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Marketing Trends 2014
December 2, 2013. 37 comments
Quick Guide: Marketing innovation
22 Digital Marketing techniques that demand attention in 2014
Each year, I review the latest trends in Digital Marketing to help define digital technologies and marketing
techniques which will give options for companies to grow their businesses. In 2013 we reviewed top-
level digital marketing trends, asking which trends will give the greatest commercial benefits, this year I drill
down to the next level to give more specific practical recommendations to increase effectiveness.
You can read my recommendations in this article or view the Slideshare at the end. If you prefer to listen, hear
my interview discussing the trends with Ciaran Rogers of Target Internet.
This is part of the regular Target Internet Digital Marketing podcast which is one of the best ways of keeping
up-to-date with the latest in digital marketing.
Subscribe in iTunes
What are the major trends in digital marketing for 2014?
We repeated our informal poll this year asking Smart Insights readers:
Please select ONE area of marketing which you believe will give you the greatest
commercial benefits in 2014. In the poll, please select the single most important trend
based on that which you think will make the biggest commercial difference to leads or
sales in your company, or a typical client if you are an agency or a consultant. Thank
The results are below and show a familiar patterns with same 3 “usual suspects” still rated the most important
Digital marketing activities rated most important to commercial success for 2014. n=637. Note that Social CRM was not
included in the 2013 poll
So, it seems as if the three core areas of investment in marketing for 2014 are likely to continue to be Mobile
and Content Marketing and Big Data in many businesses. The most significant change is in mobile marketing
where there is a decline in popularity, perhaps suggesting a realisation of the difficulty of encouraging
customers to buy rather than browser via this channel.
But, I would like to think that Conversion Rate Optimisation and Marketing Automation will increase in
investment since these are about process and improving performance, so they can potentially offer lower risk
returns than other activities.
Since the main top-level trends, the “Usual Suspects” are likely to be similar for 2014, I thought that this, year
it would be interesting and more useful to drill deeper to see which specific digital marketing technologies and
techniques will be important trends in 2014. I’ve structured the trends based on marketing to achieve different
goals across customer touchpoints in the Smart Insights RACE Planning framework. There are 22 trends I see
based on companies I have worked with, examples I have reviewed and our own marketing activity on Smart
Smart Insights Basic and Expert members can listen to a webcast and download the slidedeck in our free 2014
Marketing Trends briefing.
Recommended Guide: Digital Marketing Trends Briefing
In this free webcast Dave describes each of the trends in more detail and you can download the Powerpoint to
explore some points in more detail.
Listen to or download our 2014 Marketing trends briefing.
How do you see it? What are the top marketing tools or techniques you’re using now, or expect to use in the
year ahead which weren’t so important previously?
Trend 1: Defining Future vision of “Modern” or Integrated Marketing
How Digital Marketing integrates with other marketing channels is the biggest challenge of implementing
digital marketing I see, more important than any tactics for specific channels. It requires leaders to define a
vision of how channels will integrate and the transformation needed in people, process, tools and metrics to
make the most of digital marketing. In other words, it needs a long-term strategy.
In 2011, when we launched Smart Insights Expert membership, we defined these 11 factors for marketing
success that we believe are important. In 2013, Econsultancy developed theirModern Marketing
manifesto which I recommend as a way of thinking through different performance drivers that need to be
harnessed for the best results. Modern Marketing has been adopted by other vendors such as Oracle/Eloqua
with the “Modern Mark” persona which is a neat device, but I personally dislike “Modern Marketing” as a
label since it’s a tautology – current marketing is always modern and its not descriptive! Instead I prefer to
think of what’s needed for Digital Transformation to Integrated or Multichannel marketing… Still, it’s better
than a simple vision on Inbound Marketing which doesn’t emphasise the need for integration.
