I have the honor and privilege of working along side some of the smartest e-business executives in the world. Armed with boatloads of data (of course) and influence from friends (Scot Wingo, ColderICE, Ms. Collier, etc, etc, etc) and market leaders, I like to make my own lists of what I project will be major moving factors in the year ahead. Fortunately for me (and my clients) I have been mostly right over the last 10+ years, and usually AHEAD of the curve on one or two predictions each year 🙂
Enough chatter…on with the predictions and what I am proclaiming as the…
TOP 5 Marketing Trends for 2014
1. Channel Agnosticism
We are taking religion totally out of the equation. The holy halls of Brick-n-Mortar will no longer be the foundation from which businesses work. The notion of ONLINE and OFFLINE activities being segmented will all but disappear! Multi-Omni-WhateverYouWantToCallIt-Channel will finally be the standard. Channels will be viewed through a holistic lens. Integrated marketing IS the new standard. Websites, Stores, Catalogs, Social, Marketplaces, Shopping Feeds – One Digitally Consolidated World. I know I said we were taking religion out of this equation…but somebody PLEASE give me an AMEN on this one!
2. Device Independence
If 2013 was the year of m-commerce emergence, then 2014 is going to be the year for heavy investment and focus on website design to achieve platform and device independence. Also referred to as Responsive Design – sites will be architected to automatically adapt to any device being used – be it desktop, tablet, smartphone. Pete Cashmore’s article on Mashable.com stated it this way:
“In simple terms, a responsive web design uses “media queries” to figure out what resolution of device it’s being served on.Flexible images and fluid grids then size correctly to fit the screen.”
He bold prediction that 2013 was the Year of Responsive Design was just a little ahead of the curve. Everyone started the scramble last year, but MOST everyone will execute the plan in 2014 🙂
3. Marketing Automation
The cross-pollination of score-based segmentation with visitor / traffic forensics has delivered the ability to (with ever increasing accuracy) identify previously “anonymous” browsers and begin a proactive dialog that is focused on the surmised need of that user.
For example, I know that customers browsing xyz.html are most likely to be office managers or procurement agents. Browser A has come to the page from an identifiable IP address connected to company B. In seconds, our forensics engine can crawl the web and find out that company B has an employee listed on LinkedIn that has a title of Office Manager…Her name is Bethany DiMaggio. She is a married mother of 3 from Chicago and her email address is b_dimmag@companyB.co…..WOW!
Now, there’s a chance there could be no-user matches found, or potentially dozens. But if we utilize statistical probability or basic scoring processes, we can identify the name and email address of the most-likely person browsing the page at that very minute. Think of how we can use that to make meaningful contact, begin a drip program to get to know them even better, make offers specific to what we know they are interested in…the list goes on. This presents an excellent segue into trend #4.
4. Engagement – Personalization
The walls between personal and professional are getting thinner. And while this seems disturbing in some respects, it opens up avenues for more meaningful connections in the world around us – from shopping experiences, to social groups and proximity marketing. Product personalization has been huge the last few years (one of my predictions from 2004-5).
Engagement / Personalization will bridge aggressively into:
- Website User Experiences
- In-Store User Experiences / Real-Time Offers
- Near Field Communication (NFC)
- WiFi Profile Networks
5. Customer Success
2014 will usher in Chief Customer Success Officers (CCSO) at some of the largest and most reputable companies in the world. The great thing is that in large part it will not be embarked on as a means to chasing a trend – it will come from a real buy-in that investing in the happiness and well-being of the customer will deliver loyalty and long-term profitability. The customer’s “success” will actually be at the center of the business world for, well…the first time. I have been a HUGE advocate of this for years – in my own businesses and in those that I have consulted with. This one, should I be correct in my prediction, will make me a very happy man in 2014 🙂
Can’t wait to tackle 2014, and then look back to see how these predictions stacked up against reality. Cheers to you and your endeavors in 2014!