I’ve just finished looking over the introduction to E Consultancy’s report  ‘Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2014 Digital Trends’.

The report gives a great insight into the mindset, needs and concerns of the digital marketing professionals of today. It’s from a worldwide survey of 2,500+ marketers and internet professionals, so it’s based on solid data. And it’s a bit of wake up call.

If you haven’t got time to read the report yourself, I’ve summarised what I think are the most important digital trends. Some are things that we’re already doing but expect to see more of. There are some new trends that we expect to see emerging in 2014, and there are also a few tactics that are going out of fashion due to their inefficiency in today’s day and age.

• As customer experience has become the single most exciting opportunity for 2014 digital marketing professionals need to have the right data, technology and culture. Without these they will be unable to build a memorable experience for their customers.
• The top priorities are content marketing, social media engagement and targeting and personalising.
• Therefore, expect to see much more marketing with high quality and original content, the use of social media, personalisation and a specific target, as this will be the only way they are really going to reach their audience and stand out from the competition.

Modern marketing platforms have a lot of these capabilities built in so we can expect to see a lot more companies beginning to use the functionality that is readily available within these systems.

2014 is also the year of experimenting and having the agility to bounce back when things don’t turn out the way you had hoped. 64% of respondents are saying they are going to experiment heavily with digital in 2014, as digital is the principle reason behind consumers changing.

• control has moved from marketing to market
• brand loyalty is fading due to increased opportunities
• expectations for service are outpacing brands’ imaginations and investment
• it’s not clear how social media marketing will evolve due to the growing “siphoning off” trend (i.e. social media users blocking or filtering commercial content).

Marketing departments relying on more traditional digital marketing methods may struggle to keep up with consumers by adapting to digital.

• Some digital marketers are concerned about the effectiveness of email due to the shift of audience going from desktop to mobile devices.
• 28% of companies reported that over half of their digital visitors are via mobile devices, which is very concerning to digital marketers. The efficiency in email has eroded as it just one of the many platforms of media.
• TV will not be an effective way of advertising in 5 years as consumers shift to different video platforms, e.g. YouTube, timeshifting, and on-demand.

In conclusion, digital trends are continuously changing and it is very important to adapt to these changes or you will be left behind. If you are not up to date with technology you will not be fit for the future and will find it very hard to communicate with your audience, let alone persuade them to buy from you.

Five ways in which marketing teams can prepare so that they are ready for the future:

• understanding how technology can be used to improve marketing performance
• unveiling and using data patterns
• thinking critically
• having willingness to experiment
• be business savy and be agile and embrace collaboration.

Good luck!