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5 Major Digital Marketing Trends for 2014

  
  
  
  
  

This article by Gordon Plutsky orginally appeared on imediaconnection.com

2014 Marketing and Media Predictions and Outlook, Part 1

  
  
  
  
  
Happy New Year 2014 resized 600Part I: Predictions
Part II Larger trends for marketers

Everything is connected: 2014 will see a lot of buzz and progress in the connection of non-computer devices to the Internet.  Sometimes called the Internet of Things, driving this are improvements in underlying technologies (such as wireless networking, communications protocols, shrinking silicon chips, etc.) and falling costs, which allows more objects to become easily embedded with sensors, gaining the ability to communicate over the same IP as the internet.  Apple’s iBeacon and new products such as wearable tech (watches, glasses), appliances and cars will take advantage of these improvements.  Addionally, there will be an uptick in mobile payments and m-commerce.  Mobile is becoming the dominant platform for customer interaction and content consumption.

Native advertising is advertising posing as relevant content.  The hottest trend in advertising is really an old idea going back decades to the advertorial.  Seeing it in a digital platform blurs the lines between ads and editorial even more than it did in days of magazine special sections.  More brands will move traditional ad dollars to this tactic in a big way resulting in possible ad clutter.  Just what they were trying to avoid in the first place.

We have just seen the beginning of provocative headlines promising a life changing emotional moment though a viral video that you just have to click on right now.  The battle for clicks and referrals from social networks will rage through 2014.  More here on how it works.   

The Twitter/TV connection will get stronger as broadcasters have found a way to make watching on their schedule relevant once again in the age of on-demand content.  It works best when it happens organically among viewers allowing brands to message to them in context.  It does not work well when forced or when TV hosts read selected tweets on live TV, which can be painful to watch.  The mighty, yet humble #Hashtag will grow in cultural significance.

The buzz around content marketing will continue to grow as brands (big and small) build content engagement strategies. They will need to decide how they are going to the fill the tremendous need for brand content for their web sites and social channels.  There will be vendors to fill the void offering inexpensive and automated content solutions.  This may not be the best way to engage customers in meaningful conversation by adding insight and driving customers to action.  The key to successful content marketing will be the ability to get customers to share it with friends and family.  Brand content of low quality or duplicative with other ubiquitous web content will fail.  Changes in the way Google treats keywords puts even more demand on the need to have quality content.  

Distribution strategies will become more important to content marketers.  Creating content that no one sees is not helpful.  Smart strategies to amplify owned media with paid, earned and share will be a major theme in 2014.

In the first ever cold weather Super Bowl, there will be plenty of empty seats in cold MetLife Stadium by the 4th quarter as either the Seattle Seahawks or SF 49ers will put a serious beat down on the AFC participant –likely the Broncos, Colts or Patriots.  Several brands will try their hand at real time social media marketing during the Super Bowl and one will fail big and be mocked.

A big political year – the GOP will easily hold the House, but will only come close to taking the Senate, keeping control in Democratic hands.  President Obama will stay below 50% approval all year as the conversation shifts to the 2016 election.  The end of 2014 will see Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie seen as clear frontrunners.   The Dow Jones Index will end 2014 above 18,000 and unemployment will only slightly scrape under 7% due to Boomers leaving the labor force.  

The subscription/on demand model for media will grow even faster as Netflix, Pandora, Amazon and iTunes become the dominant sources for content when and how you want it.  The long-term trend will continue away from network TV viewing, while cable subscriptions and music sales will continue to decline.  PC sales downturns will accelerate in a tablet-first world.  Mobile shakeout will begin, as there is not enough room for the Windows or BlackBerry platforms among developers and customers.  

Facebook matures in two ways – young people continue to turn away to other alternatives and have no interest hanging out with their parents and grandparents.  Facebook also goes “all in” with pay to play – don’t count on anyone seeing your brand’s content post if you don’t run an ad campaign.  Free ride is over.

Part II tomorrow on big trends for marketers.




























