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Nicola Peaty

Marketing channels and trends for 2014

By Nicola Peaty

Well, we’re already well into the first quarter of 2014 and I wonder how many marketing plans are in full swing according to the needs of the business and importantly to fulfil the requirements of today’s customers and their evolving expectations. Should we be doing more of the same, try something a little different or even go radical and launch a new multi media campaign? All important decisions, so we thought the below may help to steer you in the direction with the latest thinking in terms of marketing channels and trends for 2014.
1. Content is still king.
Continued from 2013, content marketing maintains to be a high priority. If done well, good advice, comment and information will build trust among communities of your target market and in time develop your brand as a voice of authority and good reputation. (See blog LINK). If you now have a good bank of blogs, articles, etc, then now is the time to really analyse and measure how the content is working for you. Are you generating leads, is your content being shared by social media, which content seems to be the most successful in terms of interest and leads?
2. Engage your customers.
Inbound marketing techniques need to maximise their value with a combination of engaging content and visuals to compete in the vast ‘noise’ that most marketers are now imparting. There is no excuse these days for an interesting article not to contain a video or image to compliment the message. Infographics are the perfect way to explain and communicate key facts and break up a lot of written content.
3. Be social.

besocial

Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr are all on the up with growing communities absorbing information about their interests from many social media sources. This type of marketing is slightly less intrusive and allows customers to select what they want to. The key is to stand out and deliver what they’re looking for with the added bonus that they will share your content and visuals to peers and colleagues. The social shares also help with SEO as it shows search engines that users value and trust your content enough to share it, which gives it credibility and acts like a stamp of approval.

4. Cross device marketing.
No marketer can ignore the need to deliver all communications across multi-media channels. In 2014, we have to consider content for smart devices, mobiles and tablets, otherwise we will simply be left behind and lose out on large proportions of your target market . Not only should your content be cross device compatible but the key trend and aspiration is for ‘omni-channel’ marketing. Similar to how retail has had to evolve, marketing is looking to deliver a seamless, unified, cross platform customer experience. In essence, your customers must be able to find out the same information about your product/services at every distinct touch point. This is certainly more of a challenge but the opportunity is seen to be a lot more valuable.

omnichannel

5. Great experience.
Giving customers a good experience is certainly not a new trend, but it’s now time to raise the standards and give customers much more value to stand out in many crowded markets. Companies who aim to ‘delight’ their customers throughout the various points of interaction with the brand, will aspire to compete on a much higher level than its competitors. But this means considering the whole package from a superior user experience on the website through to the beautifully designed product packaging. The brands who will stand out this year, must persuade its communities, deliver on its promises, but also be exciting, creative and memorable.
Econsultancy recently worked on The 2014 Digital Trends Briefing which is a report based on over 2,500 marketers/internet professional across the world. Below are some of the key findings which support the priorities, trends and challenges for marketers in 2014:
• A fifth (20%) of client-side survey respondents say that customer experience is the single most exciting opportunity for 2014, ahead of mobile (18%) and content marketing (15%)
• Content marketing (24%) is the most exciting opportunity for B2B marketers, while mobile (22%) is first in the pecking order for B2C marketers
• Almost two-thirds of company respondents have a strong appetite for digital experimentation during the year ahead
• Only 23% of company respondents believe they have the marketing technology they need to succeed

The following 10 key trends are featured in the report:
* Customer experience is the single most exciting opportunity for 2014
* In the world of B2B, content is king
* A year of experimentation and agility
* Consumer expectations outpace corporate innovations
* Evolving role for email as marketers seek to engage with millennials
* Technology brings efficiency and immediacy to display advertising
* Marketers fit for the future need to find the balance between extremes
* Companies focus on harmonising cross-channel messaging and experience
* Mobile has won… the time for procrastination is over