In the rapidly changing marketing landscape -- where technology-enabled digital channels arise seemingly overnight -- marketers are struggling to keep up in the digital experience catch up game. Each year, we diligently examine trends that will allow us to continuously improve in order to get ahead in the New Year. As we close out 2013, the situation report suggests that a discontinuous rather than incremental approach to improvement may be the only maneuver to balance the scales.
Power has all but fully shifted to the digital consumer and marketers are scrambling to redefine their roles in facilitating conversations and contributing value to consumer-brand relationships. But over the past five years consumer expectations have increased on average of 20 percent whereas brands have kept up by only 5 percent -- a significant gap.
This groundswell is forcing a redefinition of the role of marketer: one that is increasingly digital and increasingly complex. Digital marketers must aggressively learn to manage new interaction channels and technologies while simultaneously honing best practice expertise in old school channels like email, search and Web. And to make matters graver, new service alternatives are applying market pressure, sporting uber-efficient collaborative economy business models to compete.
The dynamics of this onslaught may be perceived as threat or opportunity. Innovations in data management technology are rising to the task of surfacing insight from an unprecedented proliferation of digital data. Cross-departmental partnerships that embrace customer centric processes promise to deliver cohesive multichannel experiences. This mesmerizing tableau of actors and change agents offers more opportunities than ever for marketers to connect with individuals.
Sage wisdom for marketers in this time of chaos is to cultivate a long view that combines digital marketing prowess, true understanding of audiences, and consistent and authentic brand expression. Trends pose as anchors in the storm. The following three megatrends are sure to take center stage in 2014.
Mobile will be the center of attention in 2014 in large part because marketers are behind the eight ball. Take email as an example. Today, more email is read on mobile clients than desktops, and by 2017, 78 percent of US email users are predicted to access their emails via mobile device. In contrast, fewer than 12 percent of email newsletters use responsive design to optimize layouts for mobile devices.