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How digital marketing has changed in 2014

05/01/2015

Digital marketing has been changed by more new innovations in 2014 but some have proved more popular than others.

Digital Marketing is, by its very nature, a disruptive and exciting sphere. As a young method of communication with potential and current customers, it is ripe for innovation and the fast pace of technological progress provides fuel to the engine of change.

Reflecting on how this has altered the sphere of digital marketing in 2014, Marketing Magazine identified five areas in which new innovations have made an impact.

Connected Stadia

The idea of the connected stadium was perhaps the most timely of all the 2014 innovations, emerging in the year of the football World Cup. 

However, it was not in Brazil but Europe - and particularly the UK - where change came about. Until now, there has been a significant gap in experience between the fans watching a match on TV - where they can be exposed to all sorts of marketing - and those at the ground, where methods like perimeter advertising have been commonplace for over a century.

In April, however, Manchester City became the first club to provide free high-density Wi-Fi for all fans in the stadium, as part of a broader digital strategy by the club to engage with its fans. This is a necessary step, as City will need to monetise its supporter base more in view of new rules curbing the ability of the club's Abu Dhabi-based owners to bankroll the team with petrodollars.

Wembley Stadium has followed suit in this regard, with a six-year sponsorship deal with mobile network EE to turn the home of football into a Wi-Fi hotspot. It also provides mobile ticket solutions, which could obviate the need for long queues at the ticket office.

Rugby is following suit with Samsung installing 700 smart screens at Twickenham as part of its partnership with the England rugby team.

With 2015 being an Ashes summer, perhaps cricket grounds will be next. 

Smart Thermostat

The smart thermostat has been another 2014 innovation, part of the emergence of the 'internet of things'. Marketing Week noted this year that research has shown many people are a little wary about such developments in their own private spaces, but the prospect of a device that saves money in an age of squeezed incomes and rising energy bills means this has been a more marketable innovation. 

Other big ideas

There were more big innovations listed by Marketing Magazine, including plenty from Apple, including its own version of Beacons, a Bluetooth app that enables companies to identify when customers are located close to their high-street outlets. Tesco, Waitrose, Barclays and Armani have all trialled this.

That development may remind us that shopping has not all gone online, but the Buy buttons introduced by Facebook and Twitter show social media is seeking to achieve this. 

What next?

Apple's Smartwatch was another 2014 innovation, but it could be that 2015 is the year when wearables really take off.

However, for those seeking jobs in digital marketing, there may be little time to get used to the new innovations of 2014 before those of 2015 arrive. Not everyone will welcome these, particularly as some will regard Beacons or 'internet of everything' technology as being too intrusive. Indeed, even connected stadia have proved unpopular in some cases, such as among fans of Dutch club PSV Eindhoven.

For that reason, it may be the successful innovations of next year are the ones that keep the power in the hands of the consumer.