What big trends do you predict will impact the digital-marketing world in 2014?
CMO.com spends a great deal of time keeping on top of what's ahead for marketers. But who better to answer this question for the new year than those leading marketers, themselves? So, for the third year in a row, that's who we turned to--B2B and B2C heads of marketing and other digital-marketing leaders who we've interviewed or who have contributed content to the site, including our very own bloggers. (We thank them all.) Among the responses are fresh perspectives on topics you'd expect, such as mobile, social media, and online video. Respondents also weigh in about seamless integration between online and offline worlds; content marketing that serves customers, not brands; and stronger interdepartmental collaboration.
And that's just for starters. Read on to learn what some of the best minds in the industry say we can expect in the coming 12 months. (Responses are arranged alphabetically by last name.)
Marketers continue to struggle with the fact that manual exploration and analysis of data are not scalable. In 2014, more marketers will begin leveraging machine-driven campaigns (specifically, machine-driven adaptation of strategies, offers, and messages for individual customers) that can be performed at massive scale and with relative ease.
–Lara Albert, SVP Of Global Marketing, Globys
We may already be in the midst of a mobile revolution, but next year is going to be the year of mobility–not just because of the widespread availability and use of smartphones and tablets, but because of expectations from IT leaders and sales operations. These executives expect more full-function capabilities on mobile devices for their salespeople so they can have effective conversations on any topic at any time. As CMO, you will need to embrace mobile applications that will better align and support the marketing and sales teams so they can move the needle and make mobility a weapon that helps them close more deals. You will also have to reconcile investments in technology and mobility, and this will change the revenue equation–it won’t be just about bottom-line reduction, but driving top-line growth.
–Kurt Andersen, Executive Vice President Of Sales Enablement And Marketing, SAVO
Social media platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, have already blazed the trail for advertisers this year, and we can only expect services like SnapChat will follow suit. Space on popular platforms is too valuable, and companies are seeing this as the new wave in advertising to reach consumers.
–Ryan Aynes, Co-Founder of EDGE Collective
Publish Or Perish
I predict that in 2014 the line between online retailer and online content publisher will continue to blur. Online content publishers are experimenting with various models of e-commerce–diversifying away from an ad sales-only model by introducing e-commerce either on site or in partnership with affiliated sites. With brand authority, great content, and context, they are able to leverage their existing traffic to drive incremental revenue with little or no additional customer acquisition cost.
At the same time, e-commerce players are moving into publishing, building internal news desks focused on brand content and sales teams focused on selling digital inventory. On the agency side, media planners are starting to shift budget dollars from pure publishers to e-commerce retailers, taking advantage of the large audience pool who can be targeted by first-party data while they have their wallets out and are in research mode. It’s the perfect mix of being in context and having intent.
–Michael Beaulieu, Associate Director, Digital Media Sales, Wayfair
At the intersection of mobile, social, and video, 2014 will be the year when brand building finally goes properly digital. At the heart of this change will be the emergence out of the shadows of “transmedia storytelling” with the most forward-thinking brands fully embracing the opportunity to engage people not just on different digital platforms, but across them. In this context, the breakthrough piece of marketing for the year will have mobile at its core, but as the connective tissue for a multiplatform experience, not as a standalone channel.
–Nick Blunden, SVP, Global Head Of Digital & Content Strategy, The Economist
Bite Into Video
For Taco Bell, we see opportunities to create and use video content to engage with consumers on a deeper level and tell rich stories about our brand. As our customers spend more and more time consuming digital video on their desktop and mobile devices, we want to be present on the video platforms where they expect our brand to play, such as YouTube, Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat.
–Chris Brandt, CMO, Taco Bell
Seamless Shopping Experience
In 2014, quick shipping and pricing pressure will continue to remove the barrier between in-store and online purchases. More and more merchants will be releasing personalization apps that aren’t just focused on commerce, but make the entire shopping and purchase process more seamless for their customers, from browsing to tracking to purchase. Retailers will need to invest more in their mobile apps, but also focus on creating a great in-store experience so customers won’t be tempted to buy elsewhere or online.
–Ed Braswell, CEO And Founder, edo
Content That Delivers
2014 will be the year of brand publishing. Brands will set up real newsrooms and start producing content like a publisher–content their audience actually wants to consume and that drives a business result. Brands will also begin to partner with publishers, not to create "native ads," but with real content partnerships that create valuable information for the brands' and publishers' Web sites (paid and owned media) and that moves through the social Web (earned media). Most brands will move from promoting themselves to creating content that is useful to their audiences. Leading brands will seek to entertain their audiences as well as deliver real news.
–Michael Brenner, VP Of Marketing, SAP
Employees Must Socialize
2014 will see many different pieces of the social business puzzle start to come together around the idea of reputation, which a recent Deloitte survey of 300 executives found to be the No. 1 strategic risk in business today. Reputation in the digital bazaar depends on authentic, engaged social employees—but these employees must first be empowered internally if they are to become successful brand ambassadors. Social executives hold the key to this process. By embodying their brands' mission, vision, and values, social executives will secure the buy-in not only of their workforce, but of online communities as well. A strong reputation means having strong organizational values, and it is up to the C-suite to catalyze this process.
