Designing the World of Customer Experience

7 Digital Business Trends in 2014

These are exciting times in digital media with 2014 promising to be a fun and transformative year.

Top Trends in 2014
1. On-Demand Marketing
2. Experience Design
3. Mobile / Video Ads
4. Mobile Shopping
5. Mobile Security
6. Internet of Things
7. Purpose

Along with the rapid growth of digital, social and mobile connectivity, people’s expectations of business are quickly changing. The breakout success-stories you read about this time next year will be from companies capitalizing on the big data opportunities right now.  This rich customer data can be analyzed to uncover sophisticated insights that lead to smart decisions and wise actions.  Here are the major trends I’ll be researching, testing and using next year.

1. On-Demand Marketing

Rather than “always on”, it’s time to start thinking about digital media as “on-demand”.  Having products and services that are available “wherever” is becoming the new normal, from “video-on-demand” to smartphone-enabled hotel and airline services.

2. The Rise of User Experience Design

This one’s a big deal.  Customers need their interactions with brands to be easy and provide value to their busy lives. Smart companies are investing in listening to their customers through social media monitoring, business intelligence, retail feedback and other sources.  This leads to better-designed, more intuitive user experiences that influence the touch points along the path to purchase.

“Design is not just the way things look but the way things work”.
– Steve Jobs

The digital user experience starts with mobile-friendly content and responsive design that expands across devices (mobile, tablet, desktop). Every time a customer has a brand interaction (online or offline), a story is created for them to tell their network… And if it’s an interesting story, it’s amplified through social media faster and further than imaginable.  In fact, two-thirds of customer decisions are made by consumer-driven stories such as online reviews and word-of-mouth from friends and family.

3. Blending of Mobile and Video advertising

Mobile advertising will look a lot different this time next year. As brand marketers find more creative ways of mobile engagement, video ads that have sharing at their core are embracing mobile’s social characteristics. In fact, engagement with mobile video ads is three times higher than desktop.

  • Consumers are 27 times more likely to click through online video ads than standard banners.
  • Mobile interactions have more than doubled in the last year (up 105.63%) to 22.64% in Q3 2013.
  • Twenty-five percent of viewing time of streaming video on tablets is spent with content more than 60 minutes long.

4.  Mobile becomes the new shopping device

The influence of mobile on purchases and retail sales will continue to grow.

  • 84% of smartphone shoppers use their phones while in a physical store.
  • 82% of shoppers mobile use search engines to browse product information in-store
  • Frequent Mobile shoppers spend more by 25% than others

Keep in mind though, that this isn’t just happening in retail. Mobile is changing the rules for all industries.

Read More: “How Mobile Is Transforming the Shopping Experience in Stores” from Google Shopper Marketing Agency Council and M/A/R/C Research

5. Security becomes Big Issue for Mobile Payments

Unfortunately, the majority of smartphone don’t have the proper security to handle mobile commerce. This massive safety issue puts both consumers and businesses at risk of cyber attacks.

“Nearly two-thirds of U.S. consumers (59 percent) and U.K. consumers (65 percent) have no security software on their mobile devices, according to a report from security and compliance management solutions specialist Tripwire.

The good news is that mobile security companies like Whisper Communications provide a safer user experience with mobile payments and point-of sale transactions.

The mobile industry is sitting on the edge of a massive PR problem if they don’t take a proactive approach and start educating the public about mobile safety.  Any blowback from negative stories on the evening news, will delay public adoption.

In the early days of e-commerce, people were slow being comfortable with internet shopping and it could take a while for mobile.  I expect that the Fast Food industry will help push mobile payments to critical mass this year.

The Future Was Yesterday

6. The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is where everyday “things” are connected through the internet and communicate with each other.  This is brought to us by our friends, Big Data and The Cloud.  We’re already seeing examples of this in cars and home systems and I believe the big breakthrough will be wearable computing like Google Glass and the Nike FuelBand.

AT&T is well-positioned for success here with the growing capabilities coming from their Foundry Innovation Centers.  Their “Digital Life” platform focuses on home security and automation service, U-verse, mobility and the “connected car.”  

They say that communication is key to any good relationship.  As the relationship between people and their devices becomes stronger, so too will the expectations for better communication.

7. Purpose Beyond Profit

Finally we climb to the top of Maslow’s pyramid to make the deepest connections with your customers and employees.  The most successful companies during the recession are the ones able to look beyond profit and discover their real purpose.

People have grown skeptical of corporate messaging and demand something more. There is a tidal wave of change coming with the millennial generation, the growing “conscious consumer” movement and the B Corporations that believe in the power of business to create positive social and environmental changes.  Getting people engaged in 2014 means identifying your brand’s core values and seriously making authentic connections with your audience.

“Make your work to be in keeping with your purpose and design”
― Leonard Da Vinci

The most exciting companies right now are purpose-driven brands that inspire their customers to spread positive stories with their friends and family.

  • 72% of consumers would recommend a brand that supports a good cause over one that doesn’t.
  • 71% of consumers would help a brand promote their products or services if there is a good cause behind them.
  • 73% of consumers would switch brands if a different brand of similar quality supported a good cause.

Read More: Deloitte’s Culture of Purpose report (PDF)
Edelman’s Good Purpose Report 2012
Nielsen’s Consumers Who Care

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