Hot Marketing Trends For 2014

By Ginger Conlon, Editor-In-Chief

DMNews, January 2014

Marketing strategy is often more evolutionary than revolutionary. But marketers caught off guard when major transformation hits may be blindsided by the competition. Trend watching is crucial to seizing opportunities that change brings. With that in mind we asked 30 marketing experts what will be the hot marketing trend in 2014.

Their predictions:


Jeffrey Rohrs, VP, Marketing Insights, ExactTarget, a company

In 2014 marketers will awaken to the realization that their rapid, well-justified embrace of content marketing has yielded yet another core marketing responsibility: proprietary audience development. Every company must double-down on building direct audience assets across the channels where their customers live—email, social, mobile, etc. It's not enough to do this haphazardly. Companies must focus methodically on growing the size, engagement, and value of their audiences via paid, owned, and earned media. Failure to do so will leave companies more reliant on paid media at a time their competitors become less so.

Dave Dickson, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Adobe Digital Publishing Suite

Consumers now use tablets and smartphones to deeply engage with brands in a lean-back fashion, and the momentum shows no sign of stopping. These content consumers are also increasingly driving the brand story—a shift from when the brand story was one way: company to consumer. Successful brands are adopting a storytelling mind-set regarding content, thinking like media companies to produce branded content that engages customers and employees on these devices.

This year savvy CMOs will look to mobile apps to deliver brand engagement through content marketing. When coupled with content marketing, tablet and smartphone apps allow content consumers to have a brand experience that leads to purchase and brand loyalty. Because apps drive deep engagement, they help users connect with the brand in meaningful, interactive ways—whether through lifestyle or brand affinity publications, interactive product experiences, or sales enablement apps.

Ross Kramer, CEO, Listrak

One emerging trend in marketing is the use of curated user-generated content from social media—in particular from Instagram. Brands have been eagerly looking for ways to monetize their social media efforts, and many fashion brands now use Instagram contests and promotions as an engagement tactic, curating images for merchandising purposes on websites and in emails.

This promises to be a highly effective tactic, because it not only allows the merchant to maximize the potential of social media for marketing, but also allows customers to be part of the brand story, which is great for engagement and loyalty.


George Wright, SVP, CRM, Infor

This year marketers will marry digital and in-person experiences through mobile technology. An example: Retailers using customer data gathered from previous interactions, online purchases, social media, etc., to create highly targeted mobile campaigns that enhance the in-store experience and combat showrooming. With geo-location tools, stores also can deliver personalized offers and recommendations to customers via the Web, Facebook, and mobile apps while customers are in-store, encouraging them to make on-the-spot purchases.

Giovanni DeMeo, VP of Global Marketing and Analytics, Interactions

We'll see more retailers introduce mobile technologies to fit today's mobile lifestyles, enhancing the entire shopping experience, both in-store and outside the store. Retailers will experiment with new, dynamic features like mobile scanning and checkout, mobile prescription refills, personalized offers, and dynamic shopping lists that take advantage of the opportunity mobile technology provides to interact with and provide value to shoppers through a more personalized experience.

Matt Mobley, Chief Marketing Technology Officer, Merkle Inc.

Marketers will use mobile to become closer to their customers in 2014. Since 24% of individuals' time on their mobile devices is spent in social media, mobile marketers will get a big boost from apps like Twitter and Facebook as they advance their targeting capabilities. Additionally, since a staggering 86% of mobile customers use their mobile devices while watching TV, marketers' campaigns will become more personalized, coordinated, and managed across multiple screens and channels simultaneously.

Louis Gump, President and CEO, LSN Mobile

Marketers will truly understand that mobile is different from the desktop and will act accordingly. Media consumption has been transitioning from traditional gateways like television and magazines to mobile channels like mobile websites and apps, and marketers will begin to develop content specifically for those channels. Furthermore, a shift will occur where marketers simultaneously achieve mobile excellence and a cross-platform experience. Agencies, brands, and publishers will start to organize themselves so that each marketing initiative is supported by mobile, rather than forcing mobile to operate in isolation.

