With everyone making their own personal resolutions this week for the year ahead, I thought it would be helpful to share a few extra digital marketing resolutions you should be sure to include in your marketing department's goals and resolutions for 2014.
Prioritize the production of visual content
2013 saw significant growth and innovation in image-centric social networks and visual content. Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, Pinterest, Slideshare, and infographics all dominated 2013. I predict that 2014 will center around visual content as well.
This doesn't just apply to the kinds of social networks your brand is using. Make it a resolution this year to focus on creating visual content. Whether it is Slideshare presentations, infographics, images in Tweets, short-form videos, or whitepapers, content that is focused around the user experience and visual appeal will dominate in 2014.
Construct a seamless mobile experience
If you let 2014 slip by without making the creation of an amazing mobile experience for your customers a priority, then you will undoubtedly lose potential business and competitive advantage.
Mobile email open rates now make up a majority of opens at 51%. Mobile opens and the percentage of people who immediately delete an email on their mobile device if it is not optimized will both increase significantly in 2014.
This applies not only to responsive email design, but also to your website, mobile payments, mobile applications, mobile coupons, and location-based messaging. More and more consumers will use their spending power to demand that brands find ways to accommodate their mobile lifestyles.
Focus on proprietary audience development
ExactTarget Vice President of Marketing, Jeff Rohrs, recently launched his new book, AUDIENCE: Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans & Followers. In AUDIENCE, Jeff focuses around this idea that no audience is truly owned. While audiences cannot be owned, they can be proprietary in that you–and you alone–have the ability to communicate with them. These proprietary audiences are critical business assets. The companies that make it a priority in 2014 to focus on proprietary audience development will see significant rewards.
Our recent Marketing Minds video series features discussion with Jeff Rohrs (ExactTarget), Jay Baer (Convince & Convert), and Joel Book (ExactTarget) as they discuss different aspects of audience development and its importance in marketing today.
Diversify your social media marketing
If you did not already see it in 2013, 2014 will bring more and more social networks, each with their own niche user base. It will be more important as more and more social networks evolve and appear to discover the demographics of different social channels and where your customers are engaging. 2014 will be the year for you to diversify your efforts on social media.
Test paid social media advertising
As social networks grow up, they will be pressured by shareholders to increase revenue and profits. With that comes an increased emphasis on social advertising and promoted content for these networks. Marketers' capabilities with social advertising will continue to grow in 2014. 2014 will be the year to test and start using social media advertising and promoted content if you haven't already. Brands that continue to ignore paid social media efforts will soon be passed up by competitors that are.
Collect and act upon the right data
"Big Data" was one of the biggest buzzwords of 2013. I don't expect the term to disappear, but I believe the brands that will see the full potential and business results from the big data revolution will be those that don't focus on big data, but focus on collecting, analyzing, and acting upon the right data. The key component to that process will be the ability to act upon the data being collected. ExactTarget's Journey Builder, announced at Connections 2013, is one platform that will bring that opportunity to life.