One of the secrets to Business Intelligence lies in outsmarting your competition by always having a clear idea of what to do next. Just like in a game of chess, you need to outthink your competitor, being able to predict the situation 2-3 moves ahead. Having just entered a new year, of course, no one can tell for sure what the future will bring. However, outlining a list of predictions about major key trends, based on analytical observations of the past, can turn out to be your strongest intelligence asset at any given moment. To help you decide what to focus on next, we've suggested the following 5 things about Inbound Marketing that will most likely occur in 2014:
1. Clear Definition of an Inbound Marketing Agency
As the term Inbound Marketing becomes more and more trendy, companies might start to abuse it. Because the term is so broad and covers different marketing components (Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Web Design etc.), there is a chance that, for example, small Web Design agencies might all of a sudden consider re-branding themselves as Inbound agencies. To avoid that, a clear definition of what an Inbound Marketing agency does should arise at the beginning of 2014. Moreover, that definition should be commonly agreed upon among the vast majority of practitioners.
2. New Job Titles
That prediction stems from what we witnessed happening with Content Marketing in 2013. As a new term in the business dictionary, Content Marketing soon started assigning particular job titles, such as Content Creator, Content Marketing Officer, Senior Content Manager etc. The same will likely happen for Inbound Marketing in 2014. We might welcome job titles, such as Lead Inbound Marketing Manager, Inbound Marketing Data Analyst and Inbound Strategist, etc.
3. Technology: The Rise of Full-Service Inbound Marketing Suites
Marketing Automation became big in 2013, and 2014 will definitely be big for Inbound Marketing. Therefore many large vendors will most likely partner with other companies in developing full-service inbound marketing suites - platforms that will support every aspect of Inbound Marketing. Because the discipline covers so many aspects (Content, Social, Search, etc.), the natural need to create such platforms will arise. We will surely see more acquisitions during 2014.
4. Sales Enablement Becomes Part of Inbound Marketing
The maturing of sales, and more importantly - the development of the Content Selling discipline, that we saw occurring in 2013, requires a new approach to sales. In 2014, all the different components of Inbound Marketing will have some kind of an impact on the overall outcome of lead nurturing, especially on improved conversion rates. Moreover, in 2014, it will make even less sense to view marketing and sales as two separate disciplines. On the contrary, brands will become more mature and experienced in good practices on sales and marketing alignment.
5. Multilingual Content
The factor "Localisation" will play a vital role in 2014 Inbound Marketing, especially regarding content. As Val Swisher, Founder & CEO of Content Rules, Inc, states: “I predict that the need for translated content will increase, perhaps exponentially, in 2014. More customers are translating more content into more languages all the time. It is no longer acceptable to reach international markets with an English-only strategy.”
Dear fellow Marketers, if you also think that 2014 planning of Inbound Marketing strategies resembles a game of chess, in which you definitely want to win, consider developing a good sense of what comes next. That's your best shot to be fully and timely prepared for all the inevitable changes that the Marketing universe constantly brings about. Apart from the aforementioned predictions, what else do you see coming in 2014?