The world is not and has never been a predictable place and if you don’t believe in crystal balls I suggest you eliminate any kind of future predictions. Trying to make predictions about a dynamic and ever-changing field like that of digital marketing is an impossible mission.
What is likely though is that 2013 will be a difficult year for a large proportion of us. Even for those of us involved in marketing and communications, but not necessarily for the same reasons. It is more than likely we will be even busier than we were in previous years, particularly for online marketers and communicators.
As more businesses fight for survival and to be seen, the need for a website, mobile and or web app, Online Marketing… has grown substantially. As a result the competition has grown by approximately 7% month on month, meaning that more work is required for each client campaign which in turn drives up their marketing costs.
Mobile, social, gaming, dating, everything seems too converged into new and creative ways, while the major market players continue to enrich their offerings within the technological eco-systems and applications, those involved in marketing and communications have a great opportunity to improve the strength of their messages and information with the ultimate goal of cultivating lasting relationships with customers based on trust, conversation and listening skills.
In support there are many technologies and resources for digital marketing, all of which are expected to increase company budgeting in the order of 50-150%, which is pretty shocking. When reading into these statistics we have to take into consideration those businesses which have only just joined the online marketing arena, adding to the competition and watering down visibility, nothing new! If we stay imaginative, cost doesn’t have to escalate just to maintain and increase upon our sales. Among the phenomena that emerged in 2012 and something that could potentially define the landscape of digital marketing for this year is the following:
The convergence of new media that has characterised 2012 will continue for the entirety of 2013 producing new solutions that will require new competencies and skills, new processes and business models and new partnerships. The panorama of newer digital marketing tools (and perhaps traditional ones too) is destined to change.
Advertising is to become native this year, the year in which those who have so far resisted the advertising inserted in their content must capitulate. This new form of advertising online is called Native Advertising and has established itself strongly in recent months as a new media integrated into the design of the page and to take advantage of a platform in the way it is used by the users. Advertising may be annoying for many of us but it is spreading in many ways such as editorials, stories and articles sponsored tweets, etc. in order to brand.
This type of advertising is likely to be less profitable but emerging tools can facilitate the implementation of native advertising to take advantage of all the opportunities offered by a web page and its contents. It will be interesting to see how this will affect the big players in the advertising industry and with such partnerships, including technology, they will!
The search for new skills and new revenue streams / business models:
The convergence of media and the need to define new flows advertising and business models leads us in search for new knowledge and new skills to integrate the these new flows of various marketing disciplines, from public relations, sales of online advertising and so on. There will be an increased need for skilled optimisation specialists and analysis of digital marketing activities with a view to increasing integration of various channels (email, web, social, analytics, etc.).
Marketing in real time and listening platforms:
Marketing in real time, already practiced and utilised has proved its worth and not only in social channels, marketing has an impact through both traditional marketing activities and non-conventional like those online. This type of marketing approach obliges to adopt sophisticated tools for collecting feedback and listening to the conversations of the customer(s). Platforms that can serve to monitor the relationship 24-7 require appropriate tools and a lot of training in order to equip an organisations staff with the desired skills and attributes appropriate.
The content for activities and strategies:
Many companies are realising how important it is to produce new content to support the various marketing campaigns and initiatives. This year will see the birth of many companies divisions or departments dedicated to be structured within the hiring of professionals able to create new content through the company's brand and product channels and to interact effectively with other marketing departments.
The visual information:
Already in 2012 the preference of marketing managers and users within visual communications had grown steadily, its success came in the forms of Pinterest, Instagram, Turnblr Infographics - as just a demonstration of how much has already changed in communications and how attractive and important visual components have become.
The convergence of online and offline channels:
The proliferation of new technologies for display as digital signage and television screens facilitate a convergence between online and offline channels and optimisation of marketing communications.
