Monday, December 17, 2012

Trends for Internet and Social Media Marketing in 2013

Tis the season for marketing predictions for 2013—my Twitter stream is full of them this morning. There are a lot of retrospectives also and we can learn from them, but I’m sticking to looking ahead.

One recent post suggests that 2013 will be a year for consolidation and implementation. There’s a lot of truth to that but who knows when and where the next great technology development will occur? I’m not willing to say that it won’t be in 2013. And there will be lots of useful, if not revolutionary, developments like the Thinglink platform that I wrote about last week for marketers to incorporate into their actions.

With that in mind, I’ll use eMarketer’s 5 key trends as the basis for my take on 2013 trends. They are all issues that are familiar to marketers—and ones to which most marketers can substantially refine their approaches. The entire eMarketer presentation is embedded at the bottom of this post, and it’s well worth reviewing.

Trend #1—Fragmentation everywhere
Fragmentation affects all aspects of marketing, witness the recent interest in microsegmentation. Channel fragmentation is probably the marketer’s key issue and that’s one place where new developments could occur. We will all continue to struggle to integrate all our channels in a meaningful fashion. In the process we may learn more about targeting specific segments through specific channels. I just pinned an infographic that looks at consumer relationship to channels and brands in 2013 that has some good insights.

Trend #2—Mobile first is the mother lode
After the bazillions of words written about mobile in 2012, what is left to say except that the trend continues and even accelerates? A growing amount of website traffic is generated by mobile devices. The same is true of ecommerce sales. Did I really see a TV crawler headline that someone bought a $48k bulldozer from his (almost certainly?) smartphone recently? Apparently that’s not the only high ticket item bought from a smartphone this holiday season—and paid for with PayPal!

Trend #3—Consumer behavior becomes circuitous
That’s another way of saying that purchase behavior is non-linear and may follow a variety of different paths at different times for the same individual. Maybe the bulldozer purchaser hired a driver through an ad in a local newspaper—digital or print edition, maybe both. This McKinsey article on the consumer purchase path is not new, but good concepts don’t get outmoded rapidly.

Trend #4—Content marketing is dominant
That’s not news to readers of this blog. There are interesting takes on it though. eMarketer’s own strategy for these trends is worth noting. They published an article on each trend beginning in late November, leading up to the webinar in December. Good repurposing—and promotion! Content marketing goes by different handles—Brent Turner calls it “native advertising” in an MIT blog post. They’ll be offering other posts on trends through the end of January. Think about it. Most of us are doing our posts as end-of-year celebrations. They are continuing into 2013 with thoughtful posts from guest bloggers—good content marketing!

Trend #5—Big Data is still the big thing
This is hardly news either. We all know that data for tactical uses such as personalization and data mining for strategy development are crucial. The torrent of data will only speed up in 2013, leaving marketers continuing to struggle to keep up with it. One of the most interesting insights comes from the recent LeWeb conference in Paris. It’s theme was the Internet of Things. Again, not a new concept but one that is exploding all around us. I found the example of the diabetes mobile app and online communities especially compelling. Social media for good is always a pleasant topic. 

eMarketer calls it Marketing Reimagined and it suggests that marketers in 2013--as always--have their jobs cut out for them. May all the developments be positive ones!

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