Op-Ed: So, What Does MRY Think About 2014?

By Kiran Aditham 

As part of our ongoing trend/observation series from agency folks, we bit and below is what various folks at MRY,  the digital/social agency formerly known as Mr. Youth that of course aligned with LBi early this year, have to say what they expect from the industry in 2014. They’ve weighed in on everything from overall social media strategy and brand storytelling, to big data and even Pinterest’s evolving commerce structure. At this point, it’s all speculation, but they make some interesting projections for the New Year. We’re getting the distinct impression that the ongoing debate between advertisers and privacy advocates is poised to rear its ugly head again. Anyone else?



Matt Britton, CEO: Honing Brand Social Media Strategy


“We try to challenge our clients to have a presence everywhere, but there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to social media strategy. In 2014, it will be crucial for brands to focus on where their audiences are spending the most time and to innovate within that space. As mobile use continues to flourish, it will be important to target growing platforms—such as Vine—that are more conducive to fast-paced, mobile engagement.”


David Berkowitz, CMO: Reaching Consumers Who Prioritize Privacy


“So much content shared today is private – so it often disappears and the users can’t be targeted – which means it can’t be monitored. While the amount of content shared publicly will continue to escalate, this ‘invisible’ social content will proliferate faster, leading marketers to explore new, creative ways of reaching consumers who prioritize privacy. Marketers are going to have to come to terms with disappearing, dark social media.”


Jeff Melton, Chief Distribution Officer: The Rise of Decision Films


“A Decision Film is a piece of content that tells a product’s story to influence the purchase decision at the point of sale. We are seeing the beginning of technology enabled retail experiences come to market. iBeacons, Nomi, CloudTags, and digital wallets are just a few signals that the physical retail world is going to surprise us in 2014. Apple recently (and quietly) enabled iBeacons at their own retail locations, which should show us where the retail industry is headed. With so much information likely to engage consumers at the point of sale, beautiful product stories may be a brand’s best opportunity to convince the consumer that the brand is for them.”


Matt Rednor, Chief Innovation Officer: Customer Centricity


“2014 will be the year of the consumer. We will be moving away from integrated brand marketing across channels, and toward creating connected ideas designed around consumer needs. There will be an increased focus on understanding consumers and telling relatable stories.”


Andrew Udin, General Counsel and Head of Business Affairs: Advertisers vs. Privacy Advocates


“In 2014, we may see an increase in conflicts between advertisers and privacy advocates with the introduction of a federal ‘Do Not Track’ bill and the enactment of California’s Do Not Track law, which takes effect on January 1, 2014.  Under these acts, website owners, online service providers, and operators of software or mobile apps are required to conspicuously post their privacy policy disclosing to consumers how they track users and the categories of personally identifiable information being collected by them, as well as third-parties with whom the operator shares this information. Advertisers may have to revamp their privacy policies and determine new ways to best describe their data collection practices.”


Evan Kraut, Executive Director of Brand Development: Sensors in Brick & Mortar Retailers


“2014 will see a rise in the use of sensors that can identify and track shoppers during retail shopping experiences. While several technologies and devices already exist, this coming year will see a mass adoption, with the resulting data becoming immensely valuable to stakeholders.”


Udara Withana, Senior Strategist, MRY Asia: Social Media on the Rise in APAC Countries


“The stagnation of the booming Asian economies coupled with the rise of social media means that brands (both global and local) are recognizing social media as a cost effective way to engage their target audiences. Consumers should expect to be bombarded with various social campaigns in 2014. The real challenge for brands will be to stand out from the crowd whilst staying true to their brand identity amidst this mega shift to a social-centric marketing model.”


Christine Peterson, US Group Director of Media: Making Big Data Buying Technologies Small


“This is going to be the year of consolidation around big data buying technologies. Agencies need to pick a horse (not build a new one) and get on board. Advertisers are fed up with the cloud of confusion surrounding data driven ad buying in the digital space and will either lead efforts in-house or with a strong agency partner who can clarify how it will move their business forward. The network testing days finally come to an end!”


Jeanne Jennings, Director of Media: Pinterest Bridging the Gap Between Social and Commerce


“One thing to watch out for is Pinterest’s e-commerce strategy. They are taking the right steps in making the transition from just social media to commerce. Pinterest has started sending emails automatically to pinners to let them know that an item they have pinned is either on sale or that there’s a special offer on it. I have not seen wide adoption yet, but I do think it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing more brands/retailers activating via Pinterest price alerts on the products that users have pinned.”