–Cheryl Burgess, CEO And CMO, Blue Focus Marketing
The trend I’m most excited to see the industry address is our consumers' evolving multiscreen behaviors. Seeing such a large percentage of consumers using multiple smart devices simultaneously or sequentially will require us to rethink our content strategy dramatically. We need to reconsider how we strategically approach communication and prioritize production and media dollars. We have to consider the connections our platforms have between each other and how it intersects with our consumers' evolving media and social habits. This will help us create and curate better content tailored for the right environment that helps us better connect with our consumers and encourages their active participation.
–Jeff Cole, Director, Digital Marketing, Jack Daniels
The Digital Brand Promise
You can't have a strong brand without a great customer experience. But you can't have a great customer experience without a clear brand strategy. In the digital realm, these two disciplines collide in 2014. CMOs will have to translate the promise of the brand for digital experience designers so that a customer on a mobile phone, tablet, or IVR gets the same treatment, be that short wait times or deep self-service support. Digital agencies will increase their focus on digital experience in 2014, and extend that to digital connections in stores to recognize the customer however he or she chooses to engage.
–David Cooperstein, VP & Practice Leader, CMO And Marketing Leadership Professionals, Forrester Research
In 2014 the chiefs of digital marketing teams will realize that Millennials are just another generation of young employees who need help making profitable contributions. Tips and articles about why employers need to handle Millennials with kid gloves notwithstanding, the best thing a CMO can do is treat them like any other group of up-and-comers: Make them prove themselves. In most other domains, smart, young, energetic employees work tons of hours doing grunt work. They're low (wo)man on the pecking order. They don't need homemade salads for lunch or "meaningful" work–just ask the last generation of achievers. The best boss a Millennial can have is the kind anyone needs–someone smart, fair, demanding, and very, very busy. Too busy to wipe their hineys. The best advice for Millennials: Don't expect special treatment at work. You have to earn your way. You're not your boss' customer. The customer is the customer, and your boss' job (and yours) is bending over backward (often with great discomfort) to make the customer happy. I think in 2014 everyone will start to get that, and then we move on to the next generation of plebes.
–Nick Corcodilos, CMO.com’s Ask The Headhunter blogger
VOC Goes 1:1
I think the most significant trend for marketers in 2014 will be the intersection of two issues: the renewed focus on 1:1 marketing and the increasing importance of the voice of the customer. Digital marketers must view customers as individuals instead of segments. With that perspective, marketers in 2014 can deliver much more personalized experiences that are customized to the individual based on preferences, previous buying history, or interactions. As social continues to transform marketing from a function to a customer experience, marketers will need to do more to create an engaging customer encounter and "up" the quality of leads from social channels. Increased personalization will enable marketers to really harness the voice of the customer, and, as a result, empowered customers will bring a wealth of knowledge to marketers who need to integrate this important perspective into the overall corporate strategy. Ultimately, these two trends will foster a mutually gratifying dialogue, which, in the end, will increase brand loyalty.
–Joe Cordo, CMO, Extraprise
Privacy's Push And Pull
The push and pull with privacy issues will impact how far digital will go. Converting big data to usable consumer targeting information, coupled with technology advancements, will open up new horizons for digital marketing–but staying within legal and socially acceptable guardrails will be an issue/challenge.
–Peter Cosco, Founder & CEO, 4Forces Group
Expect to see connected media consumption. Brands and publishers need to constantly think about how the content we're producing is being delivered and consumed–and how all of those multiple screens, media platforms, and social channels intersect. There will be new rules of engagement as advertising becomes much more integrated in the social media experience across multiple devices. Our challenge as marketers is figuring out the right play, and our ability to curate the very best content and curate experiences for consumers is going to be crucial to staying relevant, particularly as our audience's time and attention becomes fragmented and stretched even further.
–Linda Descano, Managing Director And Head Of Content And Social, North America Marketing, Citi
In the past, quantity of content has been a large focus–trying to publish as much content as frequently as possible. In 2014, there will be a large shift to quality driven both by Google's algorithm changes to reward unique quality content, as well as a greater need for marketers to differentiate from each other as content marketing goes mainstream. As a result, we will see a heavier emphasis on being unique, adding value, annotating, and ultimately the convergence of curated and created content.
–Pawan Deshpande, CEO, Curata
Events are the second greatest source of lead generation, just behind Web site traffic, and marketers are increasingly using technology to make the most of events. In 2014, event management will join the marketing cloud. Event management solutions will be integrated with CRM, Web conferencing, and marketing automation solutions to help organizations maximize event-generated leads and track how events impact revenue.
In addition, mobile apps will be event essentials. Attendees will access all event-related content via mobile devices, and mobile apps will drive attendee engagement, deliver real-time information, and promote social networking. Lastly, we see analytic and reporting technology will be used to demonstrate event ROI. Organizations will continue to scrutinize marketing spend, and event planners will need to justify events with verifiable, tangible data.
–Eric Eden, Vice President of Marketing, Cvent
Listen, Don't Ask
The essential question marketers should be asking is how to capture the voice of the customer in this age of screens and streams. The traditional method of "ask" research, where focus groups or highly structured surveys are asked of customers, must evolve. You will see the increase of "listen" research, where the customers' voice is harvested whenever, wherever they are discussing issues, brand, and products. This method of online anthropology will yield larger base sizes and richer information in reduced time. I equate the rise of listening to the farm-to-table movement: You start with natural ingredients, don't do much with it, and you wind up with this amazing, fresh set of insights.
