Earlier this week I presented a webinar, “Digital Experience Trends for 2013”. I have a hard time separating the concepts of ‘online marketing’ and ‘digital experience’, because to me they are one in the same. Just like customer experience is your brand, the experience your visitors have online is your marketing. You are either giving them a phenomenal experience, or you aren’t. If you do, people will come, they will stay, they will engage, they will convert, they will form enduring relationships with your company. Hence, trend #1….


The Zero Moment of Truth is when your online visitor chooses to love you or hate you. It happens in a split second and it can make or break your chances of success. To win at the zero moment of truth make sure your digital experiences get a thumbs up in these areas:

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Relevant
    • Message
    • Image
    • Content & offer
    • Context
  • Valuable
  • Meaningful
  • Local
  • Personal
  • The X factor

Action item #1: Download and read the Zero Moment of Truth Handbook.

 2. Agile Marketing

Don’t wait for your CMO to crash through your office door and tell you you’re going to adopt agile marketing (because that moment is going to happen). Go agile now. Agile marketing is absolutely the only way to manage marketing in a constantly shifting, highly connected digital world.

How does agile marketing relate to your digital experiences? Very much so. Today, our approach to building digital experiences should be disposable, low resource, tested and iterative. Only agile marketing will enable that sort of rapid, ongoing, evolutionary discipline.

Action item #2: Get yourself over to AgileMarketing.net and download the guide to agile marketing.

Action item #3: Subscribe to ChiefMartec.com (a blog by our very own Scott Brinker)

3.  Content is king (no duh)

We’ve been saying it since the birth of the internet, but it’s more true today. It’s all about content. To win in 2013 your content strategy should move from passive to active.

Action item #4: Check out more thoughts on active versus passive content marketing.

4. Be mobile

Not later today. Not tomorrow. Right now. According to Gartner, in 2013 mobile phones will overake PCs as the most common web access device worldwide.

Let that sink in. Mobile isn’t happening at some point. It’s already here.

Action item #5: Go mobile. Now.

5. Responsive design

Responsive design means pages are designed for optimal viewing across all devices. And it’s hot right now. But it’s a mixed bag—some UX experts swear by it, others still think that the better approach is to specifically design for each unique device. Responsive design isn’t a magic bullet and it can be complex to implement for dynamic content management systems. At a minimum it requires good judgement and care in crafting how the pages & content will appear across each screen size. My advice is to read up and decide for yourself.

Action item #6: I suggest reading this great overview, “The trouble with using responsive design” on Forbes.

6. Gamification

I am embarrssed to include it on the list, because it can sound like trivializing something that is super important—implementing engaging, useful, valuable ways to keep your audience connected with your brand. My advice is to at least understand gamification because there are varying degrees by which is may apply to your business.

Action item #7: Check out “15 brand examples of gamification” on iMedia (and read the comments too—good perspective there)

Action item #8: Then check out “Brands that failed with gamification”, also on iMedia.

7. Social marketing responsibility

Brands need to wake up and realize they can’t hand off responsibility for their social experience to third-party sites. Listening to a radio spot the other day for a major household brand I was shocked (shocked, I tell ya), that the call to action on their ad was to visit them at facebook.com/brandname.

Wha? They are paying to drive their audience to another site. A site they don’t control. A site that could change the rules about that /brandname page on a whim. It’s like advertising for someone else.

Of course there is tremendous value in building our social audience & engagement, but we have to be more thoughtful about how we do it.

Action item #9: Plan a responsible social strategy that drives to your own hub and then back out to your social channels.

8. Personalization

It’s a highly personal world, and people expect to be VIPs (hence, the availability now of M&M candy with your name & photo on each piece!). Digital experiences can, and should be, personal. Depending upon context & appropriateness, there are varying degrees by which you can transform a generic digital experience into a more personal one. Key off of:

  • Name
  • Progressive forms
  • Region/Location
  • Browser language
  • Search query
  • Previous behaviors
  • Time of day
  • Time of year
  • Browser type (smart phone, tablet, etc)
  • PURLs

Action item #10: Get personal on your pages.

9. Data, data, data.

Oh my. With all the emphasis on big data, you might be surprised to hear I still talk to marketers who don’t know their little data all that well. Keep tabs on the online metrics that matter to your business, understand how they relate to your overall business performance.

Action item #11: Define a set of useful metrics and measure & analyze them relentlessly.

Here’s to a fantastic 2013 for everyone! What trends are you focused on for the coming year?