As we head further into 2013, we thought it would be fun to share some major marketing trends that we are seeing from our unique vantage point as an integrated firm. All of these trends stem from changes in consumer behavior and technology’s influence on the purchase path.
1. Real-Time Marketing – In today’s “instant gratification” society, everyone wants information, service and feedback right away. Marketers that focus on engaging their consumers instantly by way of their website, live chat, social media and triggered email will have the advantage. Engaging consumers when they are ready not when it is convenient is the key. Developing the tools and processes necessary to implement a true real-time customer relationship management strategy requires a shift from the traditional timeline marketing approach.
2. Mobile Surge – Mobile ad spending rose 220% in 2012! While the rise in mobile popularity has been underway for a while, the demands of modern life and constant connectivity are driving more and more marketers into the mobile space. For example, smartphone sales recently eclipsed PC sales. Your brand website and your ads should be optimized for mobile. When going mobile, think “simple”, “touch”, “local”, “social” and “video”.
3. Social SEO – The overlap between search, social and content are increasing at a rapid rate. Search engines are now much more in-tune with your social graph and the correlations of social sharing, linking and behavior than ever before. Social and search can no longer be approached in silos but must work together to optimize results.
4. SEO Complexity – Google continues to make things tough on all of us by making search engine optimization even more complex. In fact, just last year, Google tested 15,000 changes to its algorithm and rolled out 500 actual changes. It is becoming more and more difficult to stay on top of the changes that actually impact rankings. Marketers will need more and better data to overcome these obstacles to successfully grow their online presence.
5. ShowRooming – Mobile technology is having a major impact on the way people shop and buy products. “Showrooming” is a term describing when a consumer is actually in a store and then uses his/her Smartphone to compare prices or check reviews. This behavior undermines the traditional in-store marketing experience and suggests that retailers need to align their search, content and social media strategies closely to their retail strategy.
6. Multiscreening – The way people consume media continues to evolve. Multiscreening or using a connected device while watching TV is now very common. And, it’s not limited to one device. Kids today have their laptop open while their mobile phone is blazing with text messages and tweets and still figure out a way to watch TV. TV advertising campaigns need to closely align with search and online content. Coming up with unique and fun ways to engage consumers with games, apps and widgets within campaigns will be a growing trend for marketers this year.
7. Consumer Reviews As A “Marketing” Tool – Consumers are paying closer attention to peer reviews. Recent research notes that 77% of consumers are paying more attention to peer reviews than to professional reviews (22%). Since peer reviews are now a key component of the shopping process, brands need to optimize them and use them as a marketing tool. As an example, we here at The Brandon Agency recently licensed Trip Advisor reviews for one of our clients and saw conversion rates increase almost 10%.
8. Email Lives On – No, email marketing is not dead. In fact, it is more alive than ever. However, it is evolving. Open rates and engagement continue to erode for those that simply pound their opt-in database with generic messages. In 2013 we will see less “Batch & Blast” and more personalized, relevant and targeted emails based on real-time data. Further emphasis will be placed on obtaining true “opt-in” subscribers that are engaged with brands versus purchased lists.
9. Content Please – Whether we like it or not, content is still “King”. Creating content that is interesting, valuable and helps increase your search engine rankings is a top priority for marketers in 2013. You no longer have to be The New York Times for consumers to value your content. Content strategies ripple across every marketing discipline including search, social, Interactive, public relations, advertising and creative. The idea of becoming your own media and delivering the content to your customer when and how they want it will drive marketing strategies this year.
10. Traditional Media “Bites Back” – While traditional media continues to struggle against the digital onslaught there are some bright spots. One in particular is pricing. With demand backing off, media inventory prices have fallen also. Marketers are returning to a balanced mix of traditional and digital. They are using traditional to build their brand and create interest while closing the sale using digital for price and promotion.