Three New Marketing Expectations in 2014

John Bell VP Enterprise Digital Marketing, Travelers

Posted on December 17th 2013

Three New Marketing Expectations in 2014

Wind blowing

Which way will the wind blow in 2014? Here are three marketing trends that I expect will take hold as we roll into next year. As usual, timing is everything and it will be interesting if these actually "take off" as I expect they will and whether it happens by June or by October. Either way, we have turned a bit of a corner in terms of developing an approach to "new marketing" where content and social play an increasing role and planning and creative are less about the single 'big idea' than the sustainable, direct customer relationship. 

Customer journey intelligence: All of this fascination with content marketing will wear off as marketers insist on knowing how it impacts sales. Simple Web metrics won’t do. This is not about looking for ‘last click.’ This will be about using all the research resources at our disposal including new ways to analyze digital and social data and understand what our customers actually do over time on their way to purchase, repurchase and brand advocacy. Brands will map out real, and hopefully typical, paths to purchase and  design their content marketing programs to complement and often disrupt that journey. (this appeared in a column online at the Guardian - see more here

“New marketing” ROI studies: We have successfully delayed the absolute need for crisp ROI proof for data-driven insights + content + community or what I will call ‘new marketing.’ Major brands have invested millions in their Facebook-centric programs, in new content marketing initiatives that promise to augment or even displace advertising at the center of the marcom mix. And they did it largely without rock-solid ROI studies. This year, we will see some advanced brands investing in some brand-specific ROI studies. These will help them justify changes in budget allocation in 2015. And while these will be proprietary to the brands, expect them to leak out at conferences to the benefit of the many.

Behavior change “Briefs:” More and more brands will shift their marcom goals away from messaging distribution, attitudinal changes (e.g. favorability) and brand positioning goals. They will embrace more behavior specific goals – getting people to buy, to try, to tell a friend, to call their insurance agent twice a year, to test drive the new version of their car whenever it comes out, to use their charge card more often. The strategic and creative briefs they develop and use to direct their teams – internal and agency-side – will all zero-in on driving actual behaviors.  This may just be the continuing move away from brand-only briefs. It may also be a new, industry-wide embrace of the discipline of driving actual behaviors that can be measured versus more ethereal mind-states. 

(thanks to KAKALive for the image)


John Bell

VP Enterprise Digital Marketing, Travelers


I head up Enterprise Digital Marketing at Travelers. Just as Travelers anticipates the needs of personal and business insurance customers in an ever-changing world, we approach marketing differently. The customer journey has changed. To meet these new behaviors, we put data-driven content, digital marketing and social engagement at the heart of marketing.  


Previously, I developed, grew and ran Ogilvy’s global, social media solutions practice – Social@Ogilvy.  The world’s largest network of social media and business strategists, the team believes in the power and impact of truly integrated social media business solutions. I drove senior client engagements, the development of Ogilvy’s social planning framework, and a global training program for staff and clients, alike. Our work  combines deep disciplines like crm, public relations, advertising and shopper marketing and rooted in what drives behavior.  

I have developed and executed enterprise social media strategy for the Ford Motor Company, Nestle, IBM, Coca Cola, and DuPont - including work winning a Silver Lion at Cannes.  I launched a single brand Facebook initiative in 20+ countries, helped telcos in Australia and Greece adopt social care and marketing and consulted with consumer goods marketers in Turkey. 

Discovery Communications

Discovery Channel was one of the first media properties to really experiment with the Web. I was brought in as Creative Director to transform a single Web site into a network of 14 Web properties known as We had live, online expeditions from the field. Reporters posted stories, audio and video from Australia in search of giant spiders and from the bottom of the ocean where they explored the Titanic wreckage for the first time. All while the events were happening.  I designed and built online experiences for TLC, Animal Planet, Discovery Kids, Discovery Health, Travel Channel not to mention a host of digital TV network sites and global sites.

AT&T, Viacom & Media Circus

The first wave of innovation was Interactive Television (iTV) in 1990.  I headed up the Visual Design Studio at Downtown Digital, a joint venture between Viacom and AT&T to create the most futuristic vision of interactive television anyone could imagine. I created programming for kids, gamers, and fully interactive applications for Paramount Studios and Entertainment Tonight.  This model of set-top box delivered interactivity remains a vision for all iTV innovation.

I created the first Interactive Advertisement for American Express during that ITV trial. Then, as a founding member and Creative Director, I formed Media Circus Interactive Advertising in New York during the 1990's. We created award-winning CD-ROMs including designing the first interactive advertisement on Launch, then a CD-ROM zine, for Sony. I also designed the first I-Spy CD-ROM for Scholastic extending the brand into the electronic space and pushing the limits of what an interactive experience could be. At the same time the Internet was exploding. I designed and built complicated transaction sites for Gateway Computers and wild experiments like MTV’s Web service that connected “stringers” all across the country reporting on the music scene in their community (sound a bit like blogging? It should and the year was 1995).

Charlex, M&Co. and RGA

My early career was in television design and production. I literally grew up at Charlex, a design and production company, producing some of the most artful and innovative television commercials and pioneering the use of complex blue and green screen effects. I count Alex Weil as a huge influence as well as Tibor Kalman. Tibor ran M&Co. (and  was CD at Interview Magazine) and taught me what it really means to be a Creative Director. We produced his first moving media designs including a design prototype for Godfather III titles using a vacuuform machine. I produced complex, design-based television commercials with RGA and learned a tremendous amount from Robert Greenberg and, at that time, Executive Producer Andy Arkin.   

I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in European history and spent a lot of time at the Annenberg School of Communications.I loved Philly and worked at an innovative, post-punk restaurant - the Knave of Hearts - on South Street.  

Memberships & Affiliations

  • I served on the board as past president of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA)
  • I currently serve on the Advisory Panel for Social Media Today
  • I served on the advisory board to PBS Engage at
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Olena Prashchur
Posted on December 19th 2013 at 5:32AM

A very visionary article, John. It would be interesting to see whether these expectations are to become real. Your opinion about brands changing marcom budgets to "behavior specific goals" is interesting. Optimizing marketing budget could be achieved also by srategic team work of marketing & sales...