New Book on Multichannel Marketing Best Practices

  
  
  
  
  

A new book, Multichannel Marketing Ecosystems, has been published with a variety of leading authors contributing chapters including King Fish’s CEO Cam Brown.  Cam’s piece is about using the tried and true technique of storytelling and content marketing to drive sales for your brand. 

Should Retailers Open On Thanksgiving?

  
  
  
  
  

More and more retailers are opening on Thanksgiving with some notable exceptions like Nordstrom and BJs.  This has wide ranging implication for brands and their perceived image and relationship with customers.  In the social era you share your brand with customers and people have become media; they can be your biggest advocates or detractors.  On Nov. 26, King Fish CEO Cam Brown went on FOX 25 in Boston to discuss the implications for both retailers and consumers.

Content Strategy Roundup - August 9, 2013

  
  
  
  
  

A collection of articles from around the web to help content strategies and digital marketers

Turning Point for Media: Digital tops TV

  
  
  
  
  
Media Usage resized 600

A major threshold has been reached in the evolution of U.S. media.  Adults now spend more time with digital media than TV according to eMarketer’s latest estimate of media consumption.  Stats and tables are here and here.

Content Strategy Roundup - August 1, 2013

  
  
  
  
  
content marketing1 resized 600

Here are some insightful articles from the past few weeks.  We hope you find them useful. Click on the headlines to link to the articles.

New Free eBook: Content Marketing for Customer Engagement

  
  
  
  
  

Please download our newest eBook: Content Marketing for Customer Engagement: Four Steps to Success

The Apple Lifestyle vs. The Samsung Device: Tale of the Tape

  
  
  
  
  
samsung apple wars321 resized 600

The battle between Apple and Samsung is heating up for both smartphones and tablets.  Apple has a lot riding on the release of iOS7 and the new iPhones and iPads that will follow.  Samsung has a more varied product line and leads with the Galaxy 4.  Both product families are excellent and it often comes down to personal preference or your carrier.  The contrasts between their marketing/advertising approaches are as different as the phones.  It is a case study in how you create and leverage a brand.

Samsung’s history as a maker of devices and products is evident in their marketing – they advertise the “thing”.  And, they do like to spend.  They have always tried to bludgeon the competition with huge media buys across several products categories. Their ads focus on the features and the cool stuff you can do with the Galaxy such as the larger screen or the ability to wave your hand for a command.  This clearly appeals to people who watch a lot of video and play games, and don’t really think of it as a telephone.  The devices are stand alone in that they don’t really tie to any other Samsung offering, but rather the Apps offered in the Android store.  

The ads have another obvious theme – they are not Apple and it’s not an iPhone.  This plays on two factors, first, a blowback against the popularity of Apple and their famously devoted fans.  Secondly, they are trying to create a movement that they are the “next cool thing” and preferred by the young and hip, by contrast, Apple is for boring middle age people who drive a Camry and have 401Ks.  


Here is a long form ad that is a combination of cool gadgets and young people befuddleing their elders with their magic machine





I am not a fan of this as a long-term strategy because hinging on being the new cool thing has a short shelf life.  By definition something can only be new and leading edge for a short amount of time – ask Vine.  Also, you may be writing off or insulting a large segment of consumers.  There are not a lot of people 40+ who aspire to be a 25-year-old hipster, but they do have a lot more disposable income.

Apple’s approach is clearly illustrated by their new commercial you can see below.



When asking the famous question “what business are you in?”  Apple would never answer with anything to do with devices, phones, computer etc. Those are just the means to the end.  Apple is in the experience business – they enhance your life with information and entertainment and empower you at work.  Their have created an entire interconnected ecosystem that works together seamlessly in the cloud.  Apple is the ultimate lifestyle brand with a strong emotional connection between company and customer.  This sometimes borders on irrational (i.e. waiting online overnight for a phone that will be available everywhere within weeks), but that is what emotions are all about.  

