Everyone is predicting the future now – from glorious to doomsday scenarios. You may choose to believe the end is near, or you may choose to plan for 2013 and adjust your marketing in line with emerging trends and technologies.
After researching multiple blogs and articles, as well as speaking to other industry professionals, here is what we think will happen next year:
1 – The Rise of Inbound Marketing
Campaigns have been around for ages defining activities, tactics and the way they are produced. It’s a rigid set up and with rapidly changing technology this can leave campaigns ‘stuck’. The need to integrate real-time events and triggers in inbound marketing rather than pushy, outbound marketing will be advantageous in growing a business.
Previously not seen as a revenue generator, marketing will now be held more accountable. Their activities will be measured and also the ways in which traffic and lead generation affect sales growth. More inbound marketing techniques will be used to meet revenue goals.
Inbound marketing can produce 10x higher conversion rates than outbound marketing. Budgets will move towards inbound marketing as businesses continue to spend more in this area. Inbound marketing will no longer be a lone wolf operation and everyone involved in a business, every interaction with their customers, will be a promotion of a brand, a product or a service. Driven by customer control, everyone involved in a company will become a part of a whole.
“Set and forget” automation may be reaching its fail point if your customers/lists now regard your email/twitter feed as spam. Companies will look towards inbound marketing to generate interests, traffic, leads and conversions.
2 – Changes in Email Marketing
Email will benefit from the data gathered and email campaigns will be more relevant, more targeted. Refining and segmenting will increase effectiveness and result in higher lead-generation.
With the move towards more video content, such as events, video calls, hangouts, email as a communication tool will need to evaluate its place in marketing as the younger age groups continue to reduce their use of the platform. Increased use of email was only seen in the 55-64 and 65+ age groups. Facebook and Twitter remove the need for anything more than 140 characters length of a communication status update.
3 – Mobile Use Growth
With the mobile market set to increase further in 2013, companies will need to integrate mobile in their marketing strategies. In 2012, 1 in 5 companies developed and ran a mobile marketing strategy, while the remainder were dabbling on the sidelines with no real strategy in place.
As more and more people acquire smartphones, there will be an increase in mobile payments. Retailers will need to “think mobile” in the way customers can pay for goods and services.
With the increase in smartphone ownership, and the fact that mobile providers (and advertisers) know where we are, mean the increased ability to sell local businesses to a user. Who will embrace the technology other than the big names?
4 – SEO vs Content Marketing
In 2013, more important than just looking right or having the right keywords, will be relevancy. Is the content original, good enough to be shared with others, does it answer the consumers questions and does it solve their problems? Is it relevant to customer’s needs and position in the purchasing cycle?
Existing content can be re-purposed and offered on other channels, video, info-graphic or competition, to provide extra exposure for your articles.
5 – Social Marketing: Make it Fun to Join & Share
As companies use the power of social media to get closer to their customers, trust will grow. A business needs consistency across all departments when talking to its customers, whether it’s sales, accounting or after-care, to promote a caring human face to their business.
Marketing will employ gaming techniques to make content sticky, provide entertainment and reward. Through the introduction of gamification, marketing becomes enjoyable, fun to do, rather than something to avoid.
While content is still king, visual content (info-graphics, photos, videos, cartoon) allows faster absorption of information. Many design agencies are already offering info-graphics creation service, and this will continue to grow next year.
More curation services and content marketing sites will appear, enabling marketers to share and spread their content far and wide. With the increase in mobile users and moves toward even better content, the need for curation will grow using the likes of Scoopit, Themeefy and Storify to share blogs and articles.
6 – Keep Track of Data and Analytics
Key to this plethora of information from multiple platforms will be the need to monitor all parts. Locating you audience, analysing and measuring effects of campaigns will continue to be an increasing and necessary part of a successful marketing strategy. Data will show how effective a conversation is by the increase or decrease in web traffic, sales or leads. Think like your customers, who do they communicate with, where do they go, what do they need to know?
Integration of all the information that we know about customers, from web behaviour, to accounts, ordering, and demographics, will become easier. Businesses will need to invest in technology that compiles data and effectively analyses. Marketers will use the increased information available about prospects and clients to improve content by relevancy and personalisation. Which in turn will increase lead and conversion rates.
So, in summary, what’s in store for 2013? More technologies, more channels of communication, better programmes to integrate data to provide effective and comprehensive inbound marketing. All aimed at creating engaging content that’s sticky and fun to share for customers within their online networks and communities. The integrated multi-channel data will help companies analyse these communities and the most effective types of content and topics that need to be created for a maximum impact on traffic,leads and sales generation.
My name is Tamara Baranova. I run TJConsulting and I help small business owners grow their business by delivering effective online marketing mentoring, support and training.
It allows my clients to stop wasting valuable time and start seeing real results. Business owners I work with are serious about raising their business profile and attracting more opportunities. They want their business to succeed, to grow fast, and to generate healthy profits through online marketing strategy that works.