Wind blowing

Which way will the wind blow in 2014? Here are three marketing trends that I expect will take hold as we roll into next year. As usual, timing is everything and it will be interesting if these actually "take off" as I expect they will and whether it happens by June or by October. Either way, we have turned a bit of a corner in terms of developing an approach to "new marketing" where content and social play an increasing role and planning and creative are less about the single 'big idea' than the sustainable, direct customer relationship. 

Customer journey intelligence: All of this fascination with content marketing will wear off as marketers insist on knowing how it impacts sales. Simple Web metrics won’t do. This is not about looking for ‘last click.’ This will be about using all the research resources at our disposal including new ways to analyze digital and social data and understand what our customers actually do over time on their way to purchase, repurchase and brand advocacy. Brands will map out real, and hopefully typical, paths to purchase and  design their content marketing programs to complement and often disrupt that journey. (this appeared in a column online at the Guardian - see more here

“New marketing” ROI studies: We have successfully delayed the absolute need for crisp ROI proof for data-driven insights + content + community or what I will call ‘new marketing.’ Major brands have invested millions in their Facebook-centric programs, in new content marketing initiatives that promise to augment or even displace advertising at the center of the marcom mix. And they did it largely without rock-solid ROI studies. This year, we will see some advanced brands investing in some brand-specific ROI studies. These will help them justify changes in budget allocation in 2015. And while these will be proprietary to the brands, expect them to leak out at conferences to the benefit of the many.

Behavior change “Briefs:” More and more brands will shift their marcom goals away from messaging distribution, attitudinal changes (e.g. favorability) and brand positioning goals. They will embrace more behavior specific goals – getting people to buy, to try, to tell a friend, to call their insurance agent twice a year, to test drive the new version of their car whenever it comes out, to use their charge card more often. The strategic and creative briefs they develop and use to direct their teams – internal and agency-side – will all zero-in on driving actual behaviors.  This may just be the continuing move away from brand-only briefs. It may also be a new, industry-wide embrace of the discipline of driving actual behaviors that can be measured versus more ethereal mind-states. 

(thanks to KAKALive for the image)