Forrester2014According to Forrester Research’s recent annual mobile trends report, there will be more than two billion smartphones globally this year. Besides that, the firm not only predicts that mobile is becoming the new digital hub, but the bridge to the physical world, too.

These are stalwart reasons why mobile devices will impact much more than just the digital operations and rather transform entire business processes, from sales and marketing to workforce and internal practices. Thus, 2014 is therefore expected to be the year that companies increase investments to transform their businesses with mobile as a focal point.

However, marketers must leverage current context and insights to evolve their ability to serve customers in their mobile moments, Forrester advises. In addition, the firm expects that static experiences will fall flat and that companies will therefore ramp up usage of the cloud’s computing power to design next-generation smart apps, and urgently warns marketers not to run the risk of focusing too much energy and budget on increased experimentation with edgy devices to the detriment of core mobile strategies.

In any case, Forrester believes Asia will inspire innovation, since India and China are the largest and fastest growing mobile phone and smartphone markets in the world, the company is convinced that non-Asian companies can learn especially from China how to reach a mobile-first audience on slow networks and feature phones.

The quintessence of the report is, however, Forrester’s speculations on what will and won’t happen in the mobile marketing industry and we would like to take the opportunity to summarize for you at least quickly what is expected to take place so that you can adjust your processes and platforms to the constantly changing business environment. Take a look at what’s expected to happen:

  • The intersection of mobile with the physical world will emerge as a top priority, as mobile brings the Internet to the physical world and enhances, rather than displaces, other media. It means that customers are bringing Internet prices and promotions into physical retail locations. In the past, many retailers ran their store operations and online businesses separately. While they operated some elements consistently, product selection, pricing, and promotions often vary across channels. These silos become harder to maintain due to the colocation of the channels.
  • Competitive advantage in mobile will shift from experience design to big data and analytics: Most companies have focused on designing the first version of their apps and mobile websites, but just a few are delivering the differentiated experiences that are possible with smart apps connected to customer relationship management (CRM) and IT systems. In 2014, companies will release refreshed mobile apps, gather data from usage, develop insights, and then use those insights both to create relevance for their customers and to improve upon mobile services, from core apps to messaging.
  • Mobile contextual data will offer deep customer insights — beyond mobile: Companies will move beyond using mobile analytics to understand consumers in digital environments to understand them in physical environments as well. Information layered on top of gained data via mobile devices, such as location, creates phenomenal insights about a customer’s environment and allows predicting future behaviors of consumers via powerful algorithms, bridging offline and online behaviors, external open data, and third-party data sources.

  • Audience size in Asia will elevate the region’s role in mobile services innovation: During 2014, China will pass the 500 million smartphones mark and have almost as many smartphones as the US and Western Europe combined. Moreover, like most Southeast Asian and emerging countries, China doesn’t have the established infrastructure within the enterprise which chains too many companies to their legacy policies, processes, or platforms. The combined newness of the Internet and mobile makes everyone an entrepreneur. All of these elements taken together will enable businesses in China — and, to a lesser extent, in India — to learn more quickly what customers want and to evolve their services faster to meet those desires.
  • Mobile advertising will start maturing. Brand advertisers have long been hesitant to invest in mobile due to the lack of maturity of the mobile ad ecosystem, the absence of rich-media ad units, and measurement complexity due to the primarily cookieless environment. In 2014, Forrester expects new mobile-centric ad formats to emerge, more effective mobile video inventory to grow, and more mobile ad network inventory to shift to the exchanges.

If you want to get advice on how to take action or read in detail what Forrester expects NOT to happen in 2014, get the Predictions 2014: Mobile Trends For Marketers.

By Daniela La Marca