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Each year I try to give my personal thoughts on what will be interesting and important in the world of digital marketing and ecommerce for the year ahead.
These are somewhere between trends and predictions. They are based largely on the many conversations I have with industry influencers and practitioners.
Following are just a selection of 10 trends that I've chosen to highlight. However, there is free report to download and share which is over 40 pages long and covers all of my trends and predictions for 2014 across the 10 core digital topics that Econsultancy cover.
My five highlighted trends which are marketing/digital focused
Some people call this ‘omnichannel’ or ‘integrated marketing’. Whatever you call it this is a ‘megatrend’ for me that will last for years to come but will be big for 2014.
Angela Ahrendts, the Burberry CEO who is moving to Apple as SVP of Retail, says it succinctly: “Online, offline, it’s gotta be the same”.
In the same category as ‘always on’ and ‘agile’. Some of this is about technology (e.g. RTB or real-time analytics) but really it is about process and people.
2014 will see more focus on marketing teams trying to work in ways that are more ‘real-time’.
2014 will see big efforts to make all digital experiences responsive so they adapt to the screen and context of use. Most obviously this applies to optimising the mobile experience in its many forms.
Another megatrend that I think will be big in 2014, but will continue for years yet.
2014’s efforts will still largely be about personalising digital experiences but increasingly it’ll be about personalised multichannel experiences (see my first trend).
5. Marketing Automation
This is part of the megatrend that is data-driven marketing and decision-making. It sits closely alongside CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) that will also be a major focus for companies in 2014.
Marketing Automation has historically been largely the domain of B2B but this year we’ll see the thinking and technology applied to B2C too.
And my five selected trends which are technology-focused
6. “Internet of Everything”
This has been big news at CES in Las Vegas last week. Connected cars, smart health services, and of course the ‘conscious home’ that Google’s acquisition of Nest for $3.2bn, announced yesterday, has further propelled into the limelight.
This is really a sub-set of the previous point but is worth highlighting. Google Glass was big last year.
The likes of Oculus Rift and Meta’s Space Glasses show what is possible. Internet-connected ‘wellness’ devices, watches, even fabrics will proliferate in 2014.
This too relates to the previous two points. Whether it is audio (e.g. Nuance), gesture (e.g. Myo), or structure sensors that can capture and transmit 3D images (for 3D printing among other things) the world of internet-connected sensors is exploding and will be exciting in 2014.
Apple’s launch of iBeacons late last year have propelled localisation and geotargeted communications back into the limelight. 2014 is being heralded as the year of BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) as the tech that will really help this catch on.
Whichever technology wins out, 2014 and beyond will see more localised and personalised experiences delivered for both content, marketing and payments.
The payments space was exciting last year but will further accelerate this year with huge amounts of activity from both start-ups and the bigger players.
Payments will seek to become ‘frictionless’. They will become more mobile, integrated with social, and even voice-enabled.
The above are just 10 that I’ve selected as the most ‘front of mind’ for me at the moment but do download the full 40+ page free report for all my trends and predictions across the 10 core digital topics Econsultancy covers.