–Christopher Frank, VP, Global Marketplace Insights, American Express
In 2014 we will continue to see customers assume more control of the relationships they have with the brands they do business with, choosing when, where, and how they want those interactions to take place. This "relationship revolution" among today's digital-savvy consumer means an increased demand for brands to deliver consistent experiences across channels, from in-person interactions to social media. Digital marketing efforts in 2014 will evolve to not only provide a consistent experience across online channels, but to provide the capability to begin an experience on one digital channel and seamlessly end the experience on another. Digital marketing efforts will increasingly be focused on enabling this fluidity and consistency to retain loyal customers and, ultimately, turn them into brand advocates.
–Jim Freeze, Chief Marketing Officer, Aspect
The Internet of Things will move beyond the hype, becoming more accessible. As manufacturers find new ways to connect their products to the Web and to other products, marketers will be forced to gain an understanding and communicate the benefits of connected living. New, easier-to-use open software and middleware platforms will emerge to turn brand connectivity from novelty to reality.
–Rick Gardinier, Chief Digital Officer, Brunner
In 2014, the post-PC era will truly take hold. The reality of mobile and tablets overtaking PCs will sink in as ad dollars and digital marketing race to catch up to mobile attention. This will impact not only what channels and native advertising opportunities matter most, but also prompt increased investment in mobile-friendly user experiences for Web sites, mobile e-mail, CRM strategies, and more.
–Bob Goodman, SVP, Director Of User Experience, Arnold Worldwide
Advertising Gets Fed
We will see a continued growth in advertising within content feeds, a la Facebook and Twitter. This will become the new dominant ad format for mobile across the open Web. Major media companies like Time Inc., IBT Media, and USA Today Sports Media Group are already engaging in this type of advertising, and we will continue to see it proliferate. With mobile advertising revenue continuing to rise, and banner ads on mobile a nonstarter, this type of advertising will emerge as the solution.
–Dan Greenberg, Co-Founder And CEO, Sharethrough
Two parallel but connected developments will start to impact the digital-marketing world in 2014. On one hand, we will see the emergence of "enlightened customers." This is the customer who now has confirmation that everything on digital channels can be tracked and most likely is being tracked (think: Edward Snowden). In addition, this is the customer who has started to understand the value of their personal information and of their digital habits for marketers (think: everything written in the popular press about how Google, Facebook, and Twitter make money). So we will see an increase in focus on privacy from the customers, which will lead to more demands from them for better control and management of how, where, what, and which marketing messages they want to see. Having been exposed to personalized messages already, these customers will still expect relevant and meaningful digital interactions with their chosen brands, while displaying significant discretion in choosing to allow the brands to do so.
On the other hand, with the increasing discretion and enlightenment of the digital consumer, marketers will face an increasingly uphill battle in creating relevant and meaningful engagements for their customers within their respective silos. They will need to work across silos to combine all of the intelligence they have about their customer base and will have to collaborate like never before to provide consistent brand engagement throughout the entire customer journey. This will encourage as well as, in many cases, force marketing silos to break their barriers and collaborate better.
–Vijayanta Gupta, Director Of Industry Strategy And Marketing For Digital Marketing, Adobe Systems
Millennials On The Go
While it’s not news that traditional TV habits have been dramatically changing, the prediction of consumers that never have a home landline phone or a cable subscription has come to fruition with this generation of young adults. We’ve been following Millennial TV consumption closely at Chegg, and college students' cable subscriptions and traditional TV viewing have been steadily declining over the past three years in favor of services like Hulu and Netflix, often on mobile devices or through Roku. As Millennials take their TV to go and are simultaneously engaging with Twitter or other social sites regarding the content they're watching, it's essential for brands to rethink how to break through when consumers are the programmers.
–Elizabeth Harz, VP Of Business Development, Chegg
I foresee two key areas that will mature in 2014 and that have already impacted many brand strategies in digital over the past 12 months. The first is the rise of social curation, where instead of focusing on creating new content from scratch, which can be expensive to develop and difficult to get cut-through from, you are able to curate and amplify existing digital content from open social networks and create new ways to tell your story or advocate your products and services. Platforms like Engage Sciences and Storystream are excellent examples where brands have been able to focus resources and budget on storytelling and engaging with consumers through existing conversations in real time instead of always creating new pieces of content.
Secondly, we will start to see a big growth of private or niche digital peer-to-peer networks that are natively mobile and allow people to share and engage with a smaller, more intimate group of friends and associates. The rise of social apps like Snapchat and Twickets are great examples of this.
–Craig Hepburn, Global Director Digital & Social Media, Nokia
Return To Search
In general, we, as marketing leaders, have lost proactive sight of the evolution happening in search (particularly organic). In recent years, our efforts have largely been reactionary (e.g., Panda/Penguin, personalized/social results, etc.) rather than adaptive and innovative. Basically we’re waiting around for the engines to affect our tactical plans. As search begins to demonstrably show the promise outlined in the Semantic Web, 2014 will demand that we consider how our messages and content are reflected in relevant contexts. Doing so demands strategic focus beyond targeted keywords.
–Chris Hewitt, Vice President Of Marketing And Communications, Abrazo Health Care
Smart Customers, Smarter Experiences
Digital innovation has radically reshaped the relationships between customers and the companies that wish to serve them. In spite of this, many successful companies continue to let inertia and other internal obstacles get the better of them. Databases of customer information remain in silos, divisions don’t cooperate, employees aren’t paid to focus on customer needs, and systems and processes that were never intended to be flexible. . .well, they remain that way. In short, the world has changed dramatically, but many companies have not. Forget about innovation–they’re not even sure how to keep up with their customers. To thrive in 2014 and beyond, companies must understand customer expectations and deliver on or beyond them across all channels and touchpoints.
