Trending in 2014

We ask a few pundits to weigh in on the biggest marketing trends they expect to see in the next year.

‘Tis the season for prediction-making. Industry pundits weigh in on some of the biggest marketing trends we can expect to see in the new year.


Branded content goes extreme

By Addie Gillespie, creative director, Dare Vancouver

Addie GillespieAs people get more savvy about being “marketed to” on a daily basis, I think brands are looking for new ways of creating meaningful, useful connections with consumers. And ads that don’t act like ads are a compelling way to do that. As a result, storytelling and technology will continue to merge in a more substantial way.

We’ve already seen a lot of two-screen social experiences from TV shows like American Idol and The Walking Dead, but advertising is headed to multi-screen experiences that actually drive the brand’s story. Combined with the increase we’ll see in extreme branded content (think full-length feature films, see our VW story), it means thinking about creative in a whole new way.

For example, Toshiba’s “The Beauty Inside” (which featured the story of a man who woke up every day in a different body and invited viewers to read upcoming lines for a chance to be included in a future episode) allowed the viewer to be part of the story itself. I think we’ll see a lot more advertising that doesn’t rely on time, length or platform to create a more engaging experience.

The agency structure is evolving out of need, creating more fluid relationships with media companies, brands and digital shops. I think most agencies these days are structured to deliver more than just the average TV experience, but the trick will be getting brands on board. It’s a bigger leap of faith. A lot of these types of storytelling tactics are unproven, so it takes a relationship filled with trust for an agency to be able to say, “What if we take your whole TV budget and do this non-traditional technology-based experimental idea we really believe in?”

But, if we’re not limited to advertising in a 30-second format (or even on the TV box itself), but rather can use technology to tell a brand’s story, the possibilities are endless. And exciting.

From mass-market to mass-of-individuals

By Glen Hunt, chief transformational officer, Cossette

Glen Hunt (SM)As 2013 begins to wind down, a new study from eMarketer suggests that mobile access to the internet has, for the first time, surpassed desktop and laptop access. While this news is by no means unexpected, it represents an important milestone, marking the symbolic demise of the living room as the once-sacred point of contact between consumer and marketer.

The mass market is truly becoming a mass of individuals and 2014 will be the year when we begin
a full reset in the way we communicate in a one-on-one world.

But mobile penetration is only a small part of the story of how rapidly-evolving technology is changing the way we communicate with consumers, and next year mobile will get even more mobile.

In 2014, we’ll see mainstream adoption of wearable technology whether in eyeglasses, wrist watches (such as Samsung’s Galaxy Gear), footwear or everyday clothing.

At the same time, advances in gestural interfaces will begin to transform the way people interact with images on public and private screens.

Touch ID and fingerprint swiping will have huge implications over privacy and security concerns, further eroding the remaining impediments to a freer, mobile commercial exchange between consumers, manufacturers and service providers.

Looming above all this is the enormity of big data – massive in its scale, and multiplying like some kind of nuclear explosion. I predict that 2014 will see breakthroughs in the ways clients tap into their vast stores of data to develop new tools to create smarter, more intimate and much more meaningful advertising messages. And as we broach the realm of wearable gear, that’ll mean ever-more data, all delivered through a more personal mechanism to provide even better targeted content.

Consumers will be happier, marketers will begin to feel that there’s more science creeping into the art and advertising will be all the better for it.

Moving millennials beyond UGC

By Katherine Dimopoulos, head of marketing and brand experience, Scene/Scotiabank

Katherine DimopoulosThe best way to engage with youth today, according to one 2013 Forrester Research study, is through participation. While brands like Doritos (and its “Guru” UGC campaign) and Kotex (with its digital conversation with girls about their bodies), have embraced the easy ask in UGC, next year marketers trying to reach millennials will take it a step further.

In 2014 we will see a move towards co-creation between marketers and niche groups of consumers, especially among millennials. While it may be difficult at first, co-marketing will help brands stay relevant, and with the help of consumers they can uncover smarter solutions.

Whereas UGC relies on user-submitted content, co-marketing relies on user input to help build the content. At the simplest level, co-marketing is about a brand really listening to its audience, understanding their strengths, tapping into what they are passionate about and partnering with them to deliver a message in authentic, everyday ways that make sense in their lives and is amplified through their networks.

And it’s a continuous dialogue. First, you educate and empower your audience to take ownership of the brand and communicate with you. Once they’re engaged, they become advocates and are vocal about their likes and dislikes, and in many cases will provide you with insights for continuous improvement. And as these niche communities help brands co-market, it’ll help us unlock solutions and campaigns for the mass market.

Millennials want to make a difference. They also track, set goals, achieve and benchmark with an aim to accumulate and share personal data every minute of every day, and they’re open to sharing this data with companies if they feel they’re a part of something.

In short, they want to help. So you should let them.