Watch this Apple ad on how they bring you Music






















How the Tablet Will Change Content Marketing

  
  
  
  
  
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You may have heard the news of Pew’s new research on tablet ownership in the U.S. and the results are eye opening.  33% of all adults own a tablet (defined as iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Google Nexus, or Kindle Fire)—almost twice as many as the 18% who owned a tablet a year ago.  And, up from zero three years ago when Apple’s introduced the disruptive iPad.  (Go here to download the report)

The ownership numbers rise to 50% for key demographics such as:

* Ages 35-44
* People with College degrees
* Households over 75K per year
* Parents who have a child in the house

Not surprisingly, this rapid adoption has fostered a decrease in PC sales.  Tablet ownership should spike again this fall when the iOS7 powered new iPad rolls out along with competitive products from Samsung, Amazon, and Google

The vast majority of these tablets are not being used as “mobile devices”, but rather content consumption machines for text, images, video, music and social media.  And, they are being used to buy lots of stuff from e-retailers.  It is important to keep the use cases in mind – the PC is still the best device for creating content and working on complex problem solving – for now.  However, the tablet is superior for the classic “lean back” content emersion experience.  The clean and simple interface has contributed to the fast adaption.  Almost anyone from a toddler to the elderly can pick it up and figure it out within minutes.  Perhaps this will be Steve Job’s lasting legacy.

Clearly, the implications for brands and content marketers are immense as the “brand as media channel” revolution is in full swing and a CMO priority.  Content needs to be device agnostic and flow naturally to all possible devices and form factors.

Karen McGrane the author of Content Strategy for Mobile, recently wrote on the Harvard Business Review blog about how it is time to shift away from a paper/page paradigm for digital content.  Since the beginning of the web in the mid 90’s people have viewed it with the printed page in mind, hence the term web page.  The first websites were offshoots of printed material so it was natural to post print composed pages on the web.  McGrane suggests that is time to move past this thinking and it is hard to argue with the logic.  She says:

Publishing content to a variety of devices and platforms is fundamentally different from print. This wave of new connected devices means it's time we accept that the web isn't just a glorified print document. The way we think about content needs to change.

She suggests a new way to view content through the lens of the user experience.

"The page" as a container is so fundamental to how we think about reading; it's hard to break away from thinking about our content that way. On the web, we've repurposed that model, treating all of our content (text, but also graphics, videos, and other interactive elements) as through they "live" on a particular page. You don't have to spend too much time thinking about all these new form factors and device types to realize that the very notion of a page doesn't hold up. Content will "live" on many different screens and presentations. 

The future of connected devices is content in "chunks," not pages. Smaller, discrete content objects can be dynamically targeted to specific platforms and assembled into new containers on the fly. Which content and how much content appears on a given screen or interface will be defined by a set of rules, informed by metadata. Content will break free of the page and "live" in lots of different places.”

The tablet is just the first step, as we could be looking at wearable technology (Google Glasses, iWatch) very soon, and voice commands will enable content integration within cars.

While we are on the topic of moving away from old ideas, Rebecca Lieb an analyst for Altimeter Group writes about banner ads on iMedia Connection.  The banner ad comes from the same previous paradigm, it was merely a print ad transported to the web by ad sales people.  A recent study from comScore as reported by the Wall Street Journal shows some shocking results:

“54 percent of online display ads shown in “thousands” of campaigns measured by comScore Inc. between May of 2012 and February of this year weren’t seen by anyone, according to a study completed last month. Don’t confuse “weren’t seen” with “ignored.” These ads simply weren’t seen, the result of technical glitches, user habits and fraud.”   A mind-blowing amount of precious marketing budget is heading right into the shredder.

Yet, as Lieb points out, the demand and revenue for these outdated marketing tactics continues to grow while producing fewer results for marketers and less revenue for publishers as CPMs plummet.  Clearly, it’s time for a change when billions are wasted each year.

The takeaway for content marketers is to think differently when it comes to customer content engagement strategies.  The same old ideas and tired tactics won’t work as your customer’s readership habits evolve and interruptive marketing no longer works.  Time and technology only move forward, and today it happens fast.  




































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