End of Year Marketing Trends Dance in Our Heads2013_Marketing_Trends

I don’t know about you, but for me this is the time of year when I start reviewing what I have been able to accomplish this year and I am contemplating next year. Each year, starting late November and early December, articles and posts emerge, foretelling trends for 2013.

I like to read and think about these. This year, I decided to add a few of my own observations with a slightly different twist–a warning.

How the Mighty Fall–Examining Business Health

I am currently listening to Jim Collin’s book How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In. Jim has written several best sellers focusing on how businesses succeed. In this work he is examining why businesses fail.

Especially during this time of looking ahead, wondering, planning, looking for the next popular trend, it’s important to remember the why of what you do. Don’t discount the importance of understanding your core business.

Be curious about the factors that have contributed to your success.

Jim outlines 5 stages of decline. If you haven’t read the book, I suggest you take the time to read it and then take a hard look at your company or department.

It’s a real temptation to be distracted by the latest trends; it’s equally tempting to stay the same course until rendered obsolete by a rapidly changing world.

Review of a few other 2013 Trends

Ryan Holmes, the CEO of Hootsuite, wrote this article on social media trends for Forbes.   In his article, Holmes identifies six trends. Several of the themes may seem rather obvious; however, that doesn’t mean they should be discounted. In fact, I would argue the opposite.

Here are three out of the six (I encourage you to read his article to find out about the other three):

  • Mobile social media will continue to grow. Keep in mind mobile is more than smartphones, it includes tablets and other devices like Nike’s GPS enabled Fuel Band.
  • Social media will move beyond the marketing department. He quotes a recent McKinsey article that revealed how social media could unlock staggering value within organizations by enabling productivity gains and encouraging collaboration.
  • Big Data will become more manageable. This past year I have seen a lot of conversation and debate on this topic. I do concur that this will be an important trend to watch in 2013.

Uri Bar-Joseph offered 10 B2B trends for a recent Marketing Profs post. He too suggested that Big Data applications would emerge. Several of his trends suggested companies would increase spending for technology related specifically to marketing automation in addition to big data.

Interestingly he feels that direct mail will stage a comeback. I can see where that could be the case in this sector, especially if it is targeted and part of an integrated marketing strategy.

My 2013 Trend Predictions

Companies (especially small businesses) that harness the power of SoMoLo (Social, Mobile and Local) will discover new opportunities that lead to more profitable customer relationships.

Integrated marketing will increasingly add value, especially those with data driven strategies. Empowered consumers often move effortlessly between channels interacting multiple times per transaction. Brands that want to take full advantage of this behavior will have to be able to stay connected with consumers throughout the path to purchase.

Path to purchase will become a familiar term as brands try to figure out ways to offer a differentiating customer experience. In an environment where information and sharing are 24/7 coordinating touch points is more important than ever.

Companies that create internal alignment by removing internal barriers and engaging their colleagues will have a competitive advantage in a rapidly changing business landscape.

Effective marketing will require brands to respond and adapt to the growing demands and expectations of a new breed of social shopper.

Creating utility for customers will lead to more engaged loyal customers. Mitch Joel recently wrote a very thought provoking post on this topic. Most consumers are looking for you to make their lives less complicated, more efficient. Companies that make life easier and more efficient will win a loyal following.

Inbound marketing practices will be increasingly important requiring new skill sets and collaboration. Monitoring and responding to comments in the social sphere is one example.

What are some other trends?