The importance of Big Data:
Big Data refers to the data that companies collect about their customers in order to better understand their needs, behaviours and being ready to meet their needs in terms of information (sms, email, tweets, social media) support, and commercial. Big data which is for the time being connected to the medium-large companies will spread in SMEs (Small Data).
Unified Marketing Platform:
UMP is emerging and will affirm new integrated platforms and unified marketing activities built around a client-centred approach to build its loyalty.
Content marketing will continue to be a key element in the success of active marketing, giving more importance to the social component and use of social media. Content helps our campaigns and initiatives to personalise and facilitate the new generation of opportunities and business activities. Thanks to content marketing it will be easier to engage potential customers in new conversations and cultivate relationships that already exist. The content marketing is more powerful a marketing tool than most seem to realise, because it supports SEO, Pay-per-click, optimising landing pages and penultimately 'conversion rate', and social media activities.
Mobile friendly experience:
Increase investment in solutions and interfaces that offer new and increased user experiences to consumers both in personal use such as tablet devices and corporate and Occupational use.
The conversation becomes even more social:
The impact of new devices is intended to cover all existing channels of communication and to promote the growth of new conversations and increased social networking and resourcing, not only through social networks.
The transformation of marketing departments:
The arrival of the tablet will change in company organisation and the role of marketing departments in the company; they force you to define new strategies for marketing mix and seek new skills.
Near Field Communication:
By 2016, according to Juniper Research, 50% of mobile devices in circulation will be equipped with NFC technology. With this capability devices will become powerful tools for communication context and custom made, also useful to facilitate sharing of experiences decision-making processes of a purchase. NFC marketing support works in context of selected target markets.
Games have become a powerful tool for marketing departments they can use to build interactive environments, are able to provide customers with memorable experiences, immerse the brand, and advertise. According to Gartner, 70% of Global 2000 organisations will have an application of this type by 2014 (Examples are: My Coke Rewards, Domino's Pizza Hero , Ben & Jerry's Capture Euphoria ).
Using the second screen:
Today, 80% of people with a tablet device or Smartphone use it while watching TV, confirming the emergence of new behaviours on which marketers can enable new initiatives to engage consumers and users in new experiences.
Will spread the hardware devices and technological applications, 'wearable' as accessories to measure many of our daily activities and provide us with the information we need to perform them better. To date available devices are mainly related to activities of physical and well-being of a person, in future devices such as Google Goggles will offer new interactive experiences with technology.
The diffusion and the use of augmented realities are closely linked to the ability to offer the consumer new sensory experiences that provide information and the motivation necessary to complete a task, make a purchase or complete a decision-making process in a pleasant and stimulating way.
All the statistics show the emergence of mobile marketing and an increasing use of mobile devices by users for new product experiences online.
Virtual communities, niche communities and social networks will become viable alternatives to email marketing and broadcasting. Many niche communities will grow out of social networks and the flank sites will become the portals of many companies brands just like they currently are for American Express OpenForum , ASOS Marketplace community , Barclays on Mumsnet (outreach) , Eloqua Topliners and McDonalds, Your Questions.
Automation business marketing:
New technologies offer new tools and applications (MailChimp, Salesforce…., and Office Autopilot) to automate tasks and the processes of marketing.
Like it or not the Google search will be even more personalised and will add to the information it already stores on each individual. They have already a profile of virtually every searcher, and from this can accurately target market products (as already seen in Banner Retargeting for Display Advertising) like never before.
So to conclude, this year is full of new and exciting online tools, products, services and the unknown, meaning hardware and devices yet to be released and discovered, all to enhance and enrich our visibility, branding and most importantly our return on our investment.
It won’t be until we try and test these available options that we fully understand how they will or will not increase our presence and or our sales. My advice would be to discuss your options with those in the know such as ourselves (KD Web), as not only will it save valuable time and money but set you off in the direction from the get go.
Nic Cohen is the Head of Online Marketing at KD Web who are London’s Longest Established Digital Agency and one of the Leading SEO Companies throughout London, the UK and overseas.