Technology for marketing went like the clappers in 2013 with new channels, technology and ways of communicating with consumers.
Here are five trends for marketing technology which we heard about in 2013 which I think will become more meaningful in 2014.
1. Social media (again!)
I know we’ve heard it all before, but social media really will harden its grip in 2014, as marketers – including b2b marketers – key into its importance in the content marketing mix. The crucial difference will be the use of targeted custom content as companies compete to develop awareness and win customer mindshare in the marketplace.
Social media is maturing, but with this new maturity comes a new level of responsibility in the form of ROI. Expect to see more emphasis put on ensuring a good ROI from the social media channel and the development of more tools to measure it.
2. Wearing it
Wearable technology is here – well, almost. Samsung’s Galaxy Gear watch is already available and Google is currently testing Glass on consumers and staff.
The ‘wearable’ product is hands-free, always-on, location-aware and, supposedly, less distracting. But Gartner researchers believe the market for wearable technology will remain small if manufacturers don’t increase the functionality of these devices.
The interesting question is, how will marketers target people using wearable devices, and how will they change the way content is presented? The only certainty at this stage is that, crucially, the content will be data-driven and relevant.
Technology writer Shane Richmond talks about the different types of information wearable devices will deliver in his book Computerised You. One is ‘ambient’ content that can, for example, let you know where your friends are gathering or alert you to a special offer as you walk past, say, a coffee shop.
3. Technology, bricks and mortar
While the physical high street is widely reported as being in decline, it’s interesting to see how brick-and-mortar retailers are becoming much more technology-savvy and innovative.
How about this, for example, Burberry’s flagship London store plans to arm its staff with iPads and bring some of the web experience to the high street, featuring mirrors that double as video screens.
Other clever tricks include the use of radio-frequency identification technology (RFID), which triggers related catwalk footage when some products are taken into a fitting room, or near a video screen.
Clearly the closing down sale is a way off yet.
4. Content marketing goes mainstream
As a b2b marketer, I’ve been immersed in the world of content marketing over the past couple of years. But 2014 is the year that I believe we will see content being adopted much more widely by b2c brands as they strive to engage more deeply with consumers.
I’ve seen the emergence of a number of content marketing software platforms which help marketers create, manage, post and monitor content (to varying degrees). Mainly derived from editorial origins, they tend to be focused on the written word rather than the creation of visual content or even video and is where I think their limitation lies. Which brings me onto my next point …
5. The Rise of the Marketing Management Platform
I think the silos between what is considered ‘content’ and ‘marketing materials’, online or offline, will start to break down. Angela Ahrendts, the ex- Burberry CEO now at Apple, sums it up. “Online, offline, it’s gotta be the same”.
Our clients are already acknowledging that all their marketing materials and communications are in fact marketing content and that there is a growing requirement to centralize marketing process and compliance management as well as management of every marketing or digital asset, in their brand asset management system. As marketers continue to feel the pressure of justifying marketing ROI, they need better control of processes and content, whether that is editorial, video or visual.
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