Trend 2: Managing performance drivers through growth hacking
Growth hacking is a concept from startup companies that is being applied more to larger organisations in 2013
– some even have Growth Hacker in their Job Title. Digital marketers may know it as CRO – Conversion Rate
Optimisation, but it’s broader than this, looking at testing different business models and refining Product
offering and Pricing models too.
We recommend the success factor mapping technique based on the Ishikawa approach as a way of defining
investment in platforms and activities to drive growth.
Trend 3: CXM: Investment in Marketing Personas and touchpoint
Modern Marketing naturally focuses on the customer and we’ve seen more focus on use of Customer Personas
to help here as part of Customer Experience Management. Our customer persona toolkit is one of the most
popular practical resources on Smart Insights.
In 2014, I expect the trend to managing the total customer experience to continue. CXM signifies a change
from a focus on User Experience and usability of the first touchpoint to broader touchpoint mapping across
customer journeys and through the customer lifecycle including evaluation of post sales support and customer
Trend 4: Investment in Brand OVP/YouTility
Success in online marketing has always been about how you invest to build a brand online across different
digital platforms. As defined in my books since 2001, defining the right online value propositions for different
personas has been key to online engagement, so I was interested in the examples of YouTility described by Jay
Baer in his new book where content and interactive tools are developed to deliver the OVP:
Trend 5: Increase in micro-targeting using paid and owned media
As we’ve reported in our weekly alerts, 2013 has seen a growth in targeting options in each of Facebook (e.g.
Promoted Posts, Custom Audiences, FBX), LinkedIn (Sponsored Updates adding to targeted ads) and Twitter
(Keyword, Interest, Device and Geographic targeting of Promoted posts), these have given many more options
to target the user particularly on mobile devices where the majority of social media interactions occur today in
many consumer markets. Expect to see many companies will be testing and refining these targeting options in
2014. Will we ad targeting options in Google+?!
Trend 6: Use of attribution models to assess media effectiveness
We have reviewed different media attribution techniques for several years now, but they were never going to be
widely adopted until free tools were available as Google has now done through Multichannel Funnels.
Google’s earlier developments to bring customer touchpoint point modelling to the mainstream have been
added to in 2013 by the new Attribution Modeling Tool and its Customer Journey Mapping benchmark.
Trend 7. Mobile user online ad investment
Google and Facebook acted in 2013 to increase their ad revenue from customers using mobile devices, this was
a major threat to their revenue model. Google’s new Enhanced AdWords campaigns have had a large impact on
CPC (for example, Greenlight has seen a 30% increase in CPC since Google’s Enhanced campaigns ) were
introduced. With the increased competition, working through the best way to adjust bids for mobile will be a
source of attention for many consumer brands and their agencies. Using RTB and DSP approaches across
mobilewill also be a concern for larger brands.
Trend 8. Engagement through visual apps + content
In 2013 Twitter’s 6 second Vine videos – examples, Instagram – see examples and Snapchat have become
increasingly important with many brands trialling campaigns. This isn’t a fundamental trend that will help
transform most businesses though and there is a danger in chasing these “Shiny Objects” as Jeff Bezos has
Red Bull Instagram campaign
Trend 9. SEO Signals = Content, author and outreach quality
Search continues to be a major driver of visits, leads and sales for most businesses, so it’s important that
companies, or their agencies are on top of the latest changes in the Google algorithm. I recommend these 10
trends from the Search Engine Journal summary for the best practical guidance. You can look at the Moz
ranking factors, but this is more technical, less practical.
Trend 10. Evaluation of content and social media marketing investments
In the SEO recommendations, there is a big focus on how to achieve content quality and social signals to show
authority, so attention on how to develop what Neil Patel calls “Epic” content, Michael Stelzman calls
“Nuclear” content should be a strategic focus of marketing in 2014. Take a look at our Content Marketing
matrix to review the options for this type of content… For evaluation, see our guide to Evaluating content
marketing ROI across RACE.
Trend 11. Interactive content marketing
The development of more interactive content marketing techniques will be a trend in 2014 – take a look at this
interactive HTML5 Match Day dashboard from Man City as an example.
