Guest post by Karin Betinger. Karin is a Vocus Marketing Consultant who helps our customers get better results.
As the digital marketing landscape becomes more competitive, the demand for marketers who can show tangible results has never been stronger.
The year 2013 has almost come to an end and marketers are thinking about lessons learned, but more importantly, how to apply what they have learned to meet the challenges of 2014.
2013 was the year when the hype over big data became justified, and the need for an integrated marketing approach turned out to be a necessity.
Most of the lessons learned in 2013 will still be relevant in the year ahead, just amplified. Marketers will continue to find more efficient ways to capture customer data as they use dynamic content to reach target personas, capturing their interest with the right story at the right time at the right place.
Drawing from our experience from working as marketing consultants helping clients with their online marketing, we want to share four key marketing trends for companies planning their 2014 digital strategies.
1. Big Data Marketing Strategies
Marketers will be tasked with helping companies to create value, generate revenue and promote retention. The need for innovative technologies such as marketing automation systems, CRM systems, social media management tools and project collaboration systems will increase as well, as marketers seek to preserve and maintain digital assets.
With the massive amounts of data required for customer insights, analysis, re-targeting and greater promotional effectiveness, marketers will spend more money on the next generation of marketing technology.
There are four big data components marketers should pay close attention to when developing their marketing strategies for 2014: volume, velocity, variety and veracity.
The volume of content created and the velocity – the speed at which it’s produced – is important as digital makes things go faster.
Variety, in terms of big data, is a constant, hence the more content marketing tactics being using the better. According to Content Marketing Institute’s third annual research report, marketers typically used twelve tactics in 2013 compared to eight tactics in 2012, and this number will probably increase in 2014.
Last, veracity is the process of identifying useful data and to minimize the biases, noise and abnormality in reports and analyses.
2. End-User Focused Marketing Strategies
In 2014, marketers need to deeply understand the questions and concerns of their target audiences to produce content that is helpful and provides answers. Creating content to reach consumers with very specific needs and intentions will be crucial.
Additionally, to focusing less on keywords and more on quality, original content that answers specific long-tail questions will play a big role in 2014.
If “content marketing” was the buzzword in 2013, “semantics” will mark the transition into a new phase of digital marketing in 2014, where trust, reputation and authority will form the main pillars on which to build relationships with consumers.
Semantics will be used to connect consumers with what they are searching for so they not only find information that matches their query, but the context around the meaning of the words.
3. Mobile Marketing Strategies
According to a recent study from Pew Internet & American Life Project, two-thirds of U.S. mobile phone owners use their smartphones to access the Internet and check e-mails—a number that has doubled since 2009.
In 2014, the entire world will go mobile and mobile marketing will see a revolution, especially in location-based advertising for the services marketplace.
Business Insider reports that marketers need to run geo-aware, geo-fenced and audience-based mobile campaigns to capture rich consumer profiles using straightforward data-gathering, tracking and measuring.
Location-based marketing will give marketers new ways to identify and track their target audience and, with the aid of complex algorithms, it will allow them to group their audience into behavioral and demographic segments for precise targeting.
Moreover, the dependence on mobile is not only growing in the digital marketing industry; according to IDC’s smart connected device forecast, 87% percent of Internet-connected sales will be smartphones and tablets in 2017.
That means responsive design and mobile-friendly websites, email and content are absolutely mandatory in 2014.
4. Social Media Marketing Strategies
The social web, including social media networks and community-based marketing platforms, first emerged more than a decade ago.
Since then, social media, often referred to as a digital channel for word-of mouth, has experienced ground-breaking changes, and marketers can expect more to come in 2014.
In 2013, 72% of adult Internet users in the U.S were active on at least one social platform, a growth of 64% since 2005, and in 2014, more companies than ever will recognize that social media skills are a “must-have” asset for all departments and employees, not just marketers. More executives will see social business as an opportunity to fundamentally change the way their organization operates.
There are a few key points marketers need to consider when developing their social media strategy for 2014.
Social media will not only be a medium to socialize and engage ideas with others or discuss brands; it’s an opportunity to understand industry shifts, improve visibility in target markets and identify internal and external talents.
The scale of social media will increase due to a growing user base and the growth of new community-based networks. Thus, marketers have to work faster than ever before to create social media content, curate it and keep it fresh. Another explosion will take place in the advertising arena, where social media ads will prove to be much more effective than traditional forms of advertising, such as banner ads and PPC ads.
Need help with your 2014 marketing strategy? Vocus consultants can help: click here for details.
Image: Nomadic Lass (Creative Commons)