–Michael Hinshaw, Managing Director, MCorp Consulting
Digital Gets Physical
The Internet of Things will be well and truly on everyone’s radar for 2014, and this will be the year it becomes mainstream. Not in the sense of directly connected embedded chips in every household object–that will take longer to materialize–but in terms of everyday objects communicating with individuals via smartphones and tablets combined with smart software in the cloud. This way of connecting physical things to the network, and so to people, systems and data, will bridge the boundary between digital and physical spaces. It will improve service delivery and service innovation for the world's leading brands by allowing them to connect directly to their customers through their products.
–Andy Hobsbawm, Founder & CMO, EVRYTHNG
Right Channel, Right Time
2014 will be the year that the best marketing organizations connect the dots between their attribution models and decisions about channel and content mix. Marketing is more focused on revenue than ever before, and the pressure to track ROI by channel continues to grow. In addition to crafting strategies that are truly relevant as perceived by the consumer, marketers must have expertise in understanding what messages will resonate within target segments, using the mobile channel throughout the sales funnel, and applying an attribution model that makes sense for their businesses. In 2014, those with the most relevant messages, delivered in the right channel at the right time, will win.
–Gretchen Hoffman, VP Of Marketing, NetBase
2014 will be the year the subscription direct-to-consumer content model disrupts digital video advertising system in a big way. YouTube Paid Subscriptions and creator platforms like Hank and John Green's Subbable (think Kickstarter for content) put the consumer in control over what content they watch and when. They also put the creator in control of what they want to create and for whom, offering independence from advertising revenue streams. If consumers are in control of the content they want and compensate creators directly in ad-free environments, where is an advertiser to advertise? This creates a pressure (and poses an opportunity) for creators and brands alike to up their games and create content that is something their customers are actually willing to pay for. The brands that will win will be the ones that offer the most value with their products, services, and content–whose marketing will hardly resemble marketing at all.
–Alex Jacobs, VP Group Director, Social Marketing, DigitasLBi San Francisco
In short, the biggest trend in digital marketing in 2014 will be the ongoing melding of mobile technology and data. Mobile will continue to be at the forefront of marketing. The experiences that we offer must work well on any device, in any location, and conform to our consumers' behaviors.
As marketers, we need to intimately understand consumer engagement and purchasing patterns to effectively send compelling messages optimized for the user's platform of choice. In addition, our customer engagement must be impactful and consistent, and take into perspective the lifetime value of customers across all channels.
Marketers need to have detailed data available, as well as the tools to analyze findings. Success in digital marketing will come to those who are able to convey these trends into meaningful consumer experiences.
–Barry Judge, CMO, LivingSocial
Big 'Social' Data
Next year we'll see the ability to take traditional customer relationship management systems and combine social network knowledge to get a three-dimensional view of the thoughts and behaviors of consumers. Before, all we knew were simple metrics like age, gender, and products previously purchased. Now with the addition of social intelligence, we know their music preferences, what TV shows they watch, how they feel about health care in this country, and whether they liked the final episode of "Breaking Bad." Advertisers will use these data points to see how social preferences affect buying behavior and how to better advertise to them in the future.
–Amy Kalokerinos, VP Head Of Alliances, North America, DigitasLBI New York
Content marketing, native advertising placement, mobile, and social media will be 2014's biggest trends as the medium becoming more mature and adaptable to offline marketing programs. Many of these topics were highlighted at the IMA-hosted IMPACT13 event in September (see video).
–Sinan Kanatsiz, Chairman, Internet Marketing Association
Invasive To Inviting
In 2014 personalized digital marketing will shift from invasive to inviting as digital marketers begin to crack the value exchange code when it comes to personal data. Studies show that consumers really like personalization just as much as marketers do–but right now the value exchange is not on the side of consumers, who feel that they are giving a lot of personal information and not getting an authentic personalized experience. Over the next year marketers will start to leverage that data more effectively and will use new tools to create better personalized experiences across all digital platforms. Marketers will begin moving away from just tracking behavior to using data to create sophisticated personalized experiences that will transform the digital experience without crossing the line into invasive data usage.
–Debi Kleiman, President Of Massachusetts Innovation And Technology Exchange (MITX) And Host Of FutureM
Marketing, Meet Sales
As savvy potential customers continue to take advantage of the vast amount of information online, they are now waiting until they are more than halfway through the buying cycle before engaging with a salesperson. This means that in 2014, sales and marketing need to partner sooner and differently to ensure company value is established. Re-examining traditional views on segmentation (target becomes targets as we embrace the true buying process), trading insights from prospect interactions candidly and dynamically, and owning leads collectively will paint success for sales and marketing as the lines between functions blur even greater next year.
–Tobias Lee, CMO For The Tax &Accounting Business, Thomson Reuters
Technology Gets Creative
Automation will drive greater creativity. 2014 will be the year that digital marketing's most innovative technologies truly converge with media and creative to drive campaigns that are both easy to plan and execute, and more engaging and effective than ever before. Open platforms will rise to the top, allowing for a more symbiotic relationship between marketing and technology. As machines and automation replace many of the manual processes that currently monopolize marketers' time and budget, CMOs can focus more of their organizations' resources on the big, bold creative ideas that drive engagement, conversions, and commerce.
