Important Marketing Trends of 2014 That Will Likely Be Big News in 2015

As we post for the final time in 2014, we prepare for next year by looking back on several topics we tagged as Marketing Trends that are bound to become news again in 2015. Here are a few of our favorite trends and some of the comments we made about these.

  • Apps Get Even Bigger ? In February, the future of retailing was discussed when we looked at how big restaurants were testing the use of mobile device apps to allow customers to place orders. Based on a USA Today story, the focus was on Taco Bell’s use of a new app and we noted: “While this app offers many customer-friendly options, such as menus that update depending on the time of day and maps displaying the closest store, this technology also provides a number of appealing features for Taco Bell, including the ability to suggest (i.e., upsell) customers on additional items and the use of GPS tracking that will alert the restaurant when the customer is getting close to the store.”
  • The Robot Invasion ? Since the dawn of the modern economy, sometime after the Industrial Revolution, it has been a never-ending goal of marketers to wring costs out of product distribution. Technology and process innovation are continual and, as we noted in a December post, Amazon’s use of warehouse robots is a terrific example: “As explained in this National Public Radio story, Amazon is using specialized robots programmed to bring products to employees who fill the orders. According to the story, Amazon uses over 15,000 robots in its warehouses.”
  • The Need for Salespeople to Adapt ? While robots are changing retail distribution, changes in who makes the final buying decision is affecting somes sales professions. As we discussed in a September post, a Wall Street Journal story examined this issue in the health care industry.  They found that fewer doctors now make the drug choice decision and instead that role has, in some cases, shifted to non-doctors: “Because more and more doctors are joining health care systems, such as large group practices and hospitals, decisions on drug choice is beginning to shift away from doctors and, instead, is being handled by someone in management, who may not even be a doctor. In these situations, sales reps may find that speaking with a non-doctor about a drug may be more important than speaking with a prescribing physician.”
  • The Business of Marijuana ? Another retail issue that caught our attention in May was the developing market for legalized marijuana that was discussed in a National Public Radio story. While many people in the U.S. are against legalization, there is no question that it is generating big money for the states that permit it to be sold. It is also creating marketing challenges for companies in this business: “As the market grows, it will also be fascinating to see the retail strategies marketers use to broaden distribution. Currently, these products are sold within small independent retail stores, but some day we may see marijuana sold in large corporate chain stores and retail franchises.”
  • Watch Out for Generation Z ? In a post we made last week, we talked about the growing importance of the Millennial generation. However, back in July we mentioned the emergence of another generation that will also have a significant impact, Generation Z.  Yet, marketers need to beware that this group may be quite different then those they currently target: “The Gen Z group represents consumers born after the mid-1990s. According to this story in Shopper Marketing, this group possesses certain traits that set them apart from previous generations with the most notable being that they are the first generation to have always been exposed to the Internet.”
  • Managing Social Media ? Finally, there is no doubt about the power social media brings to marketing. By now nearly every company that cares about marketing is using some form of social media. And more are going a lot farther than just tweeting or posting to Facebook. For instance, in September we reported on another National Public Radio story that captured the importance sports marketers are realizing about controlling social media: “Copying the strategies undertaken by leading consumer products firms, these sports organizations have created social media command centers, which are supported by advanced data analytics software and are outfitted with multiple computer screens that display what is happening in real-time on social media.”

These are just a few issues that caught our attention this year and that we suspect will be heard from again in 2015.

From everyone at – Happy New Year!