Digital Marketing Predictions 2014 – The Rolling Stones were right…

In 1965 The Rolling Stones released “Satisfaction” – a classic rock song about commercialism (and sexual frustration). Here’s the lyrics from the first verse:

When I’m drivin’ in my car
And that man comes on the radio
He’s tellin’ me more and more
About some useless information
Supposed to fire my imagination

How right they were and still are today. Just adapt the lyrics for the digi-world and the song is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago:

When I’m sittin at my computer
Another digi-marketer starts spruiking
Tellin me publish more and more content
About anything, it doesn’t matter
You’ll make a fortune just doin nothin

Hey hey hey…


If only the digi-spruikers studied history, they’d realise there is almost nothing new in marketing, apart from technology. People still buy emotionally and justify rationally, regardless of the technology they use to research and buy things.

Nothing happens in business until you sell something. And it’s the same in personal relationships. Even the humble dating process requires both parties to sell their best attributes if they are going to motivate the other to buy their wares, so to speak. I’m not sure any potential partner will take delight in you boring them to death with irrelevant content about the mundane aspects of your life – just for content’s, sorry, conversation’s sake.

And so as 2013 comes to a close it’s only right that we make a few predictions about marketing in a digital world in 2014. Here’s 14 for 2014:

1. Marketers will continue to follow marketing fashion rather than marketing function. They will still be attracted to the bright shiny digital objects, that look and sound amazing, but don’t build a brand, let alone sell goods and services.

2. Spurious claims will continue to be made that nobody has to sell anything anymore. The cyber-hustlers will try to convince the world that all you need to do is create content, then like moths to a flame, prospects will appear from nowhere to become your customers. All a humble marketer has to do is tweet, blog, post to Facebook, upload to YouTube, drop a photo on Instagram, write white papers, etc, etc and business will take care of itself. Forget selling for a living.

3. There will be a BIG increase in the number of BIG DATA experts, as those who were once social media experts, jump onto the latest digital fashion and become BIG DATA experts. And you can rest assured that those who preach about their plans for BIG DATA, have yet to get their their small data in order.

4. The words “sales” and “profit” and the acronym “ROI” will still never be used to justify the use of social media or content marketing.

5. Alleged experts will claim the traditional channels that have always worked, will somehow miraculously cease to work. They’ll preach that all humans will completely change their natural habits and only believe what they see on their social media of choice, ignoring all other media.

6. Infographics will continue to be used to imply credibility for their authors. This is despite the fact they are composed mostly of glib statements, useless charts, designer fonts, a few colours and nothing to do with making money.

7. The only people imploring marketers to focus on social media and content marketing are those who’ve never made money themselves using social media or content marketing. They make their money telling others to use social media and content marketing.

8. Your A.S.S Time will continue to get less and less, as more and more crap is posted on social media or as ‘content marketing‘. And so those who rely upon social news feeds to publish content for their marketing, will more and more achieve less and less.

9. Over 90% of all social media posts will still never be seen, let alone read or viewed. That’s mainly because there will still be 24 hours in the day and the general population cannot squeeze more time to view the exponentially growing volume of useless digital information – supposed to fire my imagination – sorry I was channeling Jagger.

10. Apparently consumers will now control brands because they have smart phones and tablet computers connected to the internet and they publish their mundane thoughts. Marketers just need to create a product and give it a brand name, then leave it to the consumers to control the brand via their connections. As a result, there will no longer any need for advertising agencies, marketing departments, sales people or R & D.

11. Those with the least marketing experience will be the most highly valued. If you have a resume that says you’ve only had a few year’s experience in a handful of digital marketing channels, you will be valued far more than someone with more than 20 years marketing experience across all marketing channels – online and offline. The original madmen will continue to turn in their graves as a result.

12. The term “join the conversation…” will be the most over-used and meaningless phrase in the media and marketing worlds. Absolutely it will be. In fact it will be said more than “absolutely”.

13. LinkedIn – now known as “Facebook with a Necktie” – will be the primary cause of productivity loss in offices large and small, as “members” continuously check to see who has endorsed them, read their posts, checked their profiles or gone Premium. BTW, I hope lots of people read this on LinkedIn…whoops.

14. Santa Claus is real…

Trust me I work in digital marketing…

malcolm as santa

Have a wonderful festive season and I look forward to getting some satisfaction posting again in the new year…


  1. The best ‘predictions’ list I have ever read, hands-down.

    The madmen reference rings particularly true. I’m marginally closer to ‘a few years’ in marketing than ‘more than 20’, but I still think it’s a disgrace that experience and proven methods (not to mention the timelessness of most human behaviour) are dismissed so readily.

  2. Ne’er a truer word Mal!

    I hope your blog is shared on every social media site globally where it will be read by all of your ‘experts’ who have nothing to do other than read social media.

    Unfortunately, the CEOs and other people who should take note will not read it because they are too busy making extra money to pay for their ‘investment’ in social media.

  3. Malcolm, I agree with you – the technology- It’s changed so much, its changed the way folk actually live and work (go to work and yes, do work and non- work things at work) and spend their leisure, so its fundamental to creating relationships (that means aligning the IT architecture with the firm’s online and offline business strategy), which is all part of the consumer-employee connectedness story, surely? So the more we understand social media’s ‘vacuousness’ (hey where did all that broadcast advertising go, back then?), as well as its power in connecting, the better our firms and or brands can reply to the flux in market circumstances. There has never been so much advertising (or interactivity with brands) within these inner or outer spaces, so what CEO’s are apparently trying to grapple with is how to apportion their ever pressured budgets. The devil may be in the detail, so CEO’s to ensure their connectedness with their consumers and prospects and ultimately their firm’s survival are keen to employ marketers who actually live by the media they are trying to understand, however experienced some of us may be? Aye Martin

  4. So true Malcolm. I’m still waiting for a company to put true ROI behind all this social media. It’s usually said, or that’s social so we don’t track it, yet we have 4 or 5 staff to do it. And don’t get me started on experience vs shiny social media!

  5. Great article Malcolm, I have shared it with the marketing dept and also several industry colleagues. Sometimes we feel guilty about our lack of social media exposure as opposed to the time we still spend on traditional marketing…so good to aborb.

  6. Ironic that senior execs, who refuse to join social media, are dazzled by its bells and whistles and investing so heavily in it. They should sign up to Facebook under an alias, and see for themselves why content-driven marketing causes dis- (or mal-!) contentment. 🙂

  7. Superb stuff, Malc, as always. Right on the money…

    The industry is a joke now. And it will only get worse. These young bucks have been seduced by digital and know nothing else. Old liggers like you and I warned them, but did they listen? Of course not. If only they would study…if only…

    At the last lunch I had, with the late, great Roger Millington, he took a slug of wine and looked up at me and said ” Andy, this business is f*cked. Go do something else” How right he was…

    Keep the faith


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