–Bob Lord, Global CEO, AOL Networks
Physical Gets Digital
There's no doubt that our effectiveness in mobile is a part of continuing to improve the relevance of our package platform. Consumers have increasing demands as they look to track their packages. We've made some significant enhancements to our tracking for that reason, and our mobile site is one of the ways we do that. As more and more consumers embrace e-commerce and find more and more ways to shop online, our biggest obsession is finding new ways to ensure that experience is a good one when they use the Postal Service. That's where we see the largest upside in our growth.
The other thing is connecting the physical to the digital. That's helping grow our standard mail business. Our advertising mail business has grown in the past year, and that's in the back of more mailers adopting this connection between physical and digital.
–Nagisa Manabe, Chief Marketing And Sales Officer, U.S. Postal Service
2014 is going to officially usher in the era of wearable technology. From watches to glasses to everything between, smart wearable gear is going to change our daily lives and the way marketers interact with consumers. I think "wearable marketing" will start off a bit slow as the number of early adopters begins to rise, but savvy marketers will jump in early to generate buzz. There are a lot of great potential uses that drive utility and entertainment–location-based services, exercise monitors, enhanced game play that syncs our wearable gear to other screens. It's going to get interesting, and there will be room for brands from all different verticals to get involved.
–Solomon Masch, Director Of Mobile Sales & Strategy, Time Inc.
Spreading The Word
I see the opportunity to get more and more personalized in digital communications, versus having digital content and engaging in meaningful dialogue. But as we get more mature in the space, and we are able to serve up more personalized messages to people, we get almost that individual communication in digital channels. . .The next level is to be more personalized in who we talk to and how we talk to them. The biggest place we're starting with that is with our owner base, as we know more about them.
–Kim McCullough, Brand VP, Land Rover, North America
I see no end to the trend toward data-driven marketing, particularly as traditional media, like television, starts behaving more like digital media. As data becomes more critical to marketers, we will see a lot of strategic partnerships between publishers, advertisers, agencies, retailers, and payment processers, all with an eye toward linking data on consumers' advertising exposures to their purchases. Once those data mash-ups start to happen, we will be one step closer to the Holy Grail of knowing which advertisements are working and which are not.
–Elea McDonnell Feit, PhD, Executive Director, Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative
'Karmic Service Points'
We’re going to continue to see the democratization of brands in 2014. Companies are increasingly being defined by customer experience and how customers talk about those experiences online. Advertising campaigns are being trumped by Yelp ratings, TripAdvisor, and Amazon reviews. It’s the voice of the customer (VoC) age, and organizations are what their customers say they are in social media and beyond. Companies will be defined by the quality of the personalized service they deliver, and contact center interactions have never been more important as a way to shape online sentiment.
In customer service, small gestures can have big impact, and there is a huge opportunity for organizations to build stronger relationships with customers through proactive service. Companies can rack up "karmic service points" through proactive outreach that customers truly appreciate. Whether it's updating a potential airline customer on their departure gate, or reminding a customer of an upcoming appointment, you are making small investments in the relationship, and that's what builds brand loyalty in 2014.
–Mariann McDonagh, CMO, inContact
The convergence of marketing and technology will continue to produce inventions and innovations that bring consumers closer to brands and garner attention by providing true value in their lives. To keep up with the industry, marketers will have to pay less attention to traditional processes of the past, build flexibility into their marketing plan, and stay at the forefront of technology.
–Tim McMullen, Founder And Executive Creative Director, redpepper
Just In Time's Time
I think the big trend to impact the digital marketing world in 2014 is real-time or just-in-time marketing. All the platforms are headed in this direction, spearheaded by Oreo's Lights Out during the Super Bowl, leveraging instant behavioral data for digital advertising and sending trigger retargeting programs via e-mail within a shorter window after customer action. This will also be the next phase of mobile marketing. It will require digital marketing teams to be sophisticated with data and technology, and more nimble with the message and medium.
–Maryssa Miller, Director, Digital Commerce, JetBlue
Given the broad and complex landscape, I try to focus on the trends that are most likely to impact the PGA Tour, our fans, or our sponsors. For 2014, the Tour is focused on four big trends: the rapidly growing importance of content marketing, the diversification of social marketing options, the increasing preference for visual versus text-based content, and a great mobile interface transitioning from a "nice to have" to a "business necessity."
–Jay Monahan, CMO, PGA Tour
2014 will be all about integrating data from lots of disparate, channel-specific sources so a holistic measurement of the entire ecosystem's performance can be made. At the most cutting edge, it will be about cross-device integration—that is, linking the activity and marketing touchpoints of users across devices so their entire journey, not just the part that takes place on their PC, is tracked and analyzed so that appropriate steps can be taken to optimize the media that drives that journey. The change management within marketing organizations that is required to implement this kind of holistic, omnichannel marketing measurement strategy will be an obstacle–more because of the fear involved than what is actually involved. It's still a new challenge to the industry.
