With the start of 2014, marketers are always trying to predict which new trends and technologies will arise. With digital marketing continuing to out rule traditional methods it is likely that marketing trends in 2014 will even emulate those used in 2013. Growing trends means that brands have to compete for consumers’ attention, which will grow to be increasingly challenging in 2014. Recent trends consisting of augmented reality and mobile will continue to innovate quickly due to the increasing interest of early adopters and large companies. Taking this into consideration, companies should be planning ahead regarding these most important areas for 2014: Mobile, Content Marketing, Web & Print Design, Email Marketing, and Social Media.
In 2014 mobile devices will continue to dominate, requiring designers to rethink the user experience for smaller screens. A growing mobile-enabled user base can make a company more agile, driving innovation within organisations. www.marketingtechblog.com States how 40 % of mobile marketers are already competing to stay ahead of the game with plans to create an app in 2014. It has recently been discovered that visual data is processed in the brain thousands of times faster compared to text. Looking at the popularity of Instagram, Vine and Snapchat in 2013, marketers could use the concept of these ideas (time saving, quick sharing of visual information) as a way to share news and information. Taking this into consideration, in 2014 consumers will be leaning towards using sources that allow them to digest information the most efficient way. Therefore in order for mobile marketers or any company looking to further innovate into the mobile marketing sector, it is essential to consider how visual content can be utilised to effectively and efficiently create awareness gain ultimate engagement from consumers.
(Image taken from http://www.ibtimes.com/)
According to contentmarketinginstitute.com 88% of marketers use content marketing with 56% of UK marketers planning to increase their budget for content marketing over the next 12 months.
This graph shows how marketers are looking to spend more time and money focusing on content marketing, which will therefore lead to greater competition when gaining consumer interest even if the content is high quality. However there are a couple of techniques to stay ahead of the game when the competition gets tough. As mentioned previously people learn in different ways; this can be applied to content marketing as other types of content can be used rather than text such as images or video. This would create a better experience for consumers who will take in the information easier influencing a favorable perception towards that brand to be formed. To make a company stand out it is essential to make sure the content reflects a true representation of the brand and that it understands and connects with your audience. Another method to build your brand is to use personalized content, which will lead to engagement with consumers, and valuable relationships will be built. https://www.airbnb.co.uk/(see image below) is an excellent example of a brand who have started to use community-created content, which is a great way to make the brand personalized.
As some web design trends of 2013 faded out towards the end of the year, others have stuck around and still going strong. With 2014 getting started there are some web design trends that have started to emerge and could be winning techniques for the upcoming year. One major change is that a flat user interface will continue to grow, with the use of skeuomorphism dying out, clean and simple designs will be the key direction to focus on for 2014. However, different scrolling techniques on a website can provide a user with a more exciting experience. According to econsultancy.com Parallax scrolling, horizontal scrolling, column-based scrolling and infinite scrolling will be particularly popular in the upcoming year. https://www.spotify.com/uk/ (image below) is a particularly powerful example of where parallax scrolling has been implemented taking the customer on a journey through the site, introducing specific features that Spotify offer.
Email marketing has proven to be one of the most successful channels for marketers over the last 40 years. mycustomer.com states that in 2013 companies spent up to 20% of their marketing budget on email marketing, and will continue to spend approximately 10% of their budget on email marketing in 2014. An obvious start for 2014 would be to ensure that emails can be easily accessed and read on mobile devices. As billions of people now carry around mobiles and tablets, email marketing will look to become more interactive and engaging. Vocus.com states how email marketing will start trending towards the use of videos; currently only a quarter of marketers use video in their email campaigns however this is likely to grow during 2014. National Geographic (images below) have made lots of use of visual content in their email marketing including powerful images and videos.
However at the same time, text can still be used effectively to create personalization, marketers will need to find the right balance between using graphics and text to create successful email marketing campaigns and engage with a very large audience of consumers.
Social media will become extremely important to marketers in 2014; this tool will move from being used as a “luxury” towards being an essential. Rather than just having a Facebook or Twitter account, marketers need to start planning their social media strategies, thinking about how they can measure their social campaigns and gain the results they need. Marketers will need to understand the impact of social media regarding lead generation, revenue and referral traffic. As mentioned previously interactivity and engagement will be key for 2014. According to 4hoteliers.com audience engagement will be a key area this year; marketers should look to create social media campaigns that encourage users to upload their own videos or photos which will provide them with a more exciting experience of the brand.
According to forbes.com Linkedin still holds the number 1 spot for the B2B social marketing environment and will grow throughout 2014 as a prime-networking site for professionals to communicate. Micro-video sharing became increasingly popular through apps such as Instagram and Vine. Marketers should consider the popularity of micro-video sharing and use this as a potential tool to connect with an audience as this method is more personal and humanizes the brand making it likeable. http://business.instagram.com/blog/ reveals fun and interesting examples of brands who have used micro-video sharing via Instagram in various ways such as to introduce product development, or provide customers with an insight into their products (images below).
With so much focus on digital marketing, the power of print design is often overlooked. As so many consumers are used to being exposed to digital materials, a powerful print design will provide an audience with a fresh and distinctive insight into the brand. According to http://www.marketingprofs.com print design should be heading towards using a personalized approach. Customers are likely to appreciate this more as they will recognise that there is more time and costs to customize print media than digital, and will feel more positive towards the brand due to the brand’s efforts of connecting with their audiences. More specifically print design will be moving away from the use of drop shadows and QR codes, to much simpler and “minimalist” designs. Type-only design will be a popular technique for 2014, allowing a clear message to be portrayed. Powerful words can be emphasized to create striking and deep messages for special campaigns. cubicleninjas.com (2 top images below) shows some powerful examples of how typography can be used to create an effective print design. Going down another route, just using images can be equally as effective when conveying important messages or generating an emotion without all the clutter of text. White space will also become particularly popular in 2014, creating room for the details in the design to stand out allowing the message to be clear. The 3rd image below taken from hongkiat.com shows a particularly powerful print ad used by the Fire Protection Association in Australia. The image is very detailed and confined effectively portraying the message clearly.