VISION BuzzFeed: Top 10 List of 2014 Marketing Trends

May 2, 2014

by Meena Sandhu

As marketers, we are more than familiar with buzzwords, trends, hot topics, industry lingo, etc. – and, in fact, our industry is responsible for creating much of it. However, even the most seasoned marketer can get caught up, swept away or even left in the dust trying to stay on top of all the terms and trends.

In 2014, in a time of information overload, we’re having to filter through the clutter we’ve created ourselves.

As Director of VISION, I had the equally daunting – yet fulfilling – task of truly searching through that clutter. What is relevant today? What are the topics we need to know now, and what does the marketing future hold?


Shows like Mad Men have both glamourized and demonized marketing. But we’re not all Don Draper and this isn’t the 1960s.


Beyond the noise of buzzwords, we’re dealing with polarizing views by society. Where does that leave us? With some challenges, for sure, but also a world of opportunity. When we get the marketing right, we break down those preconceived notions. We need to get back to the basics. We need to tell great stories and inspire creativity. Regardless of where we are in time and regardless of all the technology that we have access to, the “medium is still the message” and we have more of the medium and more storytelling tools to play with than ever before.

Speaking of mediums and going back to buzzwords, how about that BuzzFeed? (I know you all read it!) If there’s one thing we can learn from BuzzFeed, it’s that top 10 lists and silly personality quizzes really work. Everybody seems to want to know what Muppet they would have been…

Here’s a whole new, but kinda old, top 10 list.

2014 buzzwords demystified, in no particular order.

  • Digital storytelling: What once made a good story still makes a good story. You’re just using more channels.
  • Content marketing: Well, of course – people want substance over BS.
  • Wearable tech marketing: The sexy fashion industry of wearable tech. (Remember the Walkman?) This is just way cooler, with exponentially improved capacity and much more digital.
  • Native advertising: The Mad Men playlists on Songza are the perfect example. For an older example, think of Michelin (the tire company) and their restaurant guide and its coveted stars.
  • Big data: Ugh…too much hype. Most of us do not have the resources to do anything with all of that data and most of us really don’t have big data. Don’t sweat this one.
  • Real-time marketing: Remember your first marketing gig as a 16-year-old brand ambassador? Take that interaction and apply it across technology platforms and channels.
  • Ambient/guerilla/experiential: Are you old enough to remember Expo 86? (Don’t worry – you don’t need to raise your hand.) The McDonald’s “McBarge”: a Happy Meal afloat! That was an experience to remember for a six-year-old (yes, that was me).
  • Location-based: Talk about being able to cater to the individual… There was a time when marketers were excited to use FSAs (Forward Sortation Areas, the first part of the postal code) for mailouts – today’s location-based services would blow their minds!
  • Gamification: Naturally, we love games…even pointless ones. Angry birds much?
  • PLAY: This is where you need to focus. Always remember to have fun! Do you remember the movie Big? (Again, you don’t need to raise your hand.) We all want to dance on the giant piano – and we should!

Understand the terms and lingo, but don’t get caught up in it. Get caught up in great work and PLAY!

IMG_8661A marketer, a strategist and a speaker. Meena Sandhu (@meenasandhu #marketingmuse) builds brand experiences. She is an innovator and a positive disruptor. She is a specialist in service sector, making the intangible tangible. Meena has thrived playing in the digital and experiential space. She is currently a Marketing Consultant and Director of VISION for the BCAMA, and the former Head of Regional Marketing and Retail for Western Canada for ING DIRECT. 

Get Ready to Play: 2014 VISION Conference from Velour Productions on Vimeo.