Bateman Group Industry Predictions for 2014, Round One
Even though we’ve been busy as ever during November and December, we agreed as a company to re-commit ourselves to our wonderful blog, Bateman Banter, and adhere more closely to an editorial calendar — come hell or high water. Our first goal was to actually get our industry predictions for 2014 posted while we were still in calendar year 2013. To that end, this is our first installment of our popular Predictions Series from the esteemed professionals at Bateman Group. Our annual predictions touch on areas as diverse as the technology industry, PR and marketing trends, general business topics and even some popular culture thrown in for good measure. Enjoy, and be sure to post a comment or two if you agree, disagree or even just indifferent, okay?
Rod McLeod, Account Manager, San Francisco
1) Tech/Silicon Valley Shows No Signs of Slowing Down
While the rest of the economy is still slow to recover, the San Francisco Bay Area has been booming, solely due to the tech industry. As a tech PR agency, we’ve seen tremendous growth and a bonanza of companies knocking down our door. Some pundits call this another bubble, while others claim that this economic boom is sustainable. One thing is certain: There are no signs of slowing down in 2014. Next year will see more IPOs and tech money flood into San Francisco and the Bay Area.
We will also witness more tech backlash in San Francisco as IPOs continue to fuel the real-estate market explosions and San Franciscans become displaced (i.e., move to Oakland) due to exorbitant housing prices. It will be interesting to watch this boom as well how the city’s culture evolves.
Grace Nasri, Account Manager, San Francisco
1) 2014 Will Be the Year of Invisible Payments
2014 will be the year when invisible payments start becoming mainstream. Consumers love seamless payment experiences like that of Uber where there’s no awkward payment situation at the end of a ride, no haggling over the tip amount, and consumers can instead focus on the experience. OpenTable has recently begun testing a similar way for its customers to pay with the touch of a button after enjoying dinner at a favorite restaurant, and companies like OrderAhead and Olo are also making it simple for customers to order online or on their mobile phones, walk into a café or restaurant, pick up their order and walk out—without having to wait in line to pay. PayPal is also testing its new Beacon technology that enables consumers to walk into a store, pay for an item and walk out — all without even pulling out a wallet.
Consumers are increasingly expecting these seamless, almost invisible, payment experiences. The companies that will win out are the ones that are able to simplify the exchange of money to the point of invisibility so that consumers can focus on the purchase, whether it’s a cab ride, a dinner or a cup of coffee.
Elissa Ehrlich, Account Director, New York City
1) PR Agencies: Content Marketing In… Social Media Out…
Social media is so 2011 – just ask Mark Zuckerberg. With only 22 percent of Americans on social networks, PR firms are quickly realizing that they can no longer hang their hats on social marketing as a silver bullet for reaching their clients’ target audiences. At the same time, PR firms will focus resources on building out their content marketing bureaus, understanding that excellent writing is more critical than a pithy Facebook page in engaging audiences. In 2014, PR firms will aggressively market their content development capabilities to the industry and hire journalists at a more rapid clip. Expect to see more reporters making the move to the “dark side.”
2) Blurred Lines: The Rise of “Corporate Journalism”
Bloggers have been around for more than a decade with the Internet knocking down barriers and making everyone with a computer and Internet connection a published author. Journalists have continued to hold a place in the universe and fight to the good fight for true journalistic integrity. In 2014, alongside the rise of “content marketing” and community-driven content sites like BuzzFeed, more and more companies will be publishers and the lines will be further blurred between who is a journalist and what is a journalistic point of view – making it increasingly difficult for the reader to tell the difference.
Fred Bateman, CEO and Founder, San Francisco
1) The Importance of Design for both BtoB and BtoC Companies Grows
I predict there will never be success stories like Craigslist and eBay again. All online and mobile apps will need to have a well-designed interface (UI) and engaging user experience (UX) as a baseline for success – period.
2) Mobile Payments Become the Norm as Opposed to the Exception
3) More Successful Startups Helping Other Startups
Driven in part by the success of Braintree, the one-touch mobile payment gateway for Airbnb, Task Rabbit, Uber, Hotel Tonight and countless others; and Factual, the company that delivers location-based personalization services to Yelp, Bing and Trip Advisor, we’ll see more wildly successful startups in the business of helping other startups get their app or service up and running faster.
4) The Rise of Software-Defined Everything
Through our work with companies like Nutanix, I can now confidently predict that the future of networking, storage, and the whole friggin’ datacenter is software-defined architectures. A software-defined datacenter is fully automated by software with the hardware configuration maintained via intelligent software systems as opposed to defined by dedicated hardware and devices. Software-defined solutions are only possible today due to the availability of cheaper, faster chips like ARM that make it possible to replace dedicated servers, storage devices and routers with boxes made up of commodity hardware. I predict the movement to software-defined everything will be a huge threat to many established tech companies, especially Cisco, EMC, NetApp, HP and IBM.