The first few days of 2014 are upon us and it’s a time for reflection on the passage of 2013 and looking forward to what will be in store this year. As a media agency CEO, the forward thinking has to include resource planning and professional guestimates on where the marketers are heading, so we have the tools in place to service our clients’ needs.
Here are my personal predictions:
1. KPI FOCUS
Marketing departments are not cost centers; they are revenue-drivers. Yet, the sheer quantity of data and complexity of campaigns is going to be a massive challenge in 2014. Clients and agencies will need to work doubly hard to stay focused on KPI’s that matter and weight interesting but secondary KPI’s appropriately. If they don’t, they will not see the wood for the trees.
2. 2014: THE YEAR OF NATIVE ADVERTISING
The rise of an alternative to digital advertising is finally at the tipping point. So I expect many clients to start to embrace fully the use of paid content distribution platforms like Sharethrough, Nativo, Outbrain and Taboola. While targeting capabilities are not as evolved as, say programmatic, these will not hold back serious testing and eventual adoption at scale. The bottom line is this must be part of your marketing strategy in 2014.
3. IF CONTENT IS THE NEW CREATIVE, IT NEEDS A CONTENT CURATION FUNCTION
Brands are now content publishers. However, creating content is pain point for many (read: lack of resources, budget and/or internal skill-sets). Building content into coherent storytelling for customers across all the traditional PR, paid media and social platforms, and keeping it relevant and engaging, will require new skills. This stretches beyond traditional editorial/writing to a specific content curation role that also ensures content aligns with other marketing activities like demand gen and branding initiatives.
4. MARKETING TECHNOLOGY CONSOLIDATION
It feels like there are a million ad tech companies. Too many clients are doing “Random Acts of Marketing” (RAM) which is a spray and pray approach to testing different vendors. This will stop. Agencies and marketers will start consolidating budgets with tactics and vendors that work. I predict market acquisitions too, as big players grab onto the ad tech companies who are rising above the noise.
5. MORE RESOURCES, NOT LESS (AND PROPERLY INTEGRATED)
We added 30% to our staffing roster this year with most recruitment in our analytics department (or our “Data Crew” as we lovingly call them). This is the reality of the marketing world right now. Clients too can expect to have to add resources and new skills to their marketing departments. More technologists, more analytics experts, more in the content creation and social fields. But adding bodies is easy (if you can find the talent), integration of all these new functions under one strategic vision will be the challenge…. which leads to…
6. CONVERGENCE OF PAID, OWNED & EARNED MEDIA STRATEGIES
No longer can brands afford to run their outbound / inbound marketing efforts in silos, across PR / Corp. Comm., Social Media, Field Marketing and Central Marketing teams. Tighter marketing coordination, advances in analytics capabilities across platforms and content distribution tools will allow for a more measurable & cohesive strategy for marketers.
7. MEASURABLE MOBILE
In 2013, share of time spent on mobile (non-voice) surpassed that of online. Yet, ad spend on mobile still pales in comparison to online (desktop). In addition, studies show that up to 40%+ of mobile clicks are either accidental or fraudulent. A lack of measurable results beyond the click has held mobile back. In 2014, major advances will be made to close the gap between actions taken on mobile and conversions / actions taken on the back end.
These are exciting times. 2014 will be another even bigger rollercoaster ride and I for one cannot wait to embrace these and other changes.
Happy New Year to you all!
Just Media, Inc.