Loren McDonald: vice-president of industry relations at Silverpop
Loren McDonald: vice-president of industry relations at Silverpop
A view from Loren McDonald

Digital marketing trends for 2014

Last year, we declared 2013 the year of the customer. Consider the customer revolution under way.

With buyers privy to more information, access and choice than ever, lower prices and better products have become little more than minimum requirements. Given that landscape, how can businesses distinguish themselves from the pack? 

Companies like Apple, Lexus and Amazon.com have transcended prices and features to create compelling and fulfilling customer experiences. These companies have rewritten the rules of customer relationships by ensuring every interaction creates an experience that is convenient, fun and even meaningful. They’ve embraced the customer revolution and are raising customer expectations for every other business. 

In 2014, as more brands strive to engage customers, the smart ones are increasingly replacing bland, un-personalised emails and communication with targeted and timely behaviour-driven content.

Consumers now expect a good experience in addition to discounts and promotions when they are "marketed" to, so it will be crucial to reach them at precisely the right moment with relevant news or promotions to pique their interest. 

Another theme of 2014 will be location marketing. Knowing your customer's position is an immensely powerful part of delivering the right message at the right time. In recent years, forward-thinking marketers have communicated with customers based on whether they crossed a geofence or checked in via Foursquare or Facebook.

Powerful stuff, but it’s about to get even cooler now that Apple’s announced the iBeacon functionality as part of its iOS7 technology and it's a game-changer for how businesses will conduct location-based marketing in the future. 

Furthermore, while big data continues to be a much-discussed topic, most marketing organisations will focus on "smaller data" programs by making the data they are capturing more actionable and in real time. A key element of this approach will be exploiting customer behaviour and applying business rules and marketing automation programmes that deliver a true one-to-one message in real-time to the recipient. 

In conclusion, targeted digital content and personalised email will continue to transform the customer experience in 2014 and the brands that take advantage will engage and attract loyal, lifelong customers.    

Loren McDonald is vice-president of industry relations at Silverpop