Fourteen Predictions For 2014

I’ve not posted as much as I wanted to in 2013, but I will make a grand effort for 2014…at least that’s what I’m saying now. On that grand note, below are my 14 predictions for 2014 from my twitter handle @khodyg :

  • # 14 mobile marketing will be a bigger portion of the marketing mix #14for2014
  • # 13 3D printing gets affordable. My 6yo son wants @LEGO_Group to upload designs to print  #14for2014
  • # 12 Wearables go mainstream. More startup players come into the market  #14for2014
  • # 11 @TedRubin trades in socks for flip-flops 😊 #RonR  #14for2014
  • # 8 Digital disruption will continue shifting IT spend from #CIO to #CMO  #14for2014
  • # 7 Brands will better leverage user  generated content & community engagement to drive value   #14for2014
  • # 6 Some say boring. I say no. With rich mobile data, Behavioral Analytics goes beyond A/B testing #14for2014
  • # 5 Companies with active blogs have 97% more indexed pages than those who don’t. Good brands blog! #14for2014
  • # 4 With +259M members and 142M visitors/month, @LinkedIn hits the spot for digital marketers   #14for2014
  • # 3 With great Social CMS, content curation over content creation will be the focus for brands. #14for2014
  • # 2 Micro-content driven #mobile marketing… @vineapp like snacks with actionable CTAs #14for2014
  • # 1 it’s about the relationship. The connection from Digital to “In Real Life” gets stronger. #mobile leads #14for2014

3 Basic Ingredients

Recently I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several early stage business founders. Each of them have amazing passion for the ideas they are growing, conviction about the market segment they are impacting, and are full of energy. The one thing I found surprising was how a couple of them did not realize the value of establishing a digital footprint.

While my own startup experience predates the social web, we had a great conversation about personal branding in the digital world. Specifically, we talked about the value of connecting their personal brand to help shore-up the value of their new ventures’ brand. This is important for an early stage company because investors are not only buying into your product’s value proposition, they are also buying into your vision and value prop. Do this the right way and capital and customers will come to you. Do it the wrong way or be absent from the social web, and you’ll have to do it old school by smiling and dialing your way to success.

Is there a right recipe for this? Well, it’s like asking if there is one recipe for macaroni and cheese. There are always a few basic ingredients:

  1. Set up Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles for yourself (not your company). Keep it simple, and clearly identify who you are and what you do.
  2. If you have more than 10 employees, set up a social media policy with some do’s and don’ts, agree on a posting schedule, and stick to it.
  3. If you happen to have a live website, connect your executive profiles to the social web. Include all the relevant links (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.). If, like some startups you list your whole team on the site, encourage them to connect their social links as well. Don’t be afraid of them leaving—exporting talent can be a great thing. They could be the next connection into a partner or customer.

These are the basics. As you grow, so will your digital footprint, and as one of my friends @katrinaklier likes to say, “if it’s online, it’s marketing material, whether it’s a person or a product.”

So get out there. Build your footprint and start participating in the social conversation.

The Emergence of the Micro Brand

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

As a marketer for dotcoms, startups, and large companies over the past 20 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazing people who are sought-after influencers in their respective industries. The trait they all have in common? A solid micro brand.

They also are experts in their specific field, confident in who they are, and not shy about sharing their knowledge. But first and foremost, they are great listeners and teachers. They spend time cultivating their brand by curating their relationships, both online and offline. Lastly, they are genuine. They say what they do and do what they say.

In our tech driven world, they are high touch and welcome the face-to-face meetings. Because in the end, as my friend Ted Rubin  would say, it is about the “Return on Relationship” and it is about serving without expectations.

You need to choose what your micro brand represents. If you know who you are and what impact you want to have, this should be easy. Jeremy Epstein put it most succinctly “Building your brand online (and offline) just takes time. It also takes rhythm and process.”

For me, the rules to help foster your micro brand boil down to a couple of essential things: establish your area of expertise, and define and stand for your values as you build relationships.

Over the next few months on this blog, I’ll be talking to people who I think have mastered the micro brand concepts. I’m looking forward to these discussions, and hope you’ll join me here. Connect with me on Twitter @khodyg.