#1 King content
Growth in content marketing will continue at pace. For today’s choosy consumer, a stream of entertaining, informative and relevant content is now an expectation and thus the foundation of any brand relationship. Content is no longer a one-off brand bonus, dashed off after the ads have been produced.
Getting it right means brands must create real value in the hearts and minds of the consumer and pursue creative excellence in order to build and hold the audience. But, the chances of getting it wrong are multiplying on an hourly basis. Failure is quick, painful, public and indelible. It’s amazing how much inspiring, compelling content exists but is trapped within brand websites, brochureware and company conferences.
Marketers must first audit and understand the array of content they have at their disposal; prioritize it, organize it, and in many cases just liberate it. Only once they have a ‘consumer-first’ content strategy should brands start to create and distribute more.
It has been estimated that only 30 per cent of all content on the web is created by brands. The other 70 per cent is created by the consumer. Therefore, for brands to be relevant, the consumer must play an ever-increasing role in all aspects of marketing, communications and media plans. Social channels are a rich source of second-by-second consumer insights and failure lies in restricting their use to one-way, old-school distribution channels for advertising.
Instead, they offer the opportunity for the creation of truly social, brand experiences. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Baidu or Instagram, these platforms let us build customer relationships and allow us to evaluate the return on marketing investment - in real time. We’ll invest more and more in an effort to involve the consumer and their wider communities of influence, in everything we do.
#3 Small data
The triangulation of search, social and content is one of the key drivers of the ‘big data’ discussion. However, for all the oxygen (and waffle) around big data, success actually depends upon turning big into small in order to fuel the marketing plan.
The shift from targeting by proxy to targeting by behaviour through DSP’s will continue and the growing influence of such technology will provide a true line of sight of the return on a huge percentage of all ad spend invested in the on-line environment.
#4 True ROI
A recent CMO Imperatives study conducted by IBM, revealed that 63 per cent of global CMO’s believe understanding true marketing ROI will be the single, most important measure of success in the next three to five years. We’ll see a dramatically increased focus on all aspects of modelling as the quest for true understanding of the return on investment gathers momentum. A shift from the paradigm of awareness and econometrics to attribution modelling (which lets us evaluate the effectiveness of each impact, in each channel) will update understanding of effectiveness in 2014.
#5 e- and m- commerce
A huge, if not the biggest, play for 2014. The value of China’s e-commerce economy is expected to outstrip the whole of Western Europe by the end of 2015. Growth in much of the rest of Asia has, so far, been impeded by the lack of bank account holdings in many markets. But, new mobile payment models and even good old fashioned cash-on-delivery will now allow markets such as India, Indonesia and Vietnam to flourish. Expect budgets, energy and attention to shift as quickly as you can say “ka-ching”
#6 World Cup
There will also be a lot of attention on Brazil for the World Cup. This traditional driver of global ad spend creates havoc with TV audiences for a couple of months, and provides the enthusiasm and opportunity for many brands to associate with the Greatest Football Show on Earth, regardless of their right or relevance to do so. The winners at this World Cup will be the tier one official partners and Nike (again!), the digital publishers (given time differences) and Brazil (hopefully) but not (unfortunately) Scotland.
Gerry Boyle is the APAC chairman of ZenithOptimedia