“It is the people who figure out how to work simply in the present, rather than the people who mastered the complexities of the past, who get to say what happens in the future.” – Clay Shikry
We're still a couple of years away from the 2015 of Marty McFly's trip in the DeLorean, but some of us are stuck in the 1980s or worse, 1950s with our marketing ideas. It's time for us to make our leap into the future of marketing. 2012 has taught us a great deal and 2013 looks like it will be a year marked by a quickly changing marketing landscape. We've pulled 7 of our predictions for 2013 and given you tangible advice to send your marketing into the future.
1. Mobile will surpass desktop.
Ericsson estimates there will be over 50 billion connected devices in circulation by 2020. It is also expected that 2013 will be the first year mobile online access will surpass desktop and laptop online access. (source) Smart phones and tablets are not just a trend, they are the new reality. Our marketing efforts need to acknowledge this reality with mobile friendly email campaigns and mobile versions of our websites and landing pages. We should look for ways we can advertise on mobile and even have apps developed for our businesses. Even traditional marketing efforts should be sprinkled with mobile touches such as QR codes.
2. Visualization will reign supreme.
We watched the rise of Pinterest and Instagram in 2012. Facebook's purchase of Instagram further solidifies the importance of images and visualization to consumers. In 2013, find ways to make your content stand out by adding graphical interest. Turn quotes into images, take photos at tradeshows and events, and create infographics and videos. Adding visual aids will add impact and share-worthiness to your emails, social posts and other marketing efforts.
3. Personalization will become even more important.
"Personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14%, and conversion rates by 10%." (source) Email marketing is just one marketing space where personalization will be key to success. Throughout our marketing campaigns we need to look for opportunities to segment and personalize for maximum effect. Personalization goes beyond including your recipient's first name. Add personal touches with purchase history, demographics and past interactions. For example, you know someone just purchased an iPhone 4 case. You could send an email suggesting complimentary products. Consider investing in tools and platforms to allow you to make the most of what your data can tell you. Consumers are loyal to brands who take the time to know them.
4. Local marketing will be the new, old thing.
"A new survey from marketing technology firm Balihoo Inc. reveals over 91% of national brands plan to increase local marketing efforts in 2013, with digital leading the way." (source) If the big guys are going to focus on local, those of us who are players in our localities better beat them to the punch. Check your website SEO to make sure it is optimized for local markets, take a look at local PPC campaigns and break down email marketing into localities and speak to their location. Gain recognition in the social world with sites and services such as FourSquare, Yelp, Facebook check-ins and hash tags. You have always been local—2013 is the time to prove it.
5. Flexibility to 'pull' will be necessary.
"For 2013, reserve a portion of funds to proactively address 'pull' opportunities as they arise. Without this financial cushion, you could miss an entrepreneurial moment because you’re over-committed to preplanned 'push' marketing." (source) In pull marketing, a consumer requests a product or service 'pulls' it through the delivery channel. As you are planning your marketing budget, leave a few flex dollars in the mix. Over the course of the year, exciting and new opportunities will likely arise for business growth. Being flexible with some of your marketing funds will make it easier to make the most of these.
6. Consumers will expect integration.
As we gain better pictures of our consumers, we must also find ways to integrate their experience with our brand. Steven Kramer, President of North America at hybris, says, "Consumers are shopping on a variety of channels and devices, often simultaneously, with new technology introduced virtually every day." (source) Marketing efforts should be consistent and complimentary on both mobile devices and desktops, online and offline. Rather than seeing our data in silos (i.e. website, social, email, direct mail), we should look for ways to integrate our data and get a big picture of marketing efforts. As you create your marketing campaigns, be sure a clear and concise theme ties all of your channels and departments together. From social media to your website to direct mail the theme should remain clear.
7. Authenticity will breed or break trust more than ever before.
Our social world has led to much more transparency from brands, even if it is forced by the consumers. 2013 is the year we all must develop authentic voices for our brands that speak accurately through all of our channels. Socially savvy consumers will watch us closely and will call us out when our claims don't match reality. Decide on a tone of voice for your brand and stay consistent. Be honest in all communications and, perhaps most importantly, during crisis or complaint management.
We may still have a couple of years to develop hoverboards, but 2013 won't be forgiving to businesses who ignore the future. Take our advice and adapt your marketing plans to give your business its best shot at tremendous success in 2013 and beyond.
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