What's in Store

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Ginger Conlon, Editor-in-Chief, Direct Marketing News
Ginger Conlon, Editor-in-Chief, Direct Marketing News

It's a December tradition. Pundits from all areas forecast trends, spending, and more. Marketers are certainly among those who enjoy predictions—making and reading them.

In fact, throughout the year the Direct Marketing News editorial team speaks with countless marketers, analysts, vendors, and other industry insiders who convey their views on the trends and strategies they're focused on today, as well as those worth watching. So I've asked the team to share their own predictions, based on those conversations.

Here's what they have to say:

Ryan Joe, senior editor, marketing-tech:

Big Data is one of those buzzwords that, depending on the speaker, either means a lot or nothing at all. Many companies acknowledge that they need to have a data strategy without really understanding what that entails from a technological or human resources standpoint. Perhaps I'm being optimistic but I think this will change in 2014.

In 2014 enterprises will begin to better understand what it means to truly be a data-centric company. For instance, that historical data and trend reports are basic, and true enterprise value exists in predictive analytics. They'll begin to understand the importance of a single data warehouse shared by the enterprise, on top of which sit the analytics applications that drive value; that the business rules that run from the warehouse dictate the front-end customer experience; and that omnichannel marketing is an ongoing journey taken in baby steps. They'll also begin to understand that omnichannel can cause clashes between departments with different agendas—and that those potential conflicts need to be dealt with at the project's inception.

And finally, they'll begin to understand that no matter what technologies they implement, every policy must center on the customer.

Allison Schiff, senior digital strategist:

Everyone knows about Big Data, and if not they've been living under a Big Rock. But the trend now seems to be more about smart data; it's time for quality over quantity. What's the point of Big Data if it's a Big Mess? As privacy and security expert Dennis Dayman told Direct Marketing News at DMA2013 in Chicago, “In today's environment, people collect way too much information and too many different data points, and it's not being used in the correct manner.”

Al Urbanski, senior editor:

As 2014 opens, put digital marketing matters aside for a moment and focus on direct mail. An exigent rate hike looms at the end of January that, when combined with the CPI increase, will send standard mail costs up 6%. If the business mailers' traditional one-for-one adjustment of volume follows, the average marketer's direct mail reach will be cut by 6%. That's a significant decrease in customer and prospect contact. Now is the time to decide how to fill the void should the exigent increase go through.

Elyse Dupré, associate editor:

Achieving personalization will be a major New Year's resolution for marketers. Brands have already dabbled in this domain with email, mobile, and online, and I expect this trend to bleed into social, as well. In fact, when I interviewed Brian Boland, Facebook's VP of product marketing for ads, at DMA2013, he said he would like to improve Facebook's mobile advertising by incorporating product recommendations.

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