–Bill Muller, CMO, Visual IQ
Help Wanted: CCO
On average, 33 systems and six organizations participate to deliver a single order. The complexity around exchanging value with the customer demands businesses to rethink commerce. So a new executive is needed to drive the overall commerce strategy of the business. Where the CEO drives the values and vision of the company and the CFO defines the financial strategy, the new chief commerce officer (CCO) role will bridge marketing, sales, operations, and finance to deliver on the promise of a cohesive and compelling customer experience. The CCO will establish what every customer engagement needs to look like in order to make doing business an exchange of value, not just product.
–Michael Ni, CMO/SVP, Marketing And Products, Avangate
Facts Are Feelings
People are the new channel, and facts are feelings. There is an ever-growing dialogue where customers make and distribute content about services and brands and expect interaction online. In this they, themselves, form the new channel of distribution. And the further rise of data-driven decisions will continue to grow. Not the highest-paid opinion, but hypotheses that will and can be checked online will increasingly lead to actionable insights for me as a customer.
–Coen Olde Olthof, Senior Vice President, KPN
Mobile No Longer Matters
We will see the focus shift away from mobile, not because it's not an important channel, but because the game has changed. The reality is that everyone is now connected all the time, no matter what device they use. Research from Google found that we are increasingly using devices interchangeably and simultaneously; 90 percent of multiple device owners switch between screens to complete tasks, and 77 percent of mobile searches are done in a location where people are likely to have a PC available to them. The challenge is, therefore, not simply to make content available across channels, but to take into account time of day, location, device, and personal preferences to deliver an engaging, contextually relevant experience across any screen.
–Paige O’Neill, CMO, SDL
Success, Not Concepts
CEO understanding and acceptance of digital marketing will steadily rise, driven by concrete results that matter. As marketers get better at using digital marketing to reduce acquisition costs, expand margins, and reduce churn rates, they will be able to share regular, concrete success stories rather than concepts. And people learn through a combination of examples and repetition.
–John Parker, Adjunct Professor, Northwestern's Kellogg School Of Management
There is plenty of talk these days about native advertising scaling via automated buying and selling. It’s a nice idea, but if the ads are truly native, it won’t work–almost by definition. Truly native ads are native precisely because they’re customized for a particular publisher’s voice and audience. We may seem some standards for native units emerge, but you can’t go fully native without humans customizing the campaigns.
–Ben Plomion, VP, Marketing & Partnerships, Chango
Connect The Dots
For forward-looking companies, 2014 can be the year marketers, product developers, and customers connect the dots. Between the always-on connectivity, which is fast becoming a basic element of social business, and the burgeoning opportunity to connect products to one another and to customers through the "Internet of Things," marketing, customer service, and the user experience of the product itself are converging. For organizations that aren't beholden to siloed internal structures, the result will be a virtuous cycle of feedback that informs marketing and product development–and that builds customer loyalty as a result.
–Jeff Pundyk, Vice President, Content Marketing And Strategy, The Economist Group
Technology Has Impact
Marketers are drowning in technology choices to help them make a measurable impact on revenue. For revenue marketers, 2014 will be a year of learning how to use this technology to make a business impact. My top three predictions: One, sales will want to buy the marketing department. This means sales finally gets how marketing controls the top of the pipeline in a repeatable, predictable, and scalable fashion. They will want this.
Two, enterprise companies will become more effective at knocking down traditional marketing silos and using technology to drive a business result. With experience and enterprise case studies, the barriers of lack of vision, understanding of the scope of change, and lack of political power will be overcome. Three, marketing will get much better at using technology to drive a business result and will significantly grow marketing operations. . .creating ongoing, healthy tension with IT.
–Debbie Qaqish, Principal & Chief Strategy Officer, The Pedowitz Group
Sales, Meet Marketing
The true integration of marketing and sales has long been the Holy Grail for many companies–in 2014 we may see it finally here. The advent of marketing automation software has started a wave of change, especially among B2B companies. This software connects the digital activity of individuals directly to sales with speed and insight not seen before. The software, however, is not on its own a magic solution. Instead, companies will build digital ecosystems designed to find, cultivate, and feed leads into the system. If it's all about leads and sales in the end, there finally is a new and better way.
–Tony Quin, CEO, IQ
Teaming With Talent
I expect to see more women in senior executive positions. At a high level, we'll see more diverse hiring practices. Diversity—in terms of previous experience and professional backgrounds—could encompass hiring creative thinkers for analytical positions or individuals with B2C backgrounds for B2B organizations (and vice versa). We'll see more of the larger companies recruiting from, partnering with, and learning from small companies and startups. The intersection of talent right now is really exciting—so the more unique and diversified a team is, the better positioned a marketing team is to create a big impact across all trends that are influencing the future of marketing.
–Marisa Ricciardi, Global Head Of Marketing And Branding, NYSE Euronext
The Content Handoff
Marketing will need to view their content efforts as something that spans the entire buying cycle. These are customer conversations, not campaigns. Early in the funnel, you will need to build messaging that helps prospects determine whether they need to do something different. As the dialogue moves along, marketing will need to provide more content deeper into the buying cycle in the name of sales enablement. The content handoff to the field has been missing, and marketing needs to close that gap.
