What Does 2014 Have in Store for Marketers?

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Reflections and Predictions From the Corner Office
What Does 2014 Have in Store for Marketers?

One thing about marketing, it's never boring. Change and challenge are ever-present. In fact, 2014 promises to be filled with as much opportunity and angst as last year.

At Direct Marketing Club of New York's Annual Outlook luncheon, keynote speaker Bruce Biegel senior managing partner of Winterberry Group, not only shared  the management consulting firm's predictions on 2014 marketing spending (e.g., “direct and digital” marketing spending will increase about 5.5%), but he also revealed 10 marketing trends to watch.

1. Content. Big Data's days as a marketing darling are numbered. Content is the next big thing. “Content matters because people consume content, they don't consume data,” Biegel said. Mobile content marketing that is app driven and device driven will increase in importance. Director of content marketing becomes a job. Sponsorship will grow, fueling content marketing further. But marketers are still trying to figure out formats, ways to measure success, and how to automate delivery, he said.

2. Direct mail. Winterberry Group projects that direct mail spending will increase 1.1% in 2014, but the recent decision on exigency may negatively impact that growth. “The exigent increase may have marketers saying, ‘I don't know if I can afford this.' This is a real threat,” Biegel said. “I don't quite believe [the exigent increase] temporary.” Even so, Biegel believes that direct mail “should be growing because it works.”

3. Programmatic. “This is a freight train coming and either you're on board or not on board,” Biegel said. Programmatic real-time bidding (RTB) accounted for $3.56 billion in 2013 marketing spend,  which was 23% of all display ad spend last year. Winterberry Group expects programmatic RTB to reach $4.45 billion in 2014, and predicts that, in 2016, 35% of all digital display ad spending will be RTB programmatic.

4. Attribution. The industry is getting to where a measurement standard for digital display ads is becoming a top priority. “There's no ROI for an ad that was never seen,” Biegel said. Viewability becomes a key issue in 2014. Performance and quality will improve as a result of implementing viewability metrics, so prices will go up.

5. Social targeting. Increasingly, companies will use their CRM data to target customers on social sites. “This is one of the most fascinating things going on,” Beigel said. Facebook has custom audiences, Twitter announced tailored audiences, and Yahoo just jumped into the fray with its own service. “Other platforms will follow,” he said. “And it will perform more like direct mail. Expect it to outperform search.”

6. Merging on- and offline data. Marketers need all their data in one place to build optimal segments and take an omnichannel approach. The spend and growth are coming in data management platforms and tag management as marketers collect and use more and more online data.

7. Campaign management platforms. Marketers want to manage their campaigns centrally and vendors are responding with solutions. “Vendors are saying, ‘How many campaign channels can I add so I can be the platform to manage all campaigns?'” Biegel said. “It's going to take a while to integrate all these platforms, but we'll see some providers get there this year.”

8. TV and video evolve. Most consumers don't care about pixels, they want a great connected experience, and marketers need to address that by sending communications and content in the right format. Additionally, tablets and connected TVs will fuel cross-platform video advertising. “It's all about connectedness,” Biegel said.

9. Marketing talent. The demand for marketing talent will continue to evolve. Many marketing layoffs in 2013 represented a shift in talent needs and roles, Biegel said. Companies are reallocating their marketing staff; reducing lower-value, less efficient functions as programmatic grows and moving more staff to strategic roles.

10. IPOs and consolidation continues. “Who's next?” Biegel asked. “We probably don't need as many companies as we have out there.” Consequently, he predicts a strong M&A and IPO year. Companies don't want to fall behind the curve if they're mature and they don't want to leave money on the table if they're younger, fast-growth companies, he said.

“This is what you should be thinking about not just for the next 12 months,” Biegel said, “but for the next 12 to 36 months.”

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To hear more from Biegel on data and privacy issues, and on how marketing and IT should collaboratively "own" customer data, join us at the upcoming Marketing&Tech Partnership Summit in NYC on January, 28, 2014.

 
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