It’s that time of year. I’m hopped up on eggnog and ready to go! Last year’s “10 Marketing Trends for 2013 You Haven’t Heard” was a popular one. Let’s do it again. Hoping three or four of these are ones you won’t have thought about or fully appreciated.
1. Business Model Disruption Will Get Spikier: All the changing technology and democratization of advantages typically held only by large companies generates some real doozy business model disruptions in 2014. You might be thinking about that viral video on Amazon drone delivery, right? Nah. Too much regulatory non-sense for delivery drones to take off in 2014 (Hi-yooooh! Pun intended!).
Here’s my bet: doggie biometrics.
Imagine: dog collar with accelerometer and GPS. Chip implant with biometric sensor and gyroscope. BAM! You’ve got yourself a dog spinning out a terabyte of data about barking, peeing, eating, peeing, moving, peeing and sniffing habits. And that enables pet owners to get: custom diet recommendations; pre-warning of pet illness; remote home intruder alert; and so much more! You heard it here first.
2. Squeeze the Marketing Cost Balloon: Spiking costs from all that content, personalization, marketing technology spend and global campaigning is really cramping your style with the CFO. Quick: CMO vs. CFO, who wins?
Sooooo…many CMOs will be taking drastic measures to manage marketing costs in 2014. Insource more agency activity—yes, even the strategic kinds (many will even start there as they insource). Consolidate global agency relationships. Check. Create smaller teams (euphemism alert = layoffs and restructuring). Absolutely. Makes you wonder if it really is all about the customer, doesn’t it? CFOs are such downers.
3. Head or Tail of Content Distribution—Pick One!!! A funny thing happens when content is digitized and anyone can create it and distribute it. Players in the middle get crushed. (Well, that’s not actually funny. It’s kinda sad. Circle of life.) We know this from the past 20 years watching what happened to books, music and movies. 2014 will be a year in which many marketers re-learn this lesson—only for their own brands! Too many marketing shops will have pursued content marketing, trying to be in the head of the distribution—and they’ll spend a lot of money on it. But, because brands are competing with, well, everything else for attention, only a few will actually make it into the head of the distribution. If you want a good marker for what it takes to be there, see Red Bull. 100+ full-time, dedicated content people. A wealthy Austrian billionaire with a long time horizon. Lack of quarterly earnings pressure. If that doesn’t sound like you, you’ll want to re-think your content efforts. (shameless plug: yes, we have case studies and a POV on how to thrive in the content tail)
4. Digital Immigrants Eye the Grand Canyon, Planning for the Leap: Digital immigrants are marketing shops that didn’t grow up digital. If you’re in this group, chances are you’ve done a pretty good job making digital (or its components) individual disciplines sitting beside traditional marketing disciplines. Now, you’re looking ahead to a world where digital is flowing through everything. Sooooo, what’s it gonna take to dismantle those digital silos and re-cast your marketing chassis for that new world? If you’re smart, you’ll start to get your ducks in a row on this in 2014. That’s why we’re taking a deep dive to study it on your behalf. Please let us interview you. (shameless plug to help us help you. Email Corey Mull to participate)
5. Somebody Will Create a Hype Game about Gamification: Oh, the irony. You know how every quarter it feels like you read about some revolutionary way to use gamification to change behavior? Well, if you believe over a hundred marketing technology practitioners who are actually putting dollars behind marketing technology, gamification is all hype. Vanishingly few marketing technologists see gamification in digital marketing as creating any kind of business value compared to alternate investments. To see which marketing technologies aren’t hype, participate in CEB’s Digital Marketing Capability benchmarking (and that completes the shameless plug trifecta).
6. Smart Brands Will Formalize Change Pre-Viz Teams: “Huh?” you say. Pre-viz is short for “pre-visualization”. Think of this as creating immersive prototypes of what the new world will look like once a change happens (or a new product or service hits). We came across one company that has a dedicated team for this. The team includes a set of folks from around the company with eclectic skill sets, a hacker mentality, and an ability to literally create visualizations (think heavy on video and experiential) of what life looks like post-change. Those visualizations help sell ideas, rally support around change (employees, customers and partners), and help provide vision for where to go. Given all the change and all the moving pieces in Marketing (and commerce!) these days, you have to ask yourself why you don’t at least have a pre-viz tiger team. Seriously. Have one.
7. Bot Traffic Becomes 135% of all Internet Traffic: I jest (it’s actually 62% now). But 2014 will continue to unveil just how much digital traffic isn’t really people traffic, per se. Picking up off my 2013 trend #2 (“Digital Dog Will Discover That It In Fact Caught a Buffalo, Not a Car”), this is all in keeping with more of the shine coming off digital. And just to be clear, I’m not anti-digital. I’m not in the paid employ of the “Keep TV Analog Foundation” or anything like that. I just want us all to evaluate digital/social/mobile with clear eyes. Doing my part to be a cosmic hype counterbalance.
8. Some Brands Will Call a Tech Timeout: Others will wish they had. We’re catching wind of some large enterprise marketing teams calling a timeout on new marketing technology and platforms in 2014. These brands realize their people, process and structure are getting outstripped by the technology change. In short, they aren’t getting all the way up to the productive part of the learning curves before they get sucked into new ones. During their 2014 timeout, they plan to get their you-know-what together on all the technology changes from the last five years, before they introduce any new ones.
9. Some CIO-CMO Tandems Will Get Down to Brass Tacks: Ok, we’ve all read the glossies on CIO-CMO tandems who get along great. And they do. I believe them. It’s down below, amongst the minions, where the friction happens. So, CIO-CMO tandems who want to get stuff done will do the following to help their minions in the day-to-day:
a. Put capabilities ahead of technologies—together, they’ll think not about IT or Martech roadmaps, but about business capability roadmaps and what that means for technology.
We’ll blow these out in early 2014 by sharing highlights and case examples from a study by our pals in CEB’s Technology practice.
10. Google Reveals that Larry Page is Actually a Self-Aware, Driverless Car: I’m going out on a limb on this one…or am I?
If you have a different idea of what Larry Page really is, please share via comment below.