–Tim Riesterer, Chief Strategy And Marketing Officer, Corporate Visions
Preference-driven personalization will be an essential requirement for both B2B and B2C brands in 2014. Expect more in-depth personalization of experiences, communications, and offers, which is the most frequently stated expectation that has emerged from six months of voice of customer research conducted by our firm with customers of Fortune companies. Our research indicates that, notwithstanding privacy concerns, if consumers trust the brand and receive a useful value proposition, they will opt in to sharing increasingly detailed preference information in exchange for the marketer's promise to deliver relevant information and offers. This reframes data privacy concerns into a valuable exchange of information, which improves the customer experience. This exchange also benefits the marketer. Clients have found that this preference-driven information exchange results in uniquely accurate databases, which consistently drive 25 percent to 50 percent increases in revenue.
–Ernan Roman, President, ERDM
The biggest trend for 2014 will be how enterprises start to proactively create internal organizations to more cohesively manage paid, earned, and owned content. The benefits of a centrally managed content organization for most businesses is now well understood, and (as opposed to the informal roles now being deployed) I expect formal content marketing departments, organizations, or teams being the central focus for many businesses.
–Robert Rose, Senior Analyst, Digital Clarity Group, And Chief Strategist, Content Marketing Institute
Focus On Foresight
Marketing is rapidly shifting to a data-driven and predictive proposition, resulting in higher levels of "foresight" being achieved throughout organizations. 2014 will see marketing professionals rely more on analytics to achieve growth goals and facilitate the marketing development and deployment process, resulting in better decisions. This process will become enhanced as more data, research, advanced analytics, and business knowledge are integrated into a cohesive and increasingly automated system. CMOs will be able to leverage this system to show higher insight quality, stronger growth, value, and ROI.
–Eugene Roytburg, Ph.D., Managing Partner, 4i Inc.
Return On Relationship
Social needs to become more "social" in 2014. Communication and relationship building are the keys that will set your brand apart, add value, and lead to trust and loyalty. The brands that wake up and take advantage of these opportunities, instead of looking at social as just another place to advertise, will increase the lifetime value of their customers.
It has taken some push back from people who use social channels, but many brands seem to be finally figuring out the importance of return on relationship (#RonR) in the social space, the opportunities that live there, and that using social platforms as blast media channels can be effective, but wastes the true value that lies there waiting to be leveraged. There has been a lot of complaining on the part of lazy marketers who still try to take shortcuts, but the rewards for good social behavior are just too big to ignore. Spammers are getting penalized, and good networkers and community builders are reaping the benefits of engaged consumers, influential followers, and dynamic advocates.
–Ted Rubin, Social Media Strategist, Acting CMO Of Brand Innovators
Brands are constantly trying to connect and engage with consumers via social media--spending a lot of resources on creating unique content. At the same time, consumers are sharing millions of photos and videos of their favorite products daily. In the year ahead, we will see brands harness the power of this authentic visual content by bringing customer photos and videos into the online shopping experience and other marketing initiatives. This trend will lead to improved customer engagement and increased conversions, and it will lower the costs of creating unique lifestyle content.
–Pau Sabria, Co-Founder, Olapic
2014 will be a year that tests the change management leadership capabilities of CMOs. They will need to tackle the three biggest obstacles that stand in the way of them creating a fully integrated digital marketing strategy: insufficient talent in their teams, ineffective and uncoordinated technology resources, and organizational structures that don't give them appropriate decision rights or resources. CMOs should realize that an organization's digital marketing agility and fitness has become a proxy for broader cultural change that many organizations still need to undertake. CMO characteristics in high demand in 2014 are change management and influencing, as well as developing and managing talent.
–Richard Sanderson, Co-Leader Of The CMO Practice, Russell Reynolds Associates
All About Engagement
Next year traditional marketing/sales KPIs will become secondary, as usage and engagement becomes the cornerstone for other successful performance indicators. Also, there will be a major shift away from "hunters" to "farmers" who will focus on nourishing current customers and ensuring customer lifetime value vs. continuous new customer acquisitions.
–Matthew Shanahan, SVP Of Strategy, Scout Analytics
There is now a much greater awareness of Web site usability and its importance to online business success. Marketers have come to the realization that simply gathering big data is not enough, and that they must actually conduct tests to understand what's working and what's not. As we enter 2014, I expect analytics tools to move to the next step and provide not just data, but real actionable insights that can be translated to Web site improvements and the achievement of business goals.
–Hadas Sheinfeld, VP Of Product Management, ClickTale
The video medium is flourishing this year, with companies like Instagram and Vine really taking the world by storm. Facebook is even toying with the idea of launching video ads within its mobile apps. Bloggers are generating a substantial income by producing ingenious videos to popularize a brand. It's safe to say that videos are the future, and the future is today. Noticing a banner ad or reading a blurb is an antiquated business model for companies. Videos are real-time, entertaining, and poignant at times. 2014 will be the year of the video platform and how companies engage consumers via absolute marketing, not just passive representation.
–Jason Sherman, Founder And CEO, Instamour
Complex Web, Indeed!
Understanding the omnichannel consumer journey will take center stage. What a complex Web, indeed! The principles of consumer behavior remain the same (awareness, interest, desire, and action), but the traditional conduits have been replaced by multiscreen pathways. With 82 percent of consumers saying that multiscreening makes them more efficient, it is more than likely that your business will gain an advantage from understanding how your target is motivated by each screen. It's about being on the right screen, at the right time, with the right content.
Mobile marketing also will go from big to massive. Taking a cue from Google, which changed its algorithm to Hummingbird, a contextual search that caters to mobile and tablet users, it is a strategic imperative to have a thoughtfully designed mobile site that uses responsive design. The design challenge will be to say more with less, keeping your messages creatively concise with clear calls to action.
