For this interview, I spoke with Rich Brown, SourceLink’s Chief Technology Officer & VP, Marketing Technology Solutions . Rich has a deep background and roughly 20 years experience in marketing technology, data warehousing and business intelligence solutions.

Nowadays, it seems like everybody has a smartphone, but surprisingly few companies are taking advantage of offer-based engines that utilize smartphones. Let’s face it, people are sharing, and are sharing A LOT. Every minute, over 2000 FourSquare users check in with their location and often who they are with. Google location data on smartphones allow for millions more to be located. With all this “checking in” and location data, what can be done?

Social, Mobile and Location

In the past, many marketers haven’t really known what to use all of this data for, and more so, weren’t sure how to tie all of this activity to actual transactions. In 2014, look for marketers to connect the dots between Social, Location and Mobile, which Rich referred to as “SOLOMO.” Expect to see a transition bridging social with location data to show an actual ROI from offline interactions.

The trick begins with beginning to get MORE information about people from social media through harnessing big data and by utilizing more social logins and location-based data. Gone are the days where a company has to mine the data themselves, as many small and medium-sized marketing companies will invest in the personnel to better harness data. Marketers must start by taking steps to understand their customers better, and then prepare a mobile marketing and engagement strategy with a qualified partner.

2014 will be the Year of the App

2014 will not be the year of the Smartphone, as that has already happened, but it will be the year that the mobile app really takes off in more amazing fashion than ever before. Mobile strategies will no longer focus on flashy design, but more on ease of use, and how to make online ordering and scheduling as expeditious as possible. Smartphone users will shift to desiring apps that do more than simply provide information, but rather provide and engagement platform, one that makes the brand conversation easier on them. Mobile has been around seemingly forever, but 2014 will show significant leaps in standardized app development using HTML5, and will allow for better marketing using near-field communication and seamless location-based offerings from marketers.

Apps are getting better and more intuitive every day. Retail and Hospitality have embraced SOLOMO more than any other vertical so far, and banking looks to be the next industry to take off, with insurance closely behind. Many of the larger banks and insurance companies are embracing this new breed of app, as witnessed with the location-enabled Geico app, where claims can be recorded and reported at the spot of the incident. Looking forward, mobile devices are becoming the primary device to plan a marketing strategy around, with trigger events and reminders allowing touchpoints for marketers at any point during the communications cycle. When communications are relevant, timely and reach you at a time that you will actually convert, they become appreciated. This is the challenge for marketers in 2014, and the direction that smartphones and mobile apps must strive toward in the years to come.