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Predicting 2014 1 and 2

As we start to contemplate 2014, its time to look at your marketing plan with fresh eyes.

Here is the first of 2 out of 10 predictions about the trends that will impact on marketing leaders as you start to adjust your plans – and more importantly – your thinking and priorities for 2014.

Trend #1 – Content Marketing Gets Serious.

In 2013, 92% of business-to-business marketers stated they had an ongoing initiative for content marketing. In many ways, this was just the warm up to “real” content marketing. 2014 will be the year that content marketing gets serious. Expect to see more discussions – like the ones set off by our friends at Sirius Decisions – about what constitutes the marketing funnel. Is it a straight linear path from top to bottom? A convoluted and twisted path, as envisioned by Forrester? Or a demand waterfall? Content marketers need to understand the buyer’s journey so they can align content and other programs to each step, content that ideally helps accelerate the buyer as they travel from prospect to customer.

Predictions:

  • More content marketing moves in house
  • Content marketing departments start to measure ROI
  • Data-driven initiatives become more important, as we measure how different types of content perform
  • Visual content continues to grow in important and the social media vendors adopt accordingly
  • More selective social networks – like Quibb – become important in B2B

Trend #2 – Big Data becomes a Non-Issue.

Big data is how marketers utilize the explosion of data coming to them from diverse sources, including machine-generated data from mobile devices and data from social media. Used correctly, Big Data can provide marketers with a leg up to identify new customers, retain and upsell the customers you already have, and measure the effectiveness of your investment in marketing initiatives. That said, only the very biggest companies can afford to invest in their own “Big Data” initiatives. Most of the rest of us starting in 2014 will abandon any and all internal big data initiatives in favor of relying on our SaaS solution vendors to provide big data.

Predictions:

  • Marketing and IT stop partnering on “Big Data” initiatives except in the largest companies where an internal initiative makes sense
  • For everyone else, the heat shifts to SaaS companies which will find that they must invest in Big Data to remain competitive
  • The future belongs to the nimble, those who figure out multiple ways of accessing the data they need in a world where the major social networks seem to play wack-o-mole with their APIs on a regular basis. (Now you can access ‘em. Now you cannot.)

Previously published on the Bislr (now Autopilot blog)