Part 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.