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Each year I try to give my personal thoughts on what will be interesting and important in the world of digital marketing and ecommerce for the year ahead.

These are somewhere between trends and predictions. They are based largely on the many conversations I have with industry influencers and practitioners. 

Following are just a selection of 10 trends that I've chosen to highlight. However, there is free report to download and share which is over 40 pages long and covers all of my trends and predictions for 2014 across the 10 core digital topics that Econsultancy cover. 

My five highlighted trends which are marketing/digital focused

1. Multichannel

Some people call this ‘omnichannel’ or ‘integrated marketing’. Whatever you call it this is a ‘megatrend’ for me that will last for years to come but will be big for 2014.

Angela Ahrendts, the Burberry CEO who is moving to Apple as SVP of Retail, says it succinctly: “Online, offline, it’s gotta be the same”.  

2. Real-time

In the same category as ‘always on’ and ‘agile’. Some of this is about technology (e.g. RTB or real-time analytics) but really it is about process and people.

2014 will see more focus on marketing teams trying to work in ways that are more ‘real-time’. 

3. Responsive

2014 will see big efforts to make all digital experiences responsive so they adapt to the screen and context of use. Most obviously this applies to optimising the mobile experience in its many forms. 

4. Personalisation

Another megatrend that I think will be big in 2014, but will continue for years yet.

2014’s efforts will still largely be about personalising digital experiences but increasingly it’ll be about personalised multichannel experiences (see my first trend). 

5. Marketing Automation

This is part of the megatrend that is data-driven marketing and decision-making. It sits closely alongside CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) that will also be a major focus for companies in 2014.

Marketing Automation has historically been largely the domain of B2B but this year we’ll see the thinking and technology applied to B2C too. 

And my five selected trends which are technology-focused

6. “Internet of Everything”

This has been big news at CES in Las Vegas last week. Connected cars, smart health services, and of course the ‘conscious home’ that Google’s acquisition of Nest for $3.2bn, announced yesterday, has further propelled into the limelight. 

7. Wearables

This is really a sub-set of the previous point but is worth highlighting. Google Glass was big last year.

The likes of Oculus Rift and Meta’s Space Glasses show what is possible. Internet-connected ‘wellness’ devices, watches, even fabrics will proliferate in 2014. 

8. Sensors

This too relates to the previous two points. Whether it is audio (e.g. Nuance), gesture (e.g. Myo), or structure sensors that can capture and transmit 3D images (for 3D printing among other things) the world of internet-connected sensors is exploding and will be exciting in 2014. 

9. Geotargeting

Apple’s launch of iBeacons late last year have propelled localisation and geotargeted communications back into the limelight. 2014 is being heralded as the year of BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) as the tech that will really help this catch on.

Whichever technology wins out, 2014 and beyond will see more localised and personalised experiences delivered for both content, marketing and payments.

10. Payments

The payments space was exciting last year but will further accelerate this year with huge amounts of activity from both start-ups and the bigger players.

Payments will seek to become ‘frictionless’. They will become more mobile, integrated with social, and even voice-enabled. 

The above are just 10 that I’ve selected as the most ‘front of mind’ for me at the moment but do download the full 40+ page free report for all my trends and predictions across the 10 core digital topics Econsultancy covers.

Ashley Friedlein

Published 15 January, 2014 by Ashley Friedlein @ Econsultancy

Ashley Friedlein is Founder of Econsultancy and President of Centaur Marketing. Follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (23)

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Victoria

Thank you for the amazingly interesting guide. I just wonder if you think responsive design or mobile apps for big ecommerce will lead this year? Because there's sill much of discussion about whether its enough to have responsive site for all devices, or if you need mobile app for better mobile shopping experience

almost 3 years ago

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

Thanks a lot for this, Ashley. The report itself is brilliant.

For anyone who's reached the comments without downloading the full free report, do go & read it.

almost 3 years ago

Stuart McMillan

Stuart McMillan, Deputy Head of Ecommerce at Schuh

Ashley, I've had a skim through the doc, it's great reading, I've even decided to print it out, which is a rare thing these days! Thanks for bringing together so many important points.

One (of the many) section that I particularly agree with is:
"We will face facts in 2014. Young people do not like email."
This rings true with all our consumer research and has wide implications for our approach to digital marketing.

almost 3 years ago

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Terry

Aye aye, big dan!

Great summary Ashley, I'll be coming back to this one a lot.

almost 3 years ago

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michele

Omnichannel is a buzzword which reveals a self focussed mindset. Customers don't think in terms of channel. It will soon be gone.
The concept of custoner seamless experience of the brand is what really matters

almost 3 years ago

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Agata Matusz

I feel one must add 3D printing to the above list. Even though it's in the early stages, we are now entering the era of not only user-created content but also a user-created product. The implications of that are both incredible and challenging.

almost 3 years ago

Ashley Friedlein

Ashley Friedlein, Founder, Econsultancy & President, Centaur Marketing at Econsultancy, Centaur MarketingStaff

@All - I know it's hard these days to read anything that takes up more than about 30secs of attention but I'd be very pleased if people download the report, print it, and read it.

