The Future of Interactive: Trends to Tackle in 2014

By David Sauter, CEO

Published: December 13, 2013

It’s that time of year. As another year comes to a close, many teams quickly recap how far they’ve come (or where they’ve fallen short) and look to 2014 as the year to one-up the competition and accelerate growth. Our technology is going to get smarter, interactive is going lean, and you might even find yourself printing a few products at home.

Here’s a quick look at 6 tech trends to tackle in the next year:

2014 Technology

1. Interactive business takes over marketing.

How digital marketing integrates with traditional channels is the biggest challenge many teams face when it comes to implementation. It requires leaders to define a vision of how company communications will integrate and the transformation needed in people, process, tools and metrics to make the most of interactive efforts. In other words, it needs a long-term strategy. A shift towards interactive business, a concept that moves interactive and digital strategy away from the marketing department and in turn infuses it throughout an organization, is key to progressive thinking and agility in the coming year. Yet, interactive business only leads to success for those ready to lead their markets by turning traditional processes upside down.

2. Interactive innovation is fueled by lean principles:

As interactive business becomes mainstream, lean principles applied to interactive implementation will help teams eliminate waste, ensure valuable online communication, and serve as a way of defining investment in platforms and activities to drive growth. Growth hackers, a unique breed of creative, technical, and analytical business professionals will make up interactive business teams; eager to manage and gauge performance drivers through interactive efforts.

3. Wearables make ‘going mobile’ a standard:

Before you know it, technology will start to drive actions, becoming entrenched into our day-to-day. Wearable technology, a big part of the Internet of Things, allows for touch feedback as opposed to traditional audio and visual notifications. This means that signals from your device – technology like Google Glass – will stay out of the way and with people literally 24/7. For businesses, this means all interactive content, websites, and promotional efforts require a mobile friendly approach. We’ll start to see more immersive mobile, responsive landing pages rather than traditional, static form based pages. And if you’re not already planning on how to leverage big data, start.

4. The art of strategic storytelling ‘one ups’ content marketing: 

2014 is the year of storytelling for a total customer experience. CXM signifies a change from a focus on user experience and usability of the first touch point to broader touch point mapping across customer journeys and through the customer lifecycle. Investment in customer persona development and touch point satisfaction mapping take the content marketing fad to the next level, turning it into a core interactive strategy rather than an ancillary effort. This increased focus on what the customer needs will help fuel development of more interactive content marketing techniques, in which customers are taken down a funnel of relevant, quality, branded content as they surf the web.

5. Social business is a necessity, not an option:

Believe it or not, effective social media efforts are hard to come by when it comes to business accounts. Many companies still don’t understand the value of community growth and most importantly, constant community engagement.  The latest indication of time-on-site (the mean time that a user spends on site per month) showed users spending a long time on social channels – a trend that will not slow down in 2014. Facebook audience and time-on-site will likely stay strong despite additional invasive advertising initiatives (auto play video ads). There isn’t a comparable alternative for most users, and it serves valuable utility. Google Plus will also grow in 2014.

6. SEO will die:

You may have heard about Google’s recent “Hummingbird” update, or seen the deep integration that Bing has done with Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and Klout and wondered about the state of search. In 2014, SEO as we knew it, the way most webmasters are still operating, will die. Keywords will no longer be important. Contextual verbal inquiries will drive results. Most importantly, content, author and outreach quality will replace the more technical tactics we once referred to as SEO. The core problem with the old approach to SEO was results were limited and only work well for highly structured data. To expand, Google needs to extract answers from their entire index of the web. Put simply, Google needs to be able to create answers from content.

As we turn the table on 2013 and head eagerly into the new year, these are just a few interactive trends we’re excited to tackle. Our total list of new opportunities for exploration eclipses triple digits. Connect with us if you’re interested in a more complete list. Are you ready to lead in your market by infusing the latest interactive solutions into traditional processes?