Column: A peek inside the crystal ball — 2014 marketing predictions

Published Dec. 17, 2013

As we enter into the New Year, it’s a time to think about how to “up our game” as marketers. It’s a time to reflect on what we’ve done well, and what “the next great thing” is that will help us deliver increasingly better results, while not stretching the marketing budget beyond its boundaries. Here are a few ideas to consider:

Bruce D. Murdy is president of Rawle Murdy Associates Inc.
Bruce D. Murdy is president of Rawle Murdy Associates Inc.
Mobile-Friendly Content
When building or upgrading your website, it has to be built utilizing responsive Web design. Too many mobile and tablet users are out there to consider anything else, and we’ve all read the predictions of mobile and tablet usage overtaking traditional desktop/laptop usage in the next couple of years.

Build your Brand
The recession taught us cost-effective techniques to build sales, and we left “brand building” at the door to achieve short-term goals. Without building a meaningful difference in the minds of consumers, brands risk becoming commodities, and the low-cost supplier will always win that battle. Build the brand, be known for something different and better, and drive people to your higher margin and higher-value product or service.

Bring in the Emotion
We’ve become really good at enumerating rational reasons to purchase … again, the recession taught us we needed to rationalize buying decisions. In 2014, successful brands will key in on the emotional connections between their brands and consumers ... a strong bond that’s harder to walk away from.

Out with Big Data, In with Big Insights
We’ve read countless articles about so-called big data. Problem is, few people know what to do with it. But 2014 will be the year when we get beyond the volume of data and look more deeply for insight … more useful, actionable information. It’s time to walk away from measuring volume of data, in and of itself, and look at how data can impact marketing decision making.

Social Media and SEO become more aligned
Google and other leading search engines have figured out how even the most sophisticated “gamers” worked the system in SEO. It won’t work anymore, guys. Organic search rankings are more and more a reflection of providing high-quality content on your site, which is why blog posts, articles and sharing of the same are becoming a primary component of SEO.

Message Integration
Many marketers, especially larger ones, have different people, departments or outside resources providing support for different types of marketing — PR, digital, social, advertising, direct, (earned/owned/paid) etc. In 2014, marketers will begin to truly wake up and recognize that a consumer purchase path is not linear, but a customized journey. Messaging from these and other media need to be integrated for a more consistent brand experience.

While there are endless directions to consider as you reflect upon your plans for the year, the above few predictions might give you a place to start really thinking about how you’re taking your brand to market, and how you can do it better. Happy New Year!

Bruce D. Murdy is president of Rawle Murdy Associates Inc.Rawle Murdy Associates Inc., a Charleston-based marketing, advertising and public relations firm. Email him at bmurdy@rawlemurdy.com.

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