Technological advances are now so fast paced that one-year predictions are considered futurist! (One fun fact that really hit home for me: My iPad has more computing power than the state-of-the-art Cray supercomputer owned by my first employer Shell Oil in 1985!) But what do these predictions mean for you and your plans? Do you need to invest or wait?
The following is a synthesis of some of the top marketing trends* you will see in 2014 and shortly beyond:
Mobile-friendly is expected. The majority of customers now research, shop and refer on their mobile devices. And most have multiple devices that they switch between depending on the time of day and activity. As a result consumers will have less and less patience with websites that are tough to view and navigate from their mobile devices. For businesses, this means that responsive websites (designed to work on almost any screen size) will be more of a necessity rather than a nice-to-have.
The line between offline and online will be blurred. There will be increased connection to customers via wearable technology and touch sensors in the home, office and transportation. Things like Google Glass and Nike smart watches will become more common and cheaper. Quickly on their heels will be new products such as facial recognition, screens in the form of “contacts” for your irises and brain implants.
More personalization and customization at every step of the buying process. Competitive marketing will truly be more oriented toward honing in on the right offer, right person, right place, and right time. Recommendation engines will be completely seamless with each experience served up for each person.
Privacy issues will become bigger than ever. As more data is collected from every aspect of a person’s life, consumers will put up bigger walls protecting privacy. Customers will be less likely to freely hand over their email, Facebook credentials etc.
Data is the most valuable currency. With this struggle between more data / more resistance, consumer information will be more precious. Businesses that know a lot about their consumers and what they like – can offer those insights themselves as a valuable asset.
Trust will be more important than ever. As customers weary of intrusion, they will look to sources that feel real and authentic.
Content will have to be less about marketing/sales and more about what customers want – entertainment and information.
Happy customers are the new advertising. As a logical extension of the user ratings and recommendations, products will live or die by word-of-mouth. Successful companies will do less marketing (as we define it today) and more development of products that have value — with easy ways for people to talk about them.
What trends are most affecting your business? Share in the Comments section below.