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Five things we learned in 2014

Another year older, another year wiser – so what did we learn in the last 12 months? Here are some things that stand out for me in 2014

1. What works over there (ie. the USA) won’t necessarily work here (ie. Europe) – witness Salesforce’s very un-British attempt to rename its new London HQ… which was firmly rebuffed by the powers that be in the City of London. So it seems the Gherkin, the Shard, the Cheese-grater etc. are all fine, but the Salesforce Tower is distinctly not. The software giant may be able to take over the whole of San Francisco for Dreamforce, but in London we’ll fight them one building at a time. Apparently.

2. B2B is flying high - again. Five years after the business-only airlines (SilverJet, MaxJet and Eos) were permanently grounded due to the credit crunch, EasyJet and RyanAir have gone B2B. Ads by the budget carriers are never going to compare glamour or style-wise with those produced by Silverjet, but they demonstrate the re-emergence of a key B2B sector, and a new confidence.

3. Software brands don’t last long… as illustrated by the smooth but swift exit stage left of Eloqua’s brand following Oracle’s acquisition. Although the acquirer isn’t always known for its delicate marketing touch, the process has been handled well, absorbing much of Eloqua’s good marketing karma. Seasoned users will still refer to Eloqua for the timebeing, but otherwise the brand is increasingly consigned to history.

4. LinkedIn takes a leaf out of Facebook’s book. Since IPO, LinkedIn has become increasingly aggressive in terms of development and business practices, culminating in 2014 with the launch of its blogging platform, putting it in direct competition with proponents like publishers. This won’t be the last time we see LinkedIn adopting Zuckerberg-esque strategies – but it must remember that commerciality and trust do not always go hand-in-hand.

5. B2B ecommerce cashes in. So-called ‘big ticket’ B2B always hogs the limelight, but arguably the transformation that has taken place at the commodity end is far more profound - as illustrated by Alibaba, who’s 2014 $25 billion IPO was the world’s biggest. Meawhile, Forrester claims B2B ecommerce has overtaken B2C in terms of value. Clearly it’s time to get your credit card out.