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Top Marketing Trends for 2014

Business is constantly evolving to better reach their market and market more effectively. Today we'll explain what we expect to be some the top trends for 2014.

Mobile Users Continue to Grow, and Attract Greater Focus

As mobile device usage overtakes desktop usage in the near future, businesses rush to prepare an optimized mobile experience for their customers. From websites to email marketing, downloads to video, mobile friendly marketing will reach a larger percentage of your customers.

We think in 2014 you'll see a greater emphasis on streamlining their marketing for mobile. Customers will now be using smaller screens and reading when on the move, content should be short and sweet: lower word counts, action-oriented content, and blog designs that are simple and optimized for mobile screens. Images and video are important but mobile users have no time for fluff. Responsive web design alone won't deliver for the mobile user - the content iteslf must be optimized for the customer on the go and their mindset of wanting access to instant information.

Smart Content that Dynamically Adjusts to each customer.

Whether it's Amazon's suggested items, smart cart abandonment marketing, re-marketing advertisements, or simply the content on your website, smart content that changes in order to help walk the customer through the buying journey is proving effective and an increasingly popular means of engaging customers and optimizing paths to conversion. Whether it's personalization for their name, company, or content preferences, or location based smart content such as helping customers find the nearest service center, smart content helps companies connect with their customers.

In the new customer centric world where buyers hold all the power, connection, simplicity, and usefulness are more important than ever before. Don't have your customer base siphoned off by inbound-savvy competition that connects with their marketing. That should be you!

Paid Ads Continue Relevance, and Target Marketing Makes a Comeback

Social sharing remains a very valuable and cost-effective inbound strategy, but in order to get full viewership it now often requires paying money to boost posts. Social channels are also a great way to test market new ideas and use a lean methodology to test convesrion rates before you invest heavily in a new direction. As social netowrks continue to monetize themselves, it opens opportunities for companies seeking to attract new customers quickly to take advanage of new opportunities for very targeted marketing. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Pinterest are able to offer businesses valuable visibility from their target markets. We certainly don't want to see companies reliant on paid advertising to gain customers (such as like the yellow pages of old), but we think that companies on the move will be wise in using these new adverising channels to test and perfect their campaigns before a full roll out.

Visual Design and User Experience will Separate the Pack

Consumers are visual creatures. For all the talk that proliferates about text-based inbound strategy, visual elements are as important as ever. Infographics and images play a huge role in generating click-through rates, stirring up consumer interest and ultimately inspiring conversions. And with your website's traffic increasingly featuring mobile users, your high impact visuals working on all devices will soon make or break your relationship with consumers.

To address the ever-expanding spectrum of devices that may be used to visit your website, responsive design has emerged as an intelligent, one-size-fits-all solution. Businesses should utilize images, infographics and other visually beautiful content to create curb appeal that entices consumers. Infographics in particular can generate massive engagement from consumers as well as viral distribution. Similar results are possible for your business when you address text and design elements equally in developing a modern, evolving inbound strategy.

Inbound Marketing Continues to Gain Steam

In its own recent forecast, an editorial in Forbes predicted that 2014 will be defined by businesses finally understanding what inbound marketing actually means. About 60 percent of all businesses were already investing funds into inbound strategies by the end of 2013, but some of those operations did so with only a vague understanding of what inbound marketing really means, and poor implementation of inbound marketing principles and tactics.

If you don't have a grasp on inbound marketing by now, your business is now behind the curve on this ever-evolving digital front. Not only should you have a clear understanding of how inbound marketing works, you need to understand exactly how it fits into your current strategy and long-term goals.

Inbound marketing is the customer focused marketing methodology that we feel is essential to long-term success for most companies (especially B2B). As customer engagement and brand experience continue to become key marketing fronts, it's important to not only keep up with trends and innovations, but lead in your industry.

In Summary: it's all about Customer Experience

It's easy to emphasize either design, content, or mobile when striving for a quality user experience but fail to deliver on all three. We think 2014 is the year that alot of companies will start bringing it all together and start marketing very effectively. Customers are always seeking the value and experience, and the companies that deliver will thrive in 2014 and beyond.

Written by Kevin Barber / March 18, 2014

is the Founder & Director of Lean Labs. He has over a decade of professional experience in Internet Marketing and his top skill is surrounding himself with passionate designers, developers, and inbound marketers.

Kevin has been married 10 years, the father of 3, and he recently relocated to Costa Rica. He enjoys reading professional development books, cycling and motorcycling. Connect with Kevin on Linked In.

Articles by Kevin Barber