Happy New Year! As you’re recovering from your epic New Year’s Eve, planning your marketing strategies for 2014 probably isn’t your first choice in recuperating activities. Unfortunately, time marches on – which means you’d better start Competitionreading up.

In Parts I and II of this post, I surveyed marketing predictions from the past several years to see how accurate we are, as an industry, in forecasting trends a year in advance. Some of the predictions I found were obvious – that is, they weren’t “predictions” so much as “continuing trends.” But I did find some that were surprisingly prescient and insightful. To read more about those, check out Part I and Part II.

Today, for your still-slightly-hungover reading pleasure, I have a round-up of predictions various news outlets and marketing experts are making for 2014.

Silo-Busting

By far, this was the most common current challenge I saw cited – and the prediction for 2014 that was referenced most often. However, different sources talked about this challenge in different ways.

Tempo Creative looked at silos in social media and forecast that social duties will be spread out among various departments, instead of belonging to one person or group of people. Slideshare.net has a fascinating presentation with expert predictions for 2014 that devotes considerable space to how companies will break down silos. From their perspective, not only will social media responsibilities be more evenly distributed, but other departments will become accountable for functions that might not technically be in their traditional areas of responsibility. For example, they’re predicting that marketing departments will take on increasingly technical roles and IT departments will become accountable for marketing results.

Images & Video

We all know the kids love Instagram, with its easy-to-use filters that can make even the least flattering photos look suitable for Facebook. Businesses have already started catching on, but Tempo Creative foresees images working with social services like Instagram and Pinterest becoming even more important in 2014. But now that both services have been around a while, the demand for better, wittier, cleverer, and higher quality images and video will only increase.

SmallBizTrends.com rightly points out that Google highlights images at the top of search results pages. If companies aren’t already taking advantage of the marketing opportunity provided by their images, they’d be smart to do so in 2014.

Big Data

As you can tell in Part I and Part II of this post, industry sources have already been calling out the importance of marketing data for years.

In Forbes’ round-up of expert predictions, several of their “thought leaders” emphasized the increasing importance of organizing and gleaning actionable insights from data available. In a funny Freudian slip, Susan Emerick, manager of enterprise social strategy at IBM, ends up sounding robotic herself: “Cognitive computing is next big digital trend.” Catch the dropped word?\

Almost all the sources I surveyed made some mention of the ever-increasing importance of actually doing something with your data. MySocialAgency.com spoke of “using data to its fullest potential.” Vocus dwelled on cloud technology making even more data available, and New Media Marketing emphasized organization – wisely seeing that “[d]ata without insights is worthless.”

These were just the main predictions that I found during my very un-scientific survey. Disagree? Have any others that you think are more important? Leave a reply in the comments.

 

Get prepared for the new year: Distribion can help you make sense of the pile of data you have from your business’s marketing efforts. Read our platform overview, then contact us for a personalized assessment of your company’s needs. 

 

About the Author: Sharon Eliza Nichols created the Facebook group “I judge you when you use poor grammar.”, which grew to almost 500,000 members. She turned the content into two books, “I judge you when you use poor grammar.” and “More Badder Grammar!”, which have sold 90,000+ copies. Sharon has a law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law, she’s been featured in The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and she works in marketing in Virginia.

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