–Vicki Silver, Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Feld Entertainment
Data Joins The Party
If 2012 was the year of marketing automation and 2013 the year of content marketing, then 2014 will be the year that data joins the party in full force. The science of marketing is winning, and being data-driven is paramount in nearly every marketing organization–particularly around their digital strategy. The marketing toolkit is becoming more and more sophisticated, and marketers have spent more money and time building content and deploying automation technology to deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right person. And they are continuing to layer on analytic tools to measure (and improve) results continuously. Both of these initiatives rely heavily on data, the core of which sits in the contact and company information that resides in their marketing databases. The quality of that database is rapidly being exposed by these advances in automation and analytics–and modern marketers are taking notice. By keeping marketing data accurate and actionable, marketers will continue to drive efficiency gains in their marketing and sales engine. And the inverse of that statement is also true.
–Derek Slayton, CMO, NetProspex
Passive Digital Era
2014 will be the beginning of the end for digital marketing that requires active engagement by consumers. The era of passive digital has arrived. Wearables, facial recognition, biometrics, eye tracking, and more will be the future of digital and, thus, of marketing, too. Increasingly, success will come more from managing context and reacting to real-time cues, rather than from communicating to consumers a pivot point just around the bend.
–J. Walker Smith, Executive Chairman, The Futures Company
Ask And Ye Shall Find
Integrated customer analytics and personalized experiences will become the new normal. Much of the big data effort in marketing has been focused on the technology to bring together data from marketing channels and the customer database to enable a 360-degree view of the customer. The benefits of this investment will be increasingly realized in 2014 with analytics that bridge the traditional silos of behavior, commerce, and "ask" types of customer information. Marketers will start to work across the functional silos of site, email, search, and display to create more personalized, higher impact programs.
–David Welch, Vice President, Marketing Insights And Operations, Adobe
Consumed With Consumption
The biggest trends of 2014 will be the continued, dramatic shift of consumers' media consumption from PC/laptops to mobile devices (smartphones, tablets). Brands will have greater access to cost-effective platforms that leverage sophisticated ad targeting married with big data to reach consumers with timely, relevant messaging throughout their paths to purchase while they are at home, in store, and on the go. The consumption of both long-form and short-form online video will also continue to grow as consumers opt for more cost effective, convenient, and compelling options for consumers' digital entertainment and “edutainment.”
–Esmee Williams, VP Of Brand Marketing, AllRecipes
With the increase in importance of digital, the senior-most position has graduated from director-level (just a few years ago) to C-level status in many companies. While athletic retailer Finish Line is looking for a chief omnichannel officer (strong digital ownership), Starbucks, CVS, and others have chief digital officer positions already on staff. These new titles and significantly elevated reporting structures (oftentimes reporting to the CEO) signal that these roles can play a meaningful role in creating firm value and are often distinct from the CMO and CIO roles. Over the next few years, look for this structural experiment–Should digital report to the CMO or be separate from the CMO?–give way to learning that will turn this 2014 trend into a sustainable trend.
–Kimberly A. Whitler, Indiana University, Kelley School Of Business
Macroeconomically, we all need to pay attention to the looming threat of another government shutdown in January. This could have a big impact next year–digital marketing or otherwise.
Related to digital marketing, when it comes to mobile advertising innovation (new ad types, ways to monetize viewership), the browsing and shopping habits already exist across every category. The advertising dollars simply have not caught up–mainly because of poor resources on the buy side and a lack of product innovation on the sell side. I don't know whether we will see big breakthrough innovation next year, but pure consumption and media shifting suggests that this will happen very soon.
With Android adoption becoming increasingly prevalent, Google has demonstrated real leadership on tying cross-shopping behavior together at the Google account level. Its new Estimated Conversions feature will allow marketers the ability to predictably understand this cross-shopping behavior for further investment. In travel, this is critical–where today we already see greater than 30 percent of our shopping behavior occur through mobile on some channels.
Finally, at some point we will begin to understand whether online video impressions can have the same impact as a TV ad. As viewers continue to time shift to a tablet device or smart TV, marketers will lose the ability to have an influence over mass audiences. However, what will be lost in mass viewership can be gained in targetability over time. This is likely a trend that will slowly evolve over time.
–Brad Wilson, CMO, Travelocity
Organizations cannot afford to miss the move to digital, and they cannot wait for old-school CMOs to catch on. CMOs recruited for new positions in 2014 will need to be digitally savvy. It is no longer enough to just hire a social media manager or a digital marketing manager to be a part of the marketing department. Digital marketing needs to be at the center of the overall marketing strategy, not a chapter of its own. CMOs will need to be in tune with the changes coming our way. They need to understand that the customer does not want to be talked at, but rather invited into a dialogue on product and service development. The customer wants to be a part of the discussion on how the company can best serve their needs. Organizations and CMOs need to be set up to handle this tremendous shift of influence.
–Maria Ziv, Partner At Ziv Communications And Former Global Marketing Director, Visit Sweden
In 2014, we will see an explosion in the creation, capture, and use of data to transform marketing. From billboards that assess customer profiles and adjust content in real time to in-store or online tracking of buyer behavior to optimize engagement, data will be the key to revenue creation. Those marketers who embrace and use data to connect, listen, and engage with prospects and customers will have a significant competitive advantage.
–Sandra Zoratti, VP Of Marketing, Ricoh