A new year is finally here, and after a rough ride in 2013, online marketers everywhere are looking forward to fresh challenges, improved conversions and avoiding the inevitable slap downs from Googles menagerie of algorithm updates.
Forbes recently spoke to a wide variety of high ranking marketers to find out their visions of what will happen and what will be the next big thing in the digital marketing world in 2014.
These ideas and thoughts are definitely something that you need to know about, and to capitalize on in the coming year.
The Internet of Things
For anyone who likes to promote high end gadgets, this must be on your to-do list: physical, everyday products that connect to the internet to provide the owner or user with a better experience. Whether it is controlling your light switch via the internet, or your car providing maintenance tips, these “toys” are likely to become main stream in the near future as prices come down.
Now, tie that in with the fact that the US consumer electronics industry is predicted to rise to an all-time high of $208 billion in 2014, there is a huge market available for online entrepreneurs to take a slice of.
Wearable tech is another example of amazing products that are trying to become main stream. From Google’s Glass, and smart watches to cutting edge techno-infused clothing, wearable tech is another market that is set to boom, especially with the under 30’s segment.
On the Go
Mobile marketing boomed in 2013, and it will continue to be a powerhouse in 2014 and beyond.
67% of US cell phone owners use a smart phone – that’s roughly, 150 million people. It is estimated that there will be 90 million tablet computers in the US in 2014.
More and more people are using mobile devices, to keep in touch but importantly from a marketer’s point of view, there is also an increase in people using this technology to buy things.
As well as purchasing things online from the comfort of your own home, there is a trend called “showrooming” where people are browsing in a physical shop and then looking for a better deal on Amazon or the like.
There are already apps out there that are capitalizing on that trend, as well as more and more apps designed to help you shop easily and quickly, while saving a few bucks to boot.
Apps are the future my friend!
It isn’t Monopoly money!
If you haven’t heard of Bitcoin by now, where have you been living? Under a rock?
The press coverage for currencies like Bitcoin haven’t always been great, with the media focusing on how these currencies can be used by less than legal entities to fund illegal activities, but let’s face it; these people do that already with good old fashioned greenbacks.
The power and flexibility of Bitcoin has risen rapidly, and now with a wealth of competitors, and backing from large corporations (Overstock.com and Virgin Galactic to name but two) it is unlikely that these are going anywhere soon.
From a marketing perspective, virtual currencies allow you to offer new training on how to obtain and use them. They also give you more flexibility in how you are paid, perhaps lessening the strangle hold that PayPal and others have over us.
Love thy (virtual) neighbor
Some of the biggest influences listed in the Forbes report mention the power of community. Marketers already know and leverage this amazing thing, which has only come about due to the rise of the internet.
Online communities can help make or break a product, so if you are marketing your own or a client’s product you would be wise to get involved with the community that surrounds it, and if necessary help foster the creation of one.
People always want to rave about or against something, and you can and should be in the middle of a vibrant discussion, and help direct it to improve the brand/ or product profile or to generate leads for ancillary products and services you are an affiliate for.
Content is king, viral is better!
Viral content is hard to come by, as people have a tendency for sharing funny, cute, or weird stuff on the internet rather than your carefully prepared video about how this saucepan is the next best thing.
However, that hasn’t and won’t stop brands large, small and individual from trying to create content to go viral -just Devil Baby if you dare (NSFW), a viral video doing the rounds for an upcoming movie.
That shouldn’t stop you from producing decent content, as that still will have more of an effect on your bottom line than the chance of something being spread exponentially around the interwebs.
In fact, using content as a basis of your business is a must, but it must also be device independent – in other words it has to look good and be accessible no matter what it is being read or watched from.
Affiliate Marketing is dead! Long live Affiliate Marketing!
Every year people out there start scaremongering that one or more aspect of online marketing is going to collapse or fade away. This year there was discussions that affiliate marketing would face a decline in and fade away.
This is not the case; affiliate marketing is still a strong and booming segment of marketing as a whole.
Even back in 2009 Forrester produced a white paper that predicted that affiliate spending will hit just under $3.5 billion dollars in 2014, and continue to rise. And those figures are just for the US!
2014 and beyond!
Life has a habit of throwing curveballs, and none of this is set in stone. Even if it comes to fruition, it could just be another dot com bubble on a smaller scale.
My take from all of these trends is simple: love what you do, give value, and interact with people like people, not like they are computers.
2014 is still brand new, and it is full of exciting and potentially world changing ideas and trends.
Don’t be a late comer to the party, start researching these trends now to see how they can fit into your life and your online business.