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Expert Marketing Predictions: Is 2014 the Year of Personalization?

For marketers planning their 2014 priorities, it's a good rule of thumb to listen to the industry's most powerful billionaire on the front lines.
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Big data was the big thing in 2013. According to execs in marketing, technology and research, 2014 will be all about personalization. Here are five of the most talked about marketing predictions from across the web.

Machine Learning Will Disrupt Every Business

For marketers planning their 2014 priorities, it's a good rule of thumb to listen to the industry's most powerful billionaire on the front lines.

"The biggest disruptor that we're sure about is the arrival of big data and machine intelligence everywhere. The ability to find people, to talk specifically to them, to judge them, to rank what they're doing, to decide what to do with your products... (it) changes every business globally." -- Eric Schmidt, Chairman, Google

Big Data Will Become Smart Data

The marketing insights report used to be the crown jewel of data. But according to a leading researcher, those guiding nuggets for the masses are no longer enough.

"Marketers will start contextualizing their data, drawing even richer insights, and using those insights to create not just more relevant, but personalized campaigns and experiences. In short, 2014 will be the year that marketers begin to turn big data into smart data." -- Melissa Parrish, Principal Analyst, Forrester

Recommendation Engines Aren't Just For Giants

Amazon, Netflix, and Apple are the kings of recommendation engines. Those personalized messages -- "If you liked this book/movie/song then you might like these" -- drive huge revenue. For marketers and agencies without a staff of data scientists, predictive analytics providers are leveling the playing field.

"True personalization of customer experience will stop being reserved for a select few and will need to become an operational principle for any marketer who wants to remain relevant in an increasingly fragmented and regulated environment." - Tamara Gruzbarg, Senior Director of Analytics and Research, Gilt Groupe

Permission Marketing Goes Beyond Loyalty Programs

Loyalty marketers are experts at successfully collecting some of our most private data, from drug store purchases and hotel stays to travel destinations and food preferences. In 2014 those skills will extend to marketing vehicles beyond the points card.

"Expect marketers to explore new, creative ways of reaching consumers who prioritize privacy." -- David Berkowitz, CMO, MRY

Authentication Will Take A Bite Out Of The Cookie

Tracking our online behavior was easy when we all sat at one computer. But the much-maligned cookie -- that little text file that follows us from site to site -- loses its power when we switch devices (laptop, tablet, mobile) and use apps.

For anybody serving ads, relevance will increasingly require some kind of authorization (the "auth-in") by each person, which brings us right back to permission marketing and machine learning.

"The ad tech community would have to move beyond the cookie to evolve in the multi-device, web vs. app, iOS vs. Android world." -- Adam Berke, President, AdRoll

These predictions are good news for consumers of all types, from the fiercely private to those expecting personalization. Look to savvy marketers and ad tech providers to cater to both sides in 2014.

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