The beginning of the year is time to take stock of new initiatives and directions. I started with a post on the 3 key words for 2014. While there is nothing flagrantly new in the items I am promoting as being the top trends for marketing, this year, there is a feeling of “breakout” or a tipping point in many of them. Furthermore, what may be new is why and how we approach each. To that end, for each of the top trends I have added for each the key question(s). This post comes in anticipation of my keynote speech at the LabCom 2014 Conference in Paris (21/1/14).
Top 10 marketing trends for 2014
On a backdrop of every more sophisticated content marketing, storytelling and even some newsjacking, here are the top 10 marketing trends for 2014.
Top Trends – Pure marketing
Mobile. This year will see mobile access to the web eclipse the desktop in many countries. There is no longer an excuse not to have a great user experience on the mobile. mCommerce will start to take as much importance or eCommerce. But, who has the real estate on the home page of the mobile? Do you or your brand have an app or service sufficiently powerful that some clients will consider putting it up on their mobile home page?
Video. With the continuing growth of Youtube, Vine and Instagram video, this year could see the breakout of the GIF, which is known to create far higher engagement than a longer video or plain images. How many people in your team know what a GIF is, much less how to create one?
Data. There’s big data, small data and, more than anything, smart data. But the big question: who owns the data?
Marketing automation. On the one hand, there is a trend of consolidation as big players continue to buy up the best marketing automation services. On the other hand, marketing teams are desperately trying to find the best short cut to consolidate and optimize their CRM efforts. The big question: does your company have the right infrastructure to assemble and treat the data coming in real time from different sources?
Top Trends – Technology
Security / Privacy. On the heels of the NSA debacle (affecting the citizen) and the mega hack of Target & Nieman Marcus (affecting the consumer), there is going to be a strong focus on the security of systems, mixed in with a serious questioning on the invasion of privacy. The killer question: who actually owns the data? Is it Facebook, the payment merchants, the distributor, the brand… or the government?
Wearable. At the dawn of the quantified self and the option to wear glasses that record everything, is your (google) glass half full or half empty?
3D Printing. With 3D printers becoming more affordable and the technology permitting more new materials, this is the year 3D printing is going to go mainstream. 3D printing avenues and opportunities include hyper customization, producing obscure accessories and spare parts, as well as luxury samples. Where does innovation reside within your organization and how will your brand provide utility through the 3D for the customer?
Coding. The growth in online courses on coding (Code School, codecadmey, Treehouse…) is symptomatic of the opportunity (and need) for great coders. Is everyone in the company ready to become a bit coder (as opposed to a bitcoiner or byte coder)?
Top Trends – Human Resources
Talent. If HR has been a perennial outlier at the Executive Committee table, the fight for great talent has never been quite the same because of the dearth of experience and quality. In addition, big business often does not look as enticing as entrepreneurial or pure player environments. Whether it is for editing, copywriting, coding or creativity, the ability for a company to find, recruit, train and retain talented individuals will be essential for the fast-changing years ahead. The killer question: is the HR team digitally able and enabled already?
Learning. Because the pace of change has been outpacing the rate of learning in enterprise, there will be added emphasis on the creation of ongoing learning platforms (including, but not limited to eLearning). The Learning Organization is now coming of age in the minds of the more enlightened CEOs. Does the enterprise have a culture of humility that opens it up to the urgent need to learn more effectively and efficiently every day?
All in all, there is little that is “new” in the list. It is more a question of momentum and tipping points! This year looks to be a year of consolidation and optimization with an ever greater widening of the gap between those brands and companies that “get” digital and those that continue not to take digital and the necessary transformation seriously.
Your thoughts and reactions are welcome!