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Three Technology Trends Shaping Marketing in 2013

Marketing

With the new year still in its infancy, it’s a good time to look ahead at the technology trends that will shape marketing in 2013.  There are so many different topics to cover, but here are three trends that I believe will change how marketing executives think and work in 2013.

1.  Geeks make peace with advertising.

Tension between UX (user experience) designers and advertisers will dissolve in 2013.  Investors and advertisers will incentivize the shift, putting money into collaborative teams.

It’s no secret that Web developers loathe marketers. This grudge match keeps the Internet positioned as the used car salesman of the media world.  But the rise of mobile devices, with content delivered on a tiny screen, intensifies the need for a more incisive understanding of users.

Much of the creative and marketing talent lives inside development teams, not marketing departments.  Every year, I attend SXSW Interactive and am stunned by the quality of consumer insights from people like game developers.  Spend a little time with them, and you’ll realize they know a lot about finding audiences and keeping them loyal.  These conversations are not being had in marketing circles to the same degree, and that disconnect explains the plethora of bad ads on the Web.  Something’s got to give.

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• Mobile app and advertising revenue has grown at an annual rate of 129% since 2008. It now tops $19 billion (Mary Meeker, State of the Internet 2012).

• Of the consumers who pay attention to web ads, only 20% trust the content (Forrester, 2008).

“I can’t say this strongly enough: if you’re a UX person, and you’re going in to talk to your clients with a snotty, condescending attitude about advertising, then you’re not doing your job. If you hate ads, then figure out a way to make the experience of ads better.”—Karen McGrane, author of Content Strategy for Mobile and Managing Partner at Bond Art + Science.

2.  Responsive Web content ignites.

In 2013, responsive web design technology will adapt content—to appear there, there, and there.

Designing the same content for multiple devices is not sustainable.  There are simply too many platforms and too much content.  Customization per device seriously bogs down content marketers.

The proliferation of devices has made content marketing too clumsy:

• The average knowledge worker spends 80% of her day searching for documents and content she needs to do her job.  When she can’t find it, she creates it from scratch (Ann Rockley, The Rockley Group, 2012).

• Among 15,000 publishers studied, content is consumed primarily on mobile devices, not PCs, during the leisure hours of 7-10 p.m. (Kontera, 2012).

“There’s a (relatively) new way to build sites so they automatically re-arrange themselves depending on the size of the screen. So now you can have one site that looks great on phones and full screens, rather than having two separate websites.  It’s one site to update and one site for Google to index.  By the end of 2013, everyone will be asking for this.”—Andy Crestodina, author, and co-founder of Orbit Media.

3.  Millennial overkill.

Savvy marketers will stop wondering about Millennials and start winning with them.

For over a decade, the marketing world has tracked and translated the minutia of Millennial cyber habits.  We’ve come to believe that the way to understand social media is to study the Millennial in the wild. But as Millenials enter adult life, they are no longer in a constant state of texting or celebration.  They are finding work, settling down, and seeking a place for themselves in society.

Today, most insights about Millennials are too broad to be actionable.  Sophisticated brands are experimenting—learning by doing.  Hard won knowledge gets shared across collaborative teams for the next campaign or launch.

“Millennials are still different.  But different in so many different ways, it is starting to defy generalization.  The discussion is no longer whether we should target Millennials, but how we will win with Millennials.  Winning requires more than      generalizations.”—Carol Phillips, President, Brand Amplitude and Instructor of Marketing, University of Notre Dame.

A more complete forecast on cultural trends, along with tips about how to market accordingly, is available here at “13 Things Breaking Through in 2013.”

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