Back in 2013, I did what I try to do every year around this time. I made some predictions about the year to come. I highlighted a few key marketing trends and some emerging marketing positions that I thought would play a big role in companies big and small.
It’s time to revisit them and see how we did.
- Segmentation and Data – First I argued that 2014 would be the year the smoke cleared on Big Data. And I think to a large extent it did. More companies began employing data-driven decision making in their marketing and service departments. But I think there is a lot of room still to grow. We now have access to more information about our own customers, and consumers in general at our disposal. And it’s up to us to gather it and use it in the right ways to offer a better user experience.
- Integration – Next I argued that 2014 would be the year we stop separating marketing plans into many different buckets; one for email, one for social, one for content, etc. I don’t know that we’ve rounded that corner yet. I think too many companies are still segmenting their marketing teams and their marketing activities, and ignoring the benefit of more comprehensive marketing programs.
- Social Media – Finally, I argued that 2014 would be the year that we finally held social media accountable for a return on investment. And for most companies, I think that has happened. The days of throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks are over. Companies are approaching social smarter. Budgets have not necessarily shrunk, in fact many have grown, but it’s because we finally start measuring what works and what doesn’t, and focusing our money and energy in the right places.
- Data Analysis – The first position I argued for in 2014 was an analyst. This fit perfectly with my first trend (segmentation and data). Companies need someone who is data-savvy and analytical by nature to crunch the numbers and tell the rest of the marketing team where the opportunity lies. I still think every marketing team could use a person like this. But it appears that most large companies have already taken that step.
- Conversion Optimization – The next position I argued for in 2014 was a conversion specialist. While this position is similar in some ways to an analyst, I argued that the one objective for this person is website testing and improvement. So many companies today rely on their websites to be successful, so it should be one person’s job to make sure the website is working as good as it possibly can. I still don’t think this position is prevalent enough in marketing departments and it should continue to grow into next year.
- Marketing Project Manager – Finally, and owing to the segmented nature of most marketing teams, I argued for a project manager to help coordinate, prioritize and drive the marketing team forward. This one is happening in real life, judging by the companies I have talked to and the openings I’ve seen at companies large and small.
Stay tuned tomorrow, when I will pull back the curtain on my 2015 marketing predictions!