Trend 12. Investment in Outreach and Partnership
Of course Content Marketing is two words and I think marketers’ efforts often focus too much on the Content
rather than the Marketing – I think we’re guilty of that. More investment in resource to help with outreach and
partnership by segmenting influencers will help here.
Trend 13. More immersive mobile responsive landing pages
There are some really interesting examples of mobile responsive landing pages being developed – rather than
traditional, static form based pages, it will be interesting to see how these develop in 2014. Take a look at the
examples for Google Nexus and Salesforce.com.
They both use a model of a scrolling approach so they work across devices. A bit like old-school squeeze pages
with calls-to-action for each key message/feature, but more immersive through the styling and use of imagery
Trend 14: Evolutionary website design
When we asked recently “when did you last update your website?” Over 50% in the poll hadn’t done a major
update in the last year – shocking! In the talk I describe our approach to 90 day planning and Evolutionary site
design using RACE.
Trend 15: Mobile CRO
The increased use of mobile technology means that all structured testing and experiments need to take this into
account too. It becomes more important to segment your CRO efforts and test on tablet and smartphone. I
recommend this deck by Chris Coward introducing a structured approach to mobile CRO and this by Craig
Sullivan covering technical aspects of mobile CRO.
Trend 16: Deeper use of analytics
We regularly advise on better use of analytics to drive sales improvements on Smart Insights. Google have
released a number of improvements in 2013 to encourage this like Universal Analytics, Advanced
segments and improvements to conversion attribution modelling mentioned above. We hope this means they’ll
that there will be deeper use of analytics in 2014.
Trend 17: Customer feedback tools mainstream
To develop the best customer experiences you have to go beyond the hard data from analytics and get real
feedback from real customers. The use of customer feedback and satisfaction tools like these to help with this
should increase too as companies take a more holistic approach to CRO.
Trend 18: Integration through Social CRM
While discussion of using the individual social platforms will continue, a more holistic approach looking at
integrating social media with web and email touch points should continue as part ofSocial CRM.
Trend 17: Mobile email popularity
Throughout this review, mobile has played an important part and email marketing is no exception, since the
data shows the majority of email interactions are now in Mobile for consumer brands. So getting the mobile
experience right through responsive email design is where many companies will focus if they haven’t already.
Trend 20: Marketing Automation. Behavioural email gets serious!
I’ve been recommending the use of the event-triggered email marketing or what we now call behavioural email
for many years. The increased focus on marketing automation means that more sophisticated lifecycle email
programmes will be developed as part of MA initiatives.
Trend 21: Email testing increases in sophistication
Attribution research showing the channel that influences online sales typically shows for retailers that email is
usually one of the top three sales drivers whether first touch or for last touch. It’s also important for generating
sales for many other types of business. Perhaps some of the social media and content marketing budgets should
be allocated to more sophisticated testing like the examples that we look at in our email marketing course and 7
Steps Guide to Email marketing.
Trend 22: Wearable tech and lifelogging
Our final trend is one of the most exciting, but also one of the most frightening, as will be discussed a lot in
2014 as Google Glass goes on sale. Marketing applications of Glass and its impact on search will be limited,
but one Glass app, Glashion, was recently released this week where you can snap clothing and bags of footwear
of other passers-by and then complete a comparison shop. Is that exciting or scary to you?
So that’s how I see future marketing trends at the moment. I hope my review sparks some ideas on where you
should be increasing or decreasing your investment in online. How do you see it? What are the top marketing
tools or techniques you’re using now, or expect to use in the year ahead which weren’t so important
previously? I’m interested to know your views.
Here is the full Slideshare deck if you would like to browse. If you’re based in the UK and would like to hear
more, I’m speaking at TFM&A 2014 presenting in the keynote and 3 seminars on more in-depth research and
recommendations on managing digital marketing – you can register here.
2014 Online Marketing Trends from Dave Chaffey
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