Top marketing trends that will govern 2014

It appears that the top marketing trends in 2014 would largely emulate or outdo the momentum experienced during 2013. Disruptive trends such as mobile, augmented reality and big data will evolve rapidly, backed by large enterprises and early adopters. Content, online and social media marketing will continue to be areas commanding significant attention and investment by marketers.

Let’s look at the top trends that will govern 2014 and beyond.

1. Content will rule! Focus will be on smart and quality content

Focus on quality aContent will rule! Focus will be on smart and quality contentnd smart content i.e. contextual and personalized content will help marketers build greater brand, aid higher inbounds, building relationships and engagement opportunities for businesses. Integrated and personalized content across desktop and mobile through website, social media, blogs, marketing collaterals complemented with videos, images and Infographics assembled and uniformly presented to give a seamless experience to the target audience will be the best approach for marketers.

From digital communication perspective, responsive and multiplatform delivery of content will help maximize marketing ROI. Concurrently, analytic and customer insights will continue to guide marketers to refine and reposition their content appropriately towards the target audience.

2. Social Media will be a key business strategy (not only a marketing strategy)

A large chunk of buSocial Media will be a key business strategysinesses continued to use social media as another platform for promotion and products / services sales through 2013. This is most likely to continue in 2014 with businesses using social media to effectively engage with their audience with more meaningful and engaging content. Businesses across industries will increasingly use social media to engage with customers, drive business and create brand identity through this medium.

LinkedIn and Facebook will be top choice for social media advertising, Twitter will be the real-time newsroom, Slideshare will be a key content influencer and Google+ will be the key engagement tool. YouTube will continue to dominate video content sharing and Pinterest and Reddit will lead social bookmarking platform for internet communities.

3. Mobile marketing will see highest focus and greater investment

With over a billioMobile marketing will see highest focus and greater investmentn population globally carrying smartphones in their pocket currently, businesses (mostly small and mid-sized) those who continued on desktops will wake to realize the loss of customers and visitors until this time. 2014 will see serious strides in adopting mobile in their core marketing strategy and allocation of greater portion of the marketing budget towards mobile enablement, mobile marketing and mobile advertising.

The disruptive nature of mobile will compel businesses to have start-of-the-art mobile websites to provide relevant content, mobile commerce, targeting and mobile advertising. Large enterprises will be seen using evolving mobile technologies and related platforms such as augmented reality, bar code, geo-tagging, mobile digital wallets, analytics and big data through 2014.

4. Inbound marketing will critically focus on relationship building

In recent years, markInbound marketing will critically focus on relationship buildingeters allocated higher resources to create stronger inbound engine to generate traffic, leads, and conversions to support the demand generation engine.

Through 2014 and beyond, marketers will focus on building relationship with prospects and customers by nurturing and engaging with them throughout the sales cycle by supplying relevant information and targeted messaging.

This would mean creating more online content asset such as blogs, whitepapers and case studies. SEO and social media engagements will get higher importance against intrusive cold calling and email marketing. To ensure success, marketers will also keep a close eye on organic website traffic, enquiries, leads, measuring social media conversations, lead-gen through online content asset and other sources.

5. The #1 tag team will be Social Media + Big data + Location Based Services

Social Media, Big data, Location Based ServicesLarge enterprise will be seen using a combination of technology and platforms for focused targeting, advertising and selling, for example, banking, retail, and entertainment companies will be seen targeting customers by closely reading their social behavior and spending pattern and pushing products and services on real time based on the customer’s location (location based advertising).

All of this will be possible by using integrated web and mobile technologies, social media, big data, location based services and other evolving technologies. It will be interesting see how this trend further evolves and matures during 2014.

6. Minimalist and uncluttered design will dominate website designs

Minimalist and uncluttered design will dominate website designsThe adoption of simple and uncluttered web and mobile designs was seen through 2013; this trend will receive further acceptance through 2014.

2014 will see greater number of brands adopting minimalistic website designs to meet the preference of smart customers who now want to see uncluttered and simple messages instead of overload of content and information.

So, what will drive this trend? Simpler website navigation, larger and cleaner homepages, simple messaging, organized information, gentle colors, bigger fonts, more images and less text, fewer or balanced animation, greater usage of icons and finally optimum call-to-action (CTA).

7. Images will sell more than words

Images will sell more than wordsBe it website or mobile, customer preference is hugely tilting towards images instead of text alone. Consumption of Infographics, photos, picture boards and other forms of rich-media will increase over 2014 and beyond as consumers look to digest more information faster than ever before.

Be it a requirement to tell a corporate story or to show evidence of products and services – customers would expect to see analogous images for every paragraph of text published online.

To meet this need, marketers need to source and optimally use images (real and stock images) to tell a convincing story to the consumers.

8. Augmented reality and visualization – New technologies that could see higher traction

Augmented reality and visualization - New technologies that could see higher tractionWith greater adoption of mobile and webcams, new technologies such as augmented reality and visualization will see increase in adoption in retail, entertainment, architecture, interior designing, industrial design, education and packaging industry.

In years to come, augmented reality and visualization will see higher adoption in product marketing, videos and mobile advertisements across industry verticals taking user experience to a whole new level. However, long term success of augmented reality will depend on how digital marketing actually affects the way consumers interact and engage with a brand.

9. Digital and online spending will flank traditional marketing spending

Digital and online spending will flank traditional marketing spendingAs more and more consumers are spending their time online, 2014 will see further increase in allocation of marketing budgets towards online activities such as website, SEO, PPC, social media marketing, digital content asset creation, digital advertising, tools licensing, social media subscriptions and towards onboarding new technology platforms.

Traditional marketing activities such as PR and events may see a dip in spending through 2014.

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