A few weeks into 2014, marketers are still thinking about what the year will bring and how technology, connectivity, and buyer behavior are going to affect the way businesses engage and interact with customers and prospects.
In 2013, we saw mobile continue to rise as a legitimate platform for engagement; content marketing went mainstream; and video marketing became an essential practice. And Google Glass gave us a glimpse of the way we'll be connecting and consuming content in the future.
2014 promises to be just as transformative. Here are five trends that will be affecting marketing; keep them top of mind.
1. Metrics-driven campaigns will begin to provide diminishing results
Too often, if we adhere to metrics, our campaigns are simply "rinse-and-repeat." They may yield incremental improvements, but they lack the creativity that makes for truly groundbreaking campaigns.
In 2014, expect to see marketing campaigns that take intelligent risks, challenge the status quo, and dare to challenge what customers believe. Now is not the time to be risk-averse. Aggressive marketing often accompanies successful corporate performance.
2. Video marketing, once purely a consumer play, will expand into the enterprise
Video marketing will become a key part of enterprise IT decision-making processes. Those who figure out precisely where it sits in the buying cycle will benefit significantly, so look at your sales cycle, and at what resources you have and don't have on hand, and plan accordingly.
3. Big data analytics will meet content marketing
Big data is finally coming of age and allowing brands to not just harness relevant data but actually make predictions and recommendations based on that data. Simultaneously, software vendors are simplifying these once-complex computations, allowing marketers to use them without having to rely on data analysts.
Accordingly, a structural shift will take place within forward-looking enterprises. The big data scientists will sit alongside the marketing department, working together to drill down on not just who they're reaching but when they're reaching them. Multiple factors will determine the type of content being shared and how best to share it.
4. No longer will it be good enough to share the same content on mobile devices
Marketers will need to take note of the specific behaviors of a mobile vs. desktop user, and then tailor their approach and content accordingly. ON24's webinar performance data shows that desktop webcast attendees' behavior is different from those of people who watch webcasts from their mobile devices. If users don't behave the same way across devices, the content shouldn't be the same, either.
5. Authenticity will replace product pitches
Customers will demand that they connect directly with the companies they buy from and hear that message in an authentic voice. That will present a challenge because of an ever-increasing global audience, but it will also present more opportunities to create brand advocates worldwide.
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Certainly, each day that passes in 2014 will give rise to new trends, as additional technology and market needs continue to emerge. What do you see affecting marketing decision-makers in 2014?
By Tricia Heinrich