It’s that time of year when we turn to predicting the future and figuring out what will be keeping us busy in the next 12 months. For digital marketers, 2014 will have us looking for new ways to create meaningful interactions with prospects and customers, keeping up with the rapid pace of technology evolution, and finding ways to measure and report on digital marketing channels.
Prospects and customers looking for a particular product or service have no shortage of options from which to choose. Differentiating yourself from your competition will continue to be important in the coming year, however the way you go about it will shift. While 2013 was all about using “big data” to learn more about customer behavior, next year we’ll use “smart data” to gather valuable insights with a narrower focus. This data will help facilitate an understanding of each customer as an individual and will give marketers the opportunity to craft a more personalized experience for each user.
Storytelling has been playing a starring role in digital marketing strategy this past year, and it will continue to be an important way to connect with customers in 2014 with a slight twist. So much of content generation has been around the written word because search engine optimization is so key to lead generation, but marketers will get more sophisticated in the coming year and make more use of video to create engaging content for users.
Optimizing For Mobile
While mobile isn’t a new technology, it is one that continues to grow around the globe. In fact, more than half of adults surveyed worldwide say they rely on their smartphone to manage their lifestyle. Websites that aren’t providing a great mobile user experience are going to be left behind, especially when it comes to social sharing because those that are optimized for mobile are more likely to have their content shared via social networks. Responsive web design will continue its reign as the standard practice for creating websites that render beautifully on devices of various sizes.
Location Services & Personalization
With the rapid pace of new technology introduction, some things that are cutting-edge in January may be old news by December, however there are a few emerging technologies that digital marketers will want to pay mind to. Their common thread is creating a more personalized web experience for users that results in an increased conversion rate.
- iBeacon is a new technology that will change the way marketers deliver content to users based on their geography
- Real-time web personalization from companies like Evergage will personalize web page content and on site messages
Proving Social ROI
Understanding the return on investment of social media will be a key focus for many marketers in 2014. Determining the value of interactions and presence on social networks will be more important than ever as more resources and investment will be required to keep up with the “always on” consumer. Identifying the real business impact of this channel will allow marketers to create smarter strategies that increase conversions and revenue.
As with each new year, 2014 will test digital marketers in new ways. A recent Forrester Research survey found that 85% of B2B marketers are doing things today that they would not have thought to be their responsibility just three to five years ago. The industry has seen rapid changes due to the quick pace of technology evolution and it’s up to marketers to embrace new trends. If the past is any indicator, what’s new today will be a marketing department responsibility in the near future.