2014 has been quite a year for continued change in digital, both in regards to technology innovations and behaviors of the connected customer.
Content Marketing for eCommerce and Mobile were hot topics in 2014. These trends will continue to drive strategies in 2015, and there will be new opportunities on the horizon for marketers, retailers and brand manufacturers to stake their claim with customers in the coming year. The landscape has changed a bit since January 2014; Apple Pay emerged in the fall, further sparking the conversation around mobile commerce and we saw that content truly is king when it comes to connecting with your consumers.
From content to commerce, and everything in between, here's the major drivers that I believe will make a big impact in the coming year:
There's an explosion happening in the digital marketing and ecommerce space. New technologies are being introduced frequently for online sales, customer care and bridging the sales and marketing gap. This rapid proliferation of new technology has created a scenario where, if you want to move at the pace of digital transformation, you have to be agile enough to pick up and use these new innovations to meet your customer online.
The challenge is to connect new technologies into an overall digital ecosystem for greater customer experience. Marketers will need to embrace a best of breed approach for each component. “All in” solutions will be challenged to meet the breadth and pace of change necessary to keep up with connected consumers.
The momentum with Apple Pay has already started to change the mobile commerce landscape. Even if a customer wants to visit brick and mortar stores to touch products, the mobile point-of-sale still gives them a chance to transact then and there. Retailers will start to come together and forge a common ground on which payment methods they're going to adopt because at the end of the day, the customer makes the rules and retailers need to play where their customers are.
Wearable devices such as the Fit Bit and highly anticipated Apple Watch will continue to impact ecommerce marketers. These devices are not necessarily driving mobile transactions, but they are contributing to the mobilization of the consumer. Mobile devices have become the gateway to connectivity - it's just a natural evolution for wearables to fit into the ecosystem. Think about iPads. When they were first released they weren't promoted as a replacement for desktops, but an alternate device. But now we’ve seen the tablet enhance and even replace desktop-centric tasks. Brands are beginning to understand what the consumer is trying to do with a particular wearable device and how it plays into the larger picture.
Market momentum is already driving 2015 to be the year Brand Manufacturers will finally get with the omni-channel program. Until now, Manufacturers were concerned about going D2C because they didn’t want to alienate the retail channel. Content marketing to make informed purchase decisions is really coming to life for the connected consumer - a testament to how empowered they are in selecting where and from whom they purchase. Brand Manufacturers will begin to understand and capitalize on how they can support empowered consumers with rich content that moves through the purchase cycle.
When talking to customers, the role that we see pop up frequently is a hybrid resource that fits into a category called a “Marketing Technologist.” It’s an expert who understands the business goals, marketing processes, how to engage with the connected consumer online, and is also tech savvy. The candidates who are going to flourish and be highly marketable in 2015 are those who understand business and marketing goals, have a keen view toward how technology enables the go-to-market strategy and how data insights become actionable to create a constantly evolving and iterative approach to keeping pace with customer expectations.
I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. What do you anticipate as the next trend or change driver in the digital marketing and ecommerce space?