Well, 2014 is drawing to a close. It was a big year, full of interesting developments. From the Ice Bucket Challenge to the #motelBK, it’s safe to say that it surprised us. But now the time has come for one of those year end lists, an ambitious survey of the current contours of the industry and a prediction about what lies ahead in 2015.

The end of 2014 was very fruitful for this endeavor, because it happened to contain quite a few last-minute product and feature announcements that give us a taste of what we can anticipate in 2015. In this article, we’re going to put forward our best marketing predictions for the coming year, from the development and enhancement of online wallets to the maturation and expansion of the data privacy movement.

Data privacy

The explosive launch-outta-nowhere of Ello, Facebook’s supposedly anonymous rival, took everyone by surprise. But in retrospect, the most surprising thing about it is that it hasn’t been tried before. From the scandal that resulted from revelations that Facebook experimented on its users’ emotions and feelings to the general discomfort of the idea of Facebook’s increasing monetization of its users, it should have been obvious that a potential rival would see a market opportunity. What remains to be seen is how this “dark Facebook” will manage to earn money from its users (one expects that t-shirt sales won’t do it on their own).

Data privacy in 2015

Likewise, the American (and international) public continues to be inscensed over government surveillance programs and the seeming impunity with which supposedly private data is accessed without permission. Apple’s infamous and embarrassingly public iCloud hacking scandals only added to this sense that people’s personal data was out of their control. Another key piece of evidence is the continued growth of Snapchat (and other services like it).

These developments, when taken together, make us confident that privacy and transparency will continue to be a trend in 2015. Brands will be expected to explain themselves in terms of these criteria, and more and more products will be launched emphasizing their protection of users’ data privacy or their own process transparency.

Mobile wallets

This one’s a no brainer. Though Google Wallet has existed for some time, trust Apple to launch a mobile wallet system that people actually want to use. Apple Pay’s launch didn’t surprise many people, but its sophistication and easy adoption did: it now seems inevitable that paying with your mobile phone will become more and more prevalent as time goes on.

In 2015, more and more retailers will begin boasting their compatibility with Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and any other third-party systems that emerge. Of which there are bound to be a few. PayPal, watch out: Apple is coming for you.

Augmented reality in marketing

Our third and final prediction is an increased prevalence of the use of augmented reality in marketing and communications. This goes way beyond chunky QR codes awkwardly stuck onto the corners of posters, we’re talking fully animated, three dimensional promotional material popping up in the most unexpected places.

It’s definitely flashy, fun, sharable, and—quite importantly—not that difficult to implement! A number of startups and companies have started offering augmented reality services in innovative and novel applications. As the technology matures and gets cheaper, and consumers become more familiar with it, we expect to see implementation of augmented reality on a much wider scale in 2015. From your phone to your wearable technology to your car, expect to see all kinds of enriched marketing appearing in a reality near you.

Marketing in the new year

As our devices become ever more enmeshed together and with reality, their integration with the real world, as well as how they handle the data they collect, will stand at the forefront of consumer consciousness. Consumers will continue to fight and advocate for the things they believe to be most important, and marketers will continue to seek out new ways to appeal to them. In 2015, the maturation of data privacy, mobile payments, and augmented reality will ripple through the marketing industry, causing myriad changes. Get ready for the future!

Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Chicago. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas.

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