be from just a few marketing thought leaders for 2014:
Nancy Bhagat, Vice President of Marketing Strategy at Intel – We are going to see a huge increase in location-based marketing. With the rapid proliferation of devices, and the explosion of the Internet of Things, people will be carrying, utilizing, and depending on their devices more than ever. As part of the increased dependency, there is an increased expectation of services and personalization.
Michael Brenner, Vice President of Global Marketing at SAP – The social, mobile web has digitized information and allowed us all to connect with anyone, anywhere. When we need information, we can find it instantly. But digital disruption is about more than just information. As brands, we need to kill promotional marketing messages and start providing customer-centric information that is helpful to our target customers. But we need to go even further than that if we want to break through all the noise. One of the biggest trends I am seeing involves brands acting as producers – going beyond the publisher mentality and setting up newsrooms and production studios. Netflix (“House of Cards”), Red Bull (Media House) and Amazon (Alpha House) are just the first wave of this emerging trend.
Susan Emerick, Manager of Enterprise Social Strategy & Programs at IBM, co-author of The Most Powerful Brand on Earth – Cognitive computing is next big digital trend. More specifically, the beginning of a new era, where systems learn and interact naturally with people to extend what either humans or machine could do on their own. Rather than being programmed to anticipate every possible answer or action needed to perform a function or set of tasks, cognitive systems are trained using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to sense, predict, infer and, in some ways, think. This will unfold in years to come, helping human experts make better decisions in many capacities. Applying this to marketing and communications will help us better understand, anticipate & respond to customers.
Mark Curtis, CEO of BRANDERATI – 2012 was the year of acquisition, large fan/follower numbers, and fast-growing communities. 2013 was a year of engagement and content optimization: marketers realized that vanity numbers were not enough, that to continue to show real growth and solid KPIs they needed to engage their communities in a more meaningful way. 2014 will be a year of advocacy: marketers realizing that with growth of their social communities stagnating and the big content machine churning 24/7 they need a more cost-effective and more impactful way to reach current and new customers long-term in a sustainable way. The next major KPI jump and true business impact will come from very targeted niche communities – passionate (and sometimes highly influencial) advocates – and from marketing with them, not to them.
Jeffrey Hayzlett, primetime television show host on Bloomberg, author of bestselling books The Mirror Test and Running the Gauntlet – If 2013 showed us anything it’s that content is king and in 2014 those who use it wisely in their marketing plans will succeed. Marketers can capitalize on content in the upcoming year by making it compatible across all screens and distributing across their social platforms. Using new mediums like video to engage target markets and sharing content via social media using OPM (other people’s money) will drive awareness for brands and put them ahead of their competitors in 2014.
Vala Afshar, Chief Marketing Officer for Extreme Networks, co-author of The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence – Customers are the lifeblood of any company, and in 2014 businesses will need to find ways to engage with their end users in more meaningful ways. Online communities are one such way. Forrester reported earlier this year that there has been a 25% increase in community usage for customer service in the past three years. In 2014 expect to see companies leverage communities as a forum for customers to share their voice and also get answers to their most pressing questions from not only their peers, but also support and product experts at their vendor of choice.
Jay Baer, digital marketing consultant and author of the NYT bestseller Youtility – Several trends and technologies will reach maturity in 2014 spawning considerable disruption, but I believe native advertising will have the greatest impact. It’s a back to the future scenario. In the 1950s, product placement and “this episode of Your Hit Parade is brought to you by Lucky Strike Cigarettes” was the norm when companies wanted to reach prospective customers. We then steadily moved away from integrated advertising, bifurcating the content and the sponsors that paid the freight. Led by news/information websites (including Forbes) and fueled by social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram and Pinterest, native adverting is back and 2014 will be the year that Advertorial 2.0 becomes a major part of the marketing mix for most companies. This has far-reaching implications for consumers, authenticity, journalism, marketing budgets, and the role of agencies and whether the future is more “social” or more “media.” I’m betting on the latter.
Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute and author of Epic Content Marketing – In 2014, branded content marketing will be everywhere. You’ll see more brands launch their own content platforms, similar to what we’ve already seen with P&G, Adobe and Coca-Cola. But it won’t stop there. Native advertising continues to roll and we’ll be seeing more branded content in our favorite media platforms as well. And that’s not the half of it. I believe that in 2014 you’ll see a number of larger brands actually buy media companies in a “build it or buy it” scenario for content marketing.
Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner, host of the Social Media Marketing podcast, author of Launch – Podcasting will continue to grow substantially as more marketers begin to understand the value of reaching people while they are walking or driving via audio content. Podcast listeners average 20 minutes per episode (which about matches the average commute). Compare that to any other online channel and nothing matches up. If your business has not considered starting a podcast, now is the time.
David Deal, digital marketer and social media consultant – Hoaxes will disrupt the digital world constantly in 2014, threatening to upend our fundamental assumptions of what’s real and what’s make-believe when we interact with brands, the news media, and each other. Hoaxes have always been a hazard of the Internet, but a convergence of “me, too” and “me, first” thinking has created a climate of out-of-control pranks and stunts perpetrated by consumers, entertainers, ad agencies, and brands. We are all media now. It’s increasingly difficult to gain attention amid constant digital noise, which makes it all the more tempting to resort to stunts to gain attention. And an ever-present “fear of missing out,” combined with the ease of online posting, contributes to a culture of gullibility. Hoaxes will make the digital world more distrusting than ever.
Jeremiah Owyang, Chief Catalyst of Crowd Companies, a Brand Council for the Collaborative Economy – The rise of collaborative economy will have significant digital impact as it disrupts business models, companies, industries and economies. In the first phase, the people formerly known as the audience, created media and shared it, we know this as social media. In the next phase, the people formerly known as consumers are creating goods (called the maker movement), and may also share goods (called the sharing economy) which we collectively call the Collaborative Economy. This means people are empowered to get what they need from each other, rather than buy anew. Corporations that want to be part of this new economy must embrace the same strategies and allow the crowd to become part of their company functions.
All of these peoples opinions on what the new year will bring gives us terrific insight of what to expect.
Do you have any predictions of your own to share with our readers below?