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Go big or go back to 2013

Jon Silk, head of digital at Bite urges you to prepare for what promises to be a big year for B2B marketing

2014 is going to be bonkers. Everyone I know has had the busiest January of their working life already. The wearable technology market is glowing white hot, Google just dropped $3 billion on a company that makes a thermostat and a fire alarm, Twitter’s founder Biz Stone launched a social network with Al Gore and Bono, and Lee Ryan had two ‘bathroom moments’ with two different ‘actresses’ in two days in the raunchiest season of Celebrity Big Brother ever.

I’m not sure what the last point has to do with B2B marketing, but I don’t care. It was just another example of how 2014 is determined to be big, brash, loud and borderline offensive. So why is this all happening now?

If you think back to 2007, when the phrase ‘credit crunch’ entered our vernacular, we were all preparing for another recession. Then, as it dragged on, we realised we were in the middle of the deepest global financial crisis for a very long time. The first recession only lasted a few years, but as more years rolled by we learnt a new phrase: Double dip.

The UK emerged from that in 2012. After five long years of panic and austerity, we weren’t suddenly going to run out and take risks in 2013. We needed a year off. We needed a time to reflect. We needed, for crying out loud, a holiday and a cocktail with an umbrella in it.

Now, it’s 2014. We’re back. We’re feeling good. We’re either still in business, or we’re ready to get back to it. We’re doing dry January, so we’re not even hungover. What are the things that 2014 is going to be remembered for, and how do we cope with it?

  1. There will be mergers and launches. That service you use to measure niche blogger activity online is about to be bought by someone else, and be called something else. Be prepared to retrain or switch provider. Also, a better one is about to launch that plugs directly into your audience’s brain via their smart watch. Or something.
  2. Your house is going to evolve to be smarter than you. It’ll know when you get home and will have already put the heating on and boiled the kettle. If your office isn’t smart yet, introduce some devices to boost its IQ. Employees will start to wonder why their flat talks to them, while their office resembles a Victorian workhouse.
  3. Facebook is going to catch on. I mean it. Big brands have finally woken up to community management and the power of real-time branded content. The kids might all be on Jelly and Snapchat, but the lessons from the Facebook generation are going to echo through marketing plans for years to come.
  4. Marketing jobs will continue to fragment. With more marketing budget available, specialists in a particular technology are going to become more common. Choose what you want to specialise in now. Are you going to be an insights-driven automation specialist, or a shareable branded content specialist? Or is your new job title ‘head of Tinder’?
  5.  We’re going to see the best creative work for a long time. Yes, a downturn does give us less to work with and force the creative process down to level of efficient genius. But we’ve just had five years of that, and are still in that mindset – except we’ve got more budget now. Just think of what that could mean for your campaigns…