You don't have to print it of course but try and give yourself the time to read it and think about it.

Then come back and comment ;)

@Victoria, @Agata - your points are both addressed in the full report
@Dan, @Stuart - thanks for supporting the reading/printing efforts!

almost 3 years ago

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Kriti Adlakha

Hi

I definitely agree with all the points mentioned here. New year brings with it immense possibilities and an online landscape that is getting tougher by the day. Every day is a new learning experience with new tools being thrown in the game.

Along with all the points discussed here, I feel that adding great visual content definitely helps marketers outperform blogs and other text-based content. Pinterest boards now generate more revenue for retailers than tweets or Facebook posts. Secondly, paid social ads are another vehicle that can be effectively used to promote products and services on social media.

More details could be read here: http://kadlakha.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/game-changing-online-marketing-strategies-for-2014/

Cheers!

almost 3 years ago

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David Paice, eCommerce Director at Merlin Entertainments

I've downloaded the report, read it and love it. But I'll still give anyone 2-1 odds that the eConsultancy website won't be responsive by year end! ;-).

almost 3 years ago

Ashley Friedlein

Ashley Friedlein, Founder, Econsultancy & President, Centaur Marketing at Econsultancy, Centaur MarketingStaff

@David. I'll take that bet. In fact if it isn't done by June I'd be very disappointed!

almost 3 years ago

Stuart McMillan

Stuart McMillan, Deputy Head of Ecommerce at Schuh

Ah, but would you publish an external review of it as a blog post?

almost 3 years ago

Ashley Friedlein

Ashley Friedlein, Founder, Econsultancy & President, Centaur Marketing at Econsultancy, Centaur MarketingStaff

@Stuart. Of course. And just blame the tech/design team for the inevitable criticisms ;)

almost 3 years ago

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Hannah

It’s difficult to stay far enough ahead of technology to have it work, marketing wise, for you to it’s fullest potential. Things change so quickly! These are good key points to keep in mind this year, thank you.

almost 3 years ago

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Karl Hensel

No surprise about payment structures being adaptive to the new technology climate. Google has patented in this year a single card to access all your financial sources. Along with the voice and facial recognition patents they have filed I believe we can expect something big from them sometime soon. Perhaps even tied in with the Ripple. Though their initial investment was very modest.

almost 3 years ago

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Jo Gaines

Just wanted to say thanks so much for sharing your insights and I hope your content marketing strategy works as well as I believe it can.

I also agree that it would have been ideal to read your blog post in a responsive format for my device. I look forward to being able to do that next January!

almost 3 years ago

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Nancy Donaldson

Hi Ashley! Thank you for the interesting report. I am just wondering what do you think about rising social network sales industry? I am talking about Instagram and their marketplaces like inselly.com, would be interesting to hear your opinion.
Thank you.

almost 3 years ago

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LeadGenix

Hi Ashley!

Thanks for the document and post. I found it very interesting and I am excited to watch this year and see your projections become reality. The industry is constantly changing but that's what makes it so exciting.

almost 3 years ago

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David

Thanks Ashley for the amazing pdf report... I see that the email marketing will be still alive also in 2014 ;)

almost 3 years ago

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Gord Collins

Wondering why you've left out the growing power of Pinterest and social media in general in driving traffic, particularly ecommerce traffic? Marketers have to be looking to get off their Adwords addiction and get social producing.

almost 3 years ago

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Cassie

Hi,

Great article. I'm curious if you have any good examples of a personalised multichannel campaign?

almost 3 years ago

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Flavio Graf doing eCommerce

Interesting points but I wonder why there is this disconnect between "consultancy" type of views and the views of those who really implement stuff.
I mean, eBusiness is about very concrete stuff, PowerPoint being 1% of the actual activities. 2014 views from guys with actual eCommerce experience are quite different from a view that says that wearables are an eCommerce theme in 2014. Really? How is it relevant for 2014 eCommerce?

almost 3 years ago

Ashley Friedlein

Ashley Friedlein, Founder, Econsultancy & President, Centaur Marketing at Econsultancy, Centaur MarketingStaff

@Flavio You are correct that some of the tech trends won't become a reality for most of us for a while to come yet but if you read my report hopefully you'll see that it focuses on more practical things too across the core 10 digital disciplines.

BTW, we do really implement stuff and have actual ecommerce experience... ;)

almost 3 years ago

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Rtml guru

Mobile is a key channel that affects purchasing decisions, according to the 2014 Mobile Media , Proactively offering the consumer the opportunity to price check in-store, but that the purchase can be made immediately, without having to queue elsewhere in the store,”

almost 3 years ago

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