After wrapping up “Ten Trends to Define Marketing in 2014, Ten Experts Weigh in,” I noticed some common themes throughout the interviews. These overarching themes are crucial to your marketing planning for 2014, and are likely to be core focuses in the years to come.
In nearly every interview, the common theme rang true – Marketers must start to think mobile as the primary channel for your audience, especially for email and social marketing. Mobile marketing is not new, or unique to 2014, but the means of accomplishing it effectively have evolved, and the shift to “mobile first” is a development that will impact years to come. Many of the experts referenced responsive and mobile-native design, and the importance of apps and geolocation on a mobile device is a hot area.
Bryan Yeager of eMarketer described 2013 as the “Tipping Point” for mobile, as time spent on mobile surpassed time spent on laptops, and “digital” time surpassed time spent with the television. Location, location, location was a theme, as Rich Brown shared how “SOLOMO” would evolve in 2013, where social media, location-based marketing and mobile technology converge to target users where they are with a device they have on their person. Regarding mobile design, Roehl Sanchez of BIMM Digital stated that “Truly beautiful design is invisible,” and all marketers must follow this mantra to connect with users on their smartphones and tablets.
Content as a focus of marketing departments isn’t a new focus either, but nearly every panelist interviewed mentioned the ways companies would be using content in 2014. Several mentioned that content creation departments and specialists within a company cement the priority of developing high quality content.
Ginger Conlon from Direct Marketing News even went so far as to describe the micromarketing campaigns that can be generated with a large content library and the tracking of behavioral preferences. Anne Handley described her role as “Chief Content Officer” for MarketingProfs, and the role that social networks like Snapchat and Instagram will play in 2014. John Foley of InterlinkONE described the emerging content of personalized augmented reality and video applications. Content is once again king in 2014. Additionally, the role that “Millennials” (adults aged 18-30 roughly) have in marketing will be crucial in 2013, according to Fast Company author David Burstein, as they are the most messaged-to generation of all time.
Data and Customer Intelligence
CI expert Judith Hemmel described the role of Customer Intelligence in 2014 neatly – “Moving from Creepy to Credible.” Nearly all of the panelists mentioned data as the primary element in effective marketing, and as customers choose whether or not to engage with a brand, and what channels they interact with the brand on. An interesting take from the interview with Roehl Sanchez of BIMM Digital was that the role data has of driving the creative process and the reciprocal role that design and creative have on the data. That being said, Cindy Randazzo focused much of her interview on how the Marketing Department and IT must work together in order to make the customer experience seamless and consistent.
These three themes showed up in nearly all off the “10 Trends to Define Marketing in 2014,” and judging from the expertise of the panelists interviewed, should be themes that we see for years to come, as technology, data and content continue to be relevant in effective customer communications.