2013 is set to be another exciting year for our industry, with huge opportunities for marketers to develop forward thinking and creative multi-channel strategies.
Here are the key five trends we predict will take the industry by storm this year.
Cross-device marketing -- a 'must' not an 'option' in 2013
The notion of the 'omni-channel consumer' isn't a new one, but it's now mainstream consumer behaviour. As such, putting multi-channel, cross-device consumer experience at the heart of any marketing strategy is imperative in 2013, and no longer just a 'nice to have'.
In today's converged digital world, the fact that consumers are using multiple devices, applications and platforms -- often simultaneously -- brings an opportunity for brands and retailers to offer a seamless experience, even from the offline world.
Customers want their purchases and preferences, or even items they're reading and listening to, to be available on all of their devices, so they're able to pick up content where they left off on one device automatically on another one.
And, with mobile online traffic expected to exceed web traffic by the end of 2013, it's not just your website that needs to be cross-device compatible -- campaigns need to be too. User Experience studies will play a critical part in mapping out just how consumers want to engage with your brand across devices and channels, and cross-channel and device measurement will also become paramount.
Out with the old and in with the new... It's time to smarten up content delivery with s slick CMS platform
The penny has dropped with many businesses, and they're beginning to identify the inadequacies of out-of-date digital infrastructures when trying to meet the requirements of cross platform marketing and the increased volume of content now being generated.Systems that simply 'bolted on' technology as digital has evolved are no longer meeting their needs.
We predict more clients will choose to make 2013 the year they future-proof their digital capabilities and seize the opportunity to meet the needs of the multi-device consumer by investing in a slick new CMS platform that delivers efficiencies, automation and cross-platform content consumption.
Data in return for entertainment and services
Consumers have become accustomed to trading personal information for convenience and 'something in return' -- from exclusive offers and events to premium content.
Recognising this exchange, consumers are increasingly tuning into brands that proactively offer customers help and advice. Capitalise on this with solutions such as companion Apps and rewards-based mobile activity.
For marketers, deeper insight is allowing for greater personalisation and more relevant relationships with customers. We predict more investment in technology that allows them to manage this data more effectively and easily.
Real time branding optimisation, tracking the influencers, conversation catalysts and social sharers allowing advertisers to tweak live campaigns will become more widespread in 2013, not only because it gives brands insight but because it has huge value.
The on-going success of branded content (particularly in social spaces as a catalyst for conversation)
The holy grail of today's marketing strategy is that brand engagement compels consumers to not only think and feel something, but to actively do something and talk about the brand or product.
Heightened importance will be placed on creative campaigns -- particularly in earned media spaces -- that facilitate consumer conversation, involvement and participation.
But the other challenge for branded content is making it original and entertaining.
It will also be the year when 'un-friending brands' is likely to peak, as consumers cleanse their social spaces and cull brands that bombard them with messages and irrelevant content. Brands that don't engage, entertain and add value within social spaces will suffer from this the most.
The rise and rise of location based mobile activity
Following the success of location-based mobile marketing in 2012 (see Econsultancy for some great examples) location marketing is most definitely on most clients' agendas for 2013. In fact, ignore it at your peril.
With such widespread use of smartphones, making your presence known where and when it matters most -- when consumers are on the go and on your doorstep -- is a huge advantage.
Its popularity will be bolstered by continued advancement of the technology that allows retailers and brands to engage with potential customers so effectively at this level.