2014 Trends: What To Watch Out For

 

2013: The Year That Went By 

We have been hearing about the trends that are shaping our world… Big Data is getting Bigger, the Cloud is getting Personal, and everything is moving to On-Demand. How do such changes impact the world of marketers, advertisers, technologists, and business, in general?

In many ways, one could argue that 2013 was a lost year for Technology. A recent write-up by Quartz summed it up well when it wrote, “Mobile phones stagnated, Wearables were a letdown, Former giants continued their inglorious decline, and M&A replaced innovation.”

But 2013 was also a great year for Digital Advertising. Google’s own blogs wrote that this was the year when “new technologies took off, creative got more intelligent, campaigns spanned screens and formats, media buying went real-time, and new metrics for success emerged!”

 

2014: What To Watch Out For

2014 has a lot of excitement in store, and there are a few trends that marketers would do well to keep in mind…

1. Mobile Is Gaining Ground

According to a Google/Nielsen study of Nov 2013, consumers are spending more than 15 hours per week on their mobile screens, searching for the information they need, and 93% of people who use a mobile to research, go on to complete a purchase of a product or service.

2. Cross-Screen, Cross-Format

The new world order is one of cross-screen, cross-format campaigns, since the “consumer” now uses different screen combinations per day e.g. ‘smartphone + computer’ or ‘smartphone + television’ simultaneously. “Viewability” is becoming a hot topic and, as an extension, “Cost Per Engagement” is beginning to gain a foothold as the new metric for success.

3. Data Skills and Integration

The line between CMO and CIO is blurring. According to IDC, by the end of 2014, 60% of CMOs should have a formal process to onboard marketers with data skills. Consumers want a seamless experience, and it is up to CMOs to integrate media silos and provide a data- driven, multi-channel coverage to the business.

4. Email Marketing goes Mobile

If there was ever a time for email marketers to take Mobile seriously, it is now. An Oct 2013 study by Litmus confirmed that nearly one in every two emails are now opened on the mobile phone or tablet, with iPad and iPhone dominating mobile opens. The key question is: Are your emails mobile ready?

5. Social meets Business

Social Software for Business is expected to reach a new level of adoption as the importance of Social Search and Social Analytics increases. Big Data is no longer confined to large enterprise systems. More and more businesses of all size and shape feel the need to tap into the millions of daily tweets and Facebook updates, to get a real-time sense of their consumers.

 

So what does this mean for marketers in 2014? Well, at the very basic level, the game hasn’t changed. It is still very important for marketers to understand what their customer is doing all day, what keeps them up at night, and finally, what is the best way to keep them engaged.

That said, the future certainly looks filled with sci-fi concepts like 3D Printing, DIY Apps and the Internet of Everything. As a marketer living in the digital age, one couldn’t ask for more!

The Second Coming

On 19th of November 2013, I started my second stint as an entrepreneur, and launched a boutique consulting firm focused on providing solutions at the intersection of Business + Technology + Marketing @ www.ThinkShop.in.

When I first began sharing my intent with close friends and family, some months ago, the majority of the responses were variants of “I’m doing a very brave thing”, which I came to understand was IndianSpeak for “I must be totally insane to take this step!” That said, if the feedback and comments from wellwishers, friends and family over the past week are anything to go by, I must confess that the encouragement received was totally surprising and makes me believe that I have taken a step in the right direction.

Whichever way you look at it, personally, this is the culmination of a journey that began more than 16 years ago, when I started making career choices that would expose me to a wide variety of skills. I think I have reached a stage in Life when this is the inevitable outcome, rather than a huge leap of faith. In that respect, I feel like I’m wearing the garb of Holmes and forming a logical conclusion, not a gladiator suit to take on the rest of the world!

I’ve spent most of my professional life working across a range of organizations from startups to mid-sized to very large enterprises. I have worked with MNCs and firms with a typical Indian DNA. I have been associated with agencies servicing client needs, and worked on the client side, driving agencies to deliver. I have helped scale up businesses, set up processes, deploy technology and engage with customers. The time has come for me to be able to apply my skills to help a variety of business organizations, instead of restricting it to just one employer.

In 1999, when I first began a small web-consulting outfit, the premise was to bridge the gap between business organizations and programmers/designers who could not internalize business objectives. It turns out that the gap has only grown wider. ThinkShop will attempt to bridge that, somewhat.

See Also: Change Is The Only Constant

Do Entrepreneurs Need an MBA?

Samuvel Rajasingh asks a great question on the Rodinhoods forum:

I am fresh out of oven, just now completed my engineering course.  Along with my friends I have started a start-up company & running along with it to unleash my thirst.

I have planned to do MBA, is it necessary as of now.

In other words, "Do Entrepreneurs Need an MBA?"

It's a great question to ask. And not an easy one to answer because of the "opportunity costs" involved.

In my opinion, an MBA gives you two things:

  1. A language, a vocabulary that helps you speak to other MBAs, and to the corporate world in general (e.g. opportunity costs!)
  2. A network of people who will evolve in their professional pursuits over the years, that you can tap into later

Everything else it offers can be self-taught, including Accounting.

Network – you can still build over time if you do the right things. But the vocab and jargon you pick up is typical to that world and not really a disadvantage unless you need to deal with other MBAs!

For good measure, have a look at The Personal MBA.

Hope that helps…