9 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2014


1. Local Has Never Been More Important

In 2013, tons of great new digital-to-local businesses gained steam, and we expect them to continue to do so in 2014. Online retailers like eBay are offering super-fast delivery of local products in select metro areas. There were also a host of great campaigns like the Walmart local basket challenges which tailored a national campaign to specific communities.

Technology is also offering exciting new possibilities in local marketing. GPS technology is increasingly being used on mobile phones to offer location-based marketing and there are more points of local contact for consumers than ever before.

2. Native Advertising Grows, On and Offline

Native advertising has been a staple of radio advertising for decades, but has lately become all the rage in the digital world. More and more advertisers are attempting to provide sponsor content that is much more tightly integrated into programming. Recent data shows that 61% of digital publishers offer a native advertising option. On Wednesday, The New York Times plans to launch it’s web site redesign with a new focus on native ads. But for native advertising to truly break through, it needs to seamlessly mesh with programming. As more as more marketers realize this, they will turn to quality, engaging content on and offline.  We hope to see that 61% grow in 2014.

3. Radio Will Gain an Increasing Share of Local Ad Revenue

Radio is already a major player in local ad-spending, but is poised to gain market share over its competitors. Mark Fratrik, chief economist at BIA/Kelsey, noted :

Radio is also beginning to deliver other compelling digital services that help its local advertisers navigate promotional opportunities. With the right attitude towards the new reality of increased competition and strategic planning, local radio stations can prosper.

In 2013, BIA/Kelsey suggested radio accounted for  11.5% of the $132.7 billion of total local ad-spending. And with recent studies finding that 94% of the $75,000+ earners can be reached via radio, marketers targeting this key demographic will continue to expand their already strong relationship with radio.

Despite the explosion of growth in broadband internet and mobile devices from 2003-2013, radio gained 20 million new listeners in that same time period. With the dust settling soon around these newcomers, radio has an exciting future.

4. Data Will Explode, Making Marketers More Accountable 

Hubspot triumphantly declared in early 2013 that campaigns were dead, and the age of real-time marketing was upon us.  And while we disagree that the growth of one mean’s the death of the other, real-time analytics and marketing has and will continue to grow well into the next decade. Better technology allows for marketers to instantly view demographics and the viewing habits of audiences, and that data in turn becomes invaluable for offline marketing. And with demographic tools like PPM, Quantcast and Google Adsense, the barrier to entry is lower than ever before.

With these tools readily available, marketers can more effectively target highly specialized demographics. The days of intrusive, irrelevant ads are going away as consumers experience ads that are relevant and timely. As result, clients get a better return on their investment.

Radio marketers can use this data to ask important questions to adapt their marketing strategy: How are consumers finding a product online, and how can that translate offline? What affinity groups can we discover online for us to more effectively target new demographics over the airwaves? And finally, how can on and offline strategies compliment each other?

5. Facebook is Getting Older

Don’t get too alarmed. Facebook isn’t going anywhere, but some recent numbers show that Facebook’s demographic is getting older as younger consumers flee from the largest social network. Kids are increasingly being put off by us “old folks” littering their feeds with baby pictures, and internet-savvy parents who are able to monitor their social activity.

Marketers take note. Facebook’s largest growth was in the 65+ demographic, which is great new for some marketing sectors. But marketers looking to teens and tweens will need to alter their long term strategy to incorporate other social platforms. As always, the smartest marketers will integrate multiple platforms to touch audiences wherever they are.

6. Cross-Platform Marketing Comes of Age 

The Xbox One made a splash in the gaming world by announcing their latest console would be an “all-in-one” experience. From the same device, you can watch TV, listen to music, play games, and chat with friends. In the web design world, “responsive” designs are surging in popularity to optimize a viewers experience whether from a 60-inch screen, computer monitor, or mobile device.

In short, the various platforms we use are converging. According to Nielsen, nearly half of viewers who own smartphones or tablets use the device while watching TV. As television rolls out compelling “second screen experiences” on hit TV shows, others will continue to innovate the vastly uncharted territory in cross-platform experiences.

As different platforms become integrated, such as when terrestrial radio gets syndicated digitally, new opportunities arise for great cross-platform marketing. Radio, of course, is the first multi-pronged medium. Every day hundreds of millions of people listen to radio while doing something else: driving.

7. Simplicity Will Reign

Product design is shifting between two poles – one grandiose, flashy and showy. The other, simple, clean and minimalist. Flat design is becoming more popular on the web, and we think that’s a good indicator for the other visual arts as well. As Forbes notes:

Maybe it was “Gangnam Style” that pushed us over the edge of overstimulation, however as we embark upon a new year, the overwhelming feeling among consumers is one of exhaustion. There is a sense that from the hyper-connectivity of our highly-digitized lives to the bright, flashy, complicated sensory input we’re fed everyday, there is no way to continue at this pace. As a result, 2013 is likely to be a year where the most successful marketing strategies will be ones that are not only simple in nature, but promote goods and services that serve to simplify the consumer’s life, or even just their customer experience.

8. More Twitter Ads

Following their 2013 IPO, Twitter has been rolling out its one-of-a-kind ad platform. As a new player to the game, it will  still take some adjustment time for marketers to nail down their Twitter advertising strategies, but this number will most likely see a drastic increase in 2014.

As Search Engine Watch notes:

Throughout 2013 and leading up to the IPO Twitter successfully overhauled the advertising interface and targeting functionality, launched TV ad targeting and created the impressive Lead Generation Cards.

Since the IPO in October, the Twitter development train has kept right on chugging. Now we have Tailored Audiences (remarketing), promoted accounts in timelines, and a true “broad match” for keyword targeting.

Now that Twitter is beholden to shareholders, expect this kind of rapid development in the advertising platform to continue. Ad revenue = happy shareholders.

9. More Image-Centric Content

Advertisers should take a cue from Buzzfeed and Pinterest, Forbes argues,  and realize the power of image-driven content. And with an increase in responsive design, it’s getting easier to integrate beautiful high resolution images that will look great on any sized screen. A great image can add depth to an article or inspire action in an advertisement. With super-high resolution screens like the Apple Retina display gaining traction, the power of images will be amplified in 2014.

Multi-platform media companies like CBS are at an advantage here because of their ability to combine different mediums: out of home, TV, radio and digital screens.

The media landscape has never been more interesting and we here at the Altitude Group couldn’t be more excited! What are you thoughts on marketing in 2014? Sound off in the comments below. And have any questions or comments for us? Feel free to contact us directly any time!