What excites me most on the digital horizon for 2014 is that chief information officers now know their C-suite colleague, the CMO, and the CMO's team is the largest IT spender in the enterprise.
Sure to cause short-term friction in some organizations, I am confident the IT and marketing departments will find beneficial ways to work together to drive business value through blending technology and communications. Here are some technologies we are very bullish on in 2014:
Marketing automation systems are delivering amazing results for marketing and PR teams. Savvy communications pros are finding creative ways to leverage this technology to touch all areas of communications and all audiences, including prospect marketing, customer loyalty, customer care, and employee and stakeholder communications.
Responsive website technology is ensuring the browsing experience is flawless, regardless of the device – desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone. In today's constantly mobile-browsing society, a website experience that is clunky on a smartphone is a competitive disadvantage for b-to-b companies as much as for b-to-c organizations.
To that end, PR pros and marketers are going to continue to find inventive ways to use mobile technology to earn headlines, engage key audiences, and ultimately drive business value. Look for formally passé mobile technology – like MMS and SMS text messaging – to experience an awakening. Also wearable technology, lead by mobile fitness devices, will explode in 2014 and will give PR and marketing pros interesting and unexpected ways to connect and engage with buyers.
Content marketing tools that curate and track content as it's consumed are starting to gain traction. Content syndication platforms are also starting to hit the “awkward teenage” phase, which means prime time is just around the corner. Look for some pruning in the marketplace in the form of mergers and acquisitions, much like what happened in 2013 in the marketing automation market. Then full steam ahead.
With about as much hype as we have seen in years, everyone is jumping on the Big Data wagon. Big Data holds real promise, but it could suck time and resources from organizations that are not likely to be able to truly leverage it. Big is good, but, in my opinion, in small strategic doses – lest one cannot see the forest for the trees.
On the tail end of 2014, or even the start of 2015, PR and marketing pros are going to discover mobile augmented reality. Mobile AR marketing will let smartphone users have an experience previously reserved for sci-fi novels and Hollywood blockbusters. From user manuals and instructions to highly interactive maps and marketing pieces, mobile AR marketing is a term to know. The Atlanta Midtown Mile AR app was demoed earlier this year at Mobility Live! and is a sneak peek of what's to come.
Mike Neumeier is principal of Arketi Group. Find him on Twitter at @arketi.