Content marketing, location base marketing, mobile, Big Data and analytics, cloud computing, community engagement, emerging CMO-CIO partnership—which topic will dominate the media buzz in 2014? Looking at the latest studies, reports and end-of-year predictions, many of these will take center stage this year. As always, time will tell and most likely there will be no decisive “winner” but that’s OK because in today’s digital world, there’s no sure thing. The choices are too many and the environment too diverse to ‘pick’ a winner. But spotting trends that most impact your world is possible and that’s where the real insights lay.

What does appear clear is that both B2B and B2C marketing change are being shaped in large part by technology that supports it. Brands are somewhat confused as how to proceed. Who ‘owns’ the customer experience? Can the traditional siloes be whittled down to enable true cross-functional collaboration? Will the CMO and CIO find common ground or will a hybrid Chief Digital Officer (CDO) step into the void? Will mobile and location based marketing gain a growing share of marketing wallet? Will more sophisticated analytics enable ‘real-time’ marketing and greater agility in shifting marketing spend where it’s having the most impact?

These questions underscore the vitality and dynamism of the new face of marketing. This is an unprecedented era of choice and the best news is that the consumer is finally in charge. For marketers, this also presents one of the greatest challenges. Pushing messages to buyers was the norm for many years. Successful careers and major agencies have been built on the ‘push’ model and now it is falling out of favor. Again, more sophisticated CRM and platform solutions will help marketers get the right content in front of the right person in the right context at the right time.

According to a recent Altimeter Report, brands admit that they were in a phase of social anarchy where trial and error was the norm versus strategic direction. Now, organizations are committing more headcount, financial resources and measuring the impact of their initiatives to quantify and improve ROI. Although the exact roadmap to success may not yet exist, the trends do show progress, accountability and confidence in the future.

And that is a trend we can all support.

Kevin Lynch
Kevin Lynch

The focus of Kevin’s 40+ year career has been on strategic counsel, alliance and partnership formation and business development.