Patrick Albano, VP of Mobile, Social, and Innovation Sales, Yahoo!

Marketers are getting much more sophisticated with their mobile plans, which means targeting will be an even bigger focus for 2014 campaigns. Advertisers want deeper insights about consumers' digital activity throughout the day. Signals like customers' behavior on mobile devices—whether searching or reading their favorite content—and how they use different devices at different times can tell advertisers a great deal about how they can personalize content. Marketers are eager to understand these trends and target their campaigns based on these insights. Ultimately, it comes back to making ads effective on mobile and measuring mobile ROI.

Kurt Andersen, EVP of Sales Enablement and Marketing, SAVO

According to venture capital firm KPCB, salespeople check their mobile devices more than 140 times a day. Beyond communicating with prospects, mobile is, undoubtedly, the new normal for sales reps to receive, review, and use critical assets provided by marketing. This year sales leaders everywhere will find their reps demanding the best mobile tools. If companies want to profit, they'll provide them.

Andrew Jeavons, CEO, Survey Analytics

The adage “location, location, location” holds true for 2014, and smartphones can put marketers next to their customers and prospects 24/7/365. With the increasing popularity of mobile apps, marketers will look to get feedback in the moment, not hours or days later. Being able to get a customer's opinion of their in-store experience 20 minutes after they walk inside is priceless. The ability to push a marketing message based on location opens up endless possibilities. We're going to see mobile geo-locating emerge as a key trend for engaging with customers this year. Being in the moment with a customer is everything.


Zorian Rotenberg, VP of Marketing, InsightSquared

Finally, marketers will connect marketing activity directly to revenue results without any compromise, thus making marketing a true investment and not a cost center, once and for all.

Shelby Saville, EVP, Managing Director, Spark

Just because an online ad was served to a consumer doesn't mean it was actually seen—advertisers are charged either way. This will change as agencies and advertisers use new measurement tools to determine if a digital display ad is viewed. As a result, some advertisers have adopted guaranteed viewability, which, as its usage grows, will change the way the industry does business and provide advertisers with more accountability and effective ROI.


Dan Smith, VP of Product, Outsell

One of the biggest marketing trends of 2014 will be the democratization of analytics. Modelers have come to understand that there's a high degree of commonality across predictive and descriptive models within specific industries. So, a number of marketing vendors have begun offering industry-specific analytic models that enable any business to apply advanced analytic techniques, such as predictive modeling, to their data sets. Look for this trend to accelerate in 2014, as analytics becomes table stakes for data-driven marketing

Ann Mack, Director of Trendspotting, JWT New York

As data analysis becomes more cost-efficient, the science gets more sophisticated, and consumers generate more measurable data than ever, increasingly brands will be able to predict customer behavior, needs, or wants to tailor offers and communications precisely. It's a trend we call predictive personalization. With data now abundant, as well as cheaper and easier to collect, share, and analyze, data-based decision making is becoming more common across business functions. Leading-edge companies are putting data at the center of their decision-making processes, allowing for faster, better-informed actions and reactions. Once armed with these insights, marketers can then tailor offers, messaging, and more. Savvy brands will be able to address consumer needs as they arise, perhaps even before consumers seek solutions. This brings an unprecedented level of personal service and attention to consumers, something they increasingly expect.

Click here for a video interview with Mack and Direct Marketing News Editor-in-Chief Ginger Conlon.

Brian Kardon, CMO, Lattice Engines

Predictive analytics, now emerging as central to the modern marketing organization, is a top focus for 2014. Making sense of the complexity of Big Data is what predictive analytics was born to do. Inspired by the awesome predictive analytics engines of Google and Amazon, leading marketers are leveraging data science to market and sell more intelligently. They're bringing every relevant buying signal—from Web, social, CRM, and marketing automation sources—to find, prioritize, and close their next customer.

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