Well it’s half way through the month already and if you’re anything like me you will have forgotten what being on holiday felt like already.  As we are most definitely getting back into the swing of things, be that slowly but surely or be that full speed ahead with all guns blazing, if you haven’t already, now is certainly the time to be looking to the future and asking yourself how you can give your business a head start over your competition in 2014 by being aware of the latest trends in marketing.

This blog will talk about what’s hot and what’s not, what is going up and what is certainly coming down and who is set to get their day in the sun and who is sunburnt so therefore saying sayonara.

As you’ll remember, last year saw the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and so on and so forth, take poll position amongst the ‘hip’ ways to communicate.  They’re interactive, quick, easy and fun, and with the introduction of social media management panels such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, they became much easier to juggle alongside the many other daily tasks most of us have to complete by 5pm.  So saying that, it’s a given that this trend with continue on its ascent so be prepared for more of your older relatives to take to their iPads (other tablets are available) and tweet you rather than picking up the phone…social media is here to stay.

That was the easy one, now, like predicting the winner of I’m a Celebrity on the opening night (another big hit in 2013), I am going to make my predictions here in this very blog for all to see and then refer back to them in 12 months time to see how close (or far) I was from predicting the future!

Here goes…

1 – We are going to be even more “Mobile”…

Smartphones are not only becoming smarter, but are becoming more widespread. No longer is the smartphone (iPhone, Galaxy et al) just a trendy accessory for the young and technology savvy but a vital business tool for the many whose work involves being out of the office regularly.  All generations now carry out a multitude of tasks on a daily basis via their phones. Email, banking, tweeting, updating Facebook, even playing games or placing a bet…you name it, there is an app.

This means more demand, and more usage on mobile devices, and in order not to be left behind, your business has to be mobile ready. Is your website ready and mobile compatible? Have you got an App or an idea for an App that would benefit your customers? Are your competitors ahead with their mobile technology?  All valid questions to be asking yourself and we creep further into January.

2 – Responsiveness …

The key buzzword in 2014 that you will start to hear is “responsiveness”. This means that websites will recognise and respond to the device you are on and look great, and have the functionality directly relevant to the device in question (i.e. iPad, iPhone, laptop etc.)  We’ve all experienced the frustration of trawling sites that look terrible on our tablets or phones and having to zoom in to see or fill out vital information.  Ask yourself this, do you need a website review to be up to speed?

3 – Personalisation

“Hi Mr Jones, we hope you are enjoying this blog so far since we know you read other blogs on this topic…”

“You may also be more interested in these blog posts as you read similar content previously…”

“Before you leave our blog, i just wanted to share this exclusive post just for you”

The sentences above illustrate another trend of 2014, personalisation. Not only will you be able to address people by name, but you will be able to personalise content specifically and tailor your customers web experiences and offerings using their own data. With data being more freely available to collate by our usage stats online, you will be able to personalise content, offers, promotions and much more to make it seem like every web experience is personal to your individual customer. This increases conversion and productivity of customers and shows that you as a company really care about your customers’ experience.

4 – Click and Collect…

Click and collect will become more familiar. Shop online on your tablet, phone or computer, and collect in store having already paid for it. Some large companies already do this well and it is set to become more and more popular and more and more common. Can your business offer a click and collect service?

The benefits to the customer are convenience, immediacy and the ability of the customer to be in control. For businesses it reduces postage and packaging costs, increases customers likelihood to buy more frequently, and gives a great combination of face to face, and remote relationships with your customers.

5 – Payments will be easier…

Cash is no longer needed in certain everyday activities. 2014 will see payments by card, paypal and other means become even quicker and more seamless.  Mobile apps where you can send payments by mobile to each other by phone will become common. Even debit cards can be scanned by phone cameras so you don’t have to manually type the credit card details. Groupon already offer this.

Additionally, Google, Paypal and other online payment gateways will offer express and mobile options making it even more seamless than ever to get us to part with our money.

2014 will be the year to give the customer the option to pay by the means they want, not by what is easiest for you.

6 – Real Time will be real…

“I don’t want to email someone or leave a message…I want to talk online to someone now or at least get a reply in the next 30 minutes”. We all think this and now business and technology is responding. In 2014 live chat, which offers the facility of being able to speak to someone in a chat window on site, and other technological advances will mean customers will demand immediate actions online to resolve their issues. Speaking to someone immediately will become the norm.

7 – Our time will become even more precious

As mentioned throughout this blog, convenience is key. Making it more convenient for your customer to transact and interact with you is essential.

Is your business ready? Début Marketingcan help you be ready!

8 – The all seeing eye…

And finally, one of my personal favourites, mainly because it’s really cool, Google 360.  This tool offers businesses the chance of giving their customers a virtual tool of their facility via their website.  Again its about making information available and this is set to be big for 2014.  Not many photographers and video production agencies are certified to do this just now but at Début Marketing we know a few and are happy to make recommendations.

So to summarise, 2013 was about snapchat, twitter and hash tagging a hashtag, #solastyear . 2014 is all about convenience, personalising your customers’ experience and journey, and ultimately listening to what your customers want. In that case some things never change, #customerisking.

Next week I will go back to something that we are all familiar with, social media, and ask “is your social media working for you?”

2014’s Marketing trends

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