Mobility and content curation and email will be among the main drivers for B2B marketers in the new year. Here are my top five predictions for 2014:
1. Mobility will continue to drive real-time location based marketing. As we move into 2014, real-time location based marketing will become a more important marketing strategy as more businesses adopt this form of mobile communication. Geo-targeted promotions and notifications will be added to the marketing mix as companies begin to see the benefit of real-time marketing based on GPS location, and customer targeting based on physical location to stores, restaurants, and events. Social media networks will be the main channel for real-time location based marketing, and serve as the key advertising platforms for businesses looking to target customers with location based offers. Close to $3 billion was spent on mobile ad campaigns in the first half of 2013, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, and we can expect that figure to increase substantially in 2014.
2. It’s not just about content creation; it’s also about content curation. Companies need to adopt both a creation and curation strategy in 2014 in order to stay relevant and compete with the vast amounts of content being produced and shared online. Companies don’t have to always create unique content and new stories. It is just as beneficial to curate content in a cherry-picked fashion, selecting the best content for your unique audience. This is not aggregation; you add your own value when you present it in a meaningful way that’s organized and follows a theme. Look to have an executive weigh in on an already published piece of content or create a “point-of-view” piece as it relates to third-party content. We will see an increase in the ratio of content disseminators to original content creators in 2014. We foresee this strategy to be particularly popular amongst mid-market companies who do not have the resources to create a broad range of their own original content.
3. Marketing automation will be deployed beyond acquisition. Marketing doesn’t stop as a business function once you convert a buyer into a customer. . Marketing automation can go beyond customer acquisition, lead generation, and lead nurturing to support retention and loyalty programs. For example, just as you nurture a prospect through the buyers’ journey, you can nurture and strengthen your relationships with existing customers. Nurturing based on customer actions can result in upsell and cross-sell opportunities as well as converting customers into advocates/fans. In 2014, we predict companies will deepen their knowledge and usage of marketing automation to apply its functionality across all lifecycle marketing functions.
4. It’s not going to be about big marketing data, it’s going to be about the right marketing data. There will be a sentiment change around the term “Big Data.” Not all data compiled matters, and a lot of it is just noise. Companies will want to address the right, most actionable data that answers their specific questions and helps them more effectively drive their business forward.
5. Despite the rise of new marketing channels, email will remain the bedrock of the marketing mix. Email is the backbone of a company’s marketing and communications efforts. Companies do a broad mix of marketing activities, but ultimately you employ them to enhance the things that give your marketing reach, staying power, and structure. Email is one of those things, and will continue to remain foundational to marketing campaigns in 2014.
Atri Chatterjee is the CMO of Act-On Software is responsible for all things marketing at the company. Although he didn't join until 2012, his association with the company as an adviser and an early customer goes back to when the company was founded. He has more than 20 years of experience, spanning marketing, product management, business development and engineering at high-growth innovative companies ranging from start-up ventures to large public companies.