So, we’ve reviewed our predictions for 2013, and now it’s time to look ahead to what the future might hold. While we don’t have a crystal ball, we can still posit an educated guess about what year ahead holds for the world of marketing and your marketing budget in 2014.
Our number one prediction: if you take note of our predictions below, and integrate even some of them into your marketing plan for the year ahead, you will be on the right path to marketing success. Happy integrating!
Content is (Still) King
According to the experts, 2014 will be all about customised content (even more so than 2013). Content marketing shot onto the marketing stage this year. A recent study estimated that 27 million pieces of content are shared each and every day. Almost 50% of companies already have a content marketing strategy in place. Clearly, this is something on which you want to capitalise. The solution is not as simple as doubling your status updates on Facebook though. You need to be producing high-quality, engaging content that educates, informs or entertains your audience. You need content that is able to whistle a happy song above the ‘white noise’ of all the other marketing guff in the marketplace.
There is no one definition of high-quality content. But, for B2B companies, the most effective type of content tends to be case studies that demonstrate successful outcomes. Businesses want practically implementable insights to improve their own operations.
For B2C companies, you need to show your audience what’s in it for them. Prove that there is value in your content. Demonstrate, from the very first line that you are going to educate, instruct or entertain.
Get that content out there
Once you have your high-quality, compelling content, you need to think about content distribution. There is no point in manufacturing ground-breaking content if no one reads it. So, next year will be all about integrated content marketing, about repurposing content to suit your blog as well as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Consider how your content will look on a variety of platforms. Here’s a hot tip for 2014: think about using email to disseminate content. According to recent statistics, emails with social sharing buttons increase click through rates by over 150%.
Strategise your content
In 2014 you can’t be seen to just be ‘doing content marketing’. You are going to have to drive and measure its results. Take a breath and step back. Assess exactly who your audience is, how you are going to reach them, and what key messages you want to convey. You can’t keep producing content for content’s sake. You need to set measurable, objective goals and measure ROI. Just like you would for any other marketing campaign.
All the marketing industry big-wigs (Nancy Bhagat – VP of Marketing Strategy at Intel, Michael Brenner – VP of Global Marketing at SAP) have pinpointed location-based marketing as the must-do for 2014. With our ever increasing dependency (note that we said dependency, not just use) on mobile devices, there comes an expectation of personalised, location-based campaigns.
Image and Video Centric Platforms
Images and image-centric platforms (like Pinterest and Instagram) will keep outperforming words in terms of engagement in the year ahead. Twitter’s hashtag will become an even more popular search tool. Mobile marketing will be more popular than any other form of online advertising. Social media will be an essential, expected part of any business’ marketing program. And we expect that image messaging (like Snapchat) will continue on its meteoric rise.
We’re not talking about the e-harmony type of meaningful connection here. 2014 will be all about creating meaningful brands with which your audience can connect. Apparently, when it comes to social media and content marketing, a good rule of thumb is: 20% about your brand, 80% interesting, engaging or informative content. We all need to stop pushing the promotional speak, and start providing useful information for our clients. Put your story first.
Industry thought leaders are predicting the rise of brands becoming publishers; brands setting up their own specialised newsrooms and production studios. Examples from 2013 include Red Bull’s Media House.
Bite-sized meaningful content
Most importantly, you’ll have to connect with your audience through clever, engaging, bite-sized content. You will have to master the art of telling a compelling story within a six second Vine video. You will have to bewitch with nothing more than a 140 character Tweet. You will have to enchant with a single frame on Instagram. This year will be all about speed, personality and fun.
About Sally Wood
Sally is the Chief Wordsmith at Wordly: a full-service copywriting, public relations, communications and editing agency in Melbourne, Australia. Having worked in marketing, communications and public relations roles for over ten years, Sally is well-versed in just about every aspect of message delivery. Her professional experience includes: copywriting for web, social media and print publications; marketing and public relations campaigns that deliver growth and improve brand awareness; and internal stakeholder communication programs that improve employee engagement. Sally holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Postgraduate Bachelor of Letters (Journalism and Public Relations) and is currently undertaking a Masters of Communication. For more information about Wordly’s range of services, visit: www.wordly.com.au.