Monthly Archives: January 2013

2013 Digital Marketing Predictions

The Prognosis for a Healthy 2013 

When you have a broken bone in your body, or a faulty organ… what do you do? You usually seek the opinion of a specialist — a surgeon with a track record of curing what ails you. There’s a group of Digital specialists in New Haven, CT that call themselves Digital Surgeons (http://www.digitalsurgeons.com). These guys rock. Just blocks from the Yale University campus, these eggheads are inventing leading edge technologies that will blow your mind. Recently, they published 32 somewhat bold predictions for the year ahead in Digital Marketing. mikepalma.com is proud to share them with you. Enjoy, and apply as needed.

Marketing:

Video will get bigger as a medium

People aren’t getting any less lazy in 2013. Why read a blog post when the same information can be conveyed to you in a 30 second video? With streaming quality increasing and camera prices decreasing, in 2013 it will be easier than ever to produce and then distribute content.

Inbound marketing will grow within brands and businesses

The role of the content strategist will rise in conjunction. Strategic content will drive inbound marketing efforts and increase the need for full-time employees to curate that content.

International will be the new domestic, for many

The internet has made our very large world navigable from the comfort of our couches. The same will be said about e-commerce in 2013. With exciting young companies such as FiftyOne making American brands easily attainable all over the world, the term “foreign markets” might begin to seem a bit dated in 2013.

The idea of thinking global and acting local will be turned on its side with businesses thinking local and acting global.

Experiential and brand experiences will be the new website

The standard HTML homepage will increasingly be blown out of the water by interactive elements and experiences that surpass digital.

Mobile will finally start to be a real concern for marketers

This will force us to be better at delivering better mobile experiences (responsive, adaptive, context driven): This 2013 prediction is nearing the ranking of “Broken Record” in the marketing world for how often it is discussed. The conversation keeps occurring because of the astronomical amount of data pointing towards mobile dominance in 2013. Morgan Stanley is predicting that there will be more mobile devices (tablets and phones) accessing the internet than traditional computers (laptops and desktops) in 2013 for the first time EVER.

The term big data will be abused as agencies promise magic insights based on analytics

Data regarding demographics and reach will be the driving factor behind marketing decisions in every area. More media outlets will hire more statisticians, developers and computer scientists following the wild success of Nate Silver’s election coverage for the NY Times. Punditry will suffer at the hands of big, meaningful data.

Brands as platforms will be a big aspect of content strategy

The past few years have a seen a much bigger push for both content and innovation from brands. Brands that have pushed the envelope have consistently won both critical acclaim and increases in revenue. 2013 will show an increase in brands pushing the envelope in terms of product creation and new business units in an attempt to excite consumers.

Brands will start really listening to their customers

And, thus, a new form of advertising will be born where the brands act as the facilitator for what the customers collectively agree they want. The importance of data and brand advocates as well as the amount of tools available will aid this trend.

Social Media:

We will see more social media gurus

As social media grows in popularity, so too grows the number of 20 somethings who claim to be experts. What exactly qualifies one as an expert, or a “guru”, is up for interpretation so in 2013 you will see an even larger amount of people “interpreting” themselves that way.

Social media agencies of record will grow

The rationale will be a bigger need for social CRM support and influencer programs. As the importance of social media grows, the need for experts in the field will become equally important. No gurus here.

Pinterest will only get bigger

Clearly written in the Pinterest mission statement, it says: “There is always more room for cute cupcake recipes and shirtless Jake Gyllenhal pictures”. We kid, it doesn’t say that (but it should). For all of the potential knocks against Pinterest it is still a beautifully designed platform and concept that has miles to go before it sleeps (see: dies like friendster and myspace). Brands are currently struggling to use it for marketing purposes already without an available public API. Once a public API is released to developers in the coming year, the possibilities are endless.

Twitter will keep stepping on toes

Twitter burned some bridges this year with moves like ending firehose access and cutting itself from Instagram. 

Facebook will be a-ok

It has been quite a tumultuous year for Facebook, but we’re still behind them 100%. Their innovation related to ad units as well as the addition of Gifts this year has shown the companies continued focus on sustainable, business minded innovation. It’s tactical moves such as these that will allow them to return to a share price over $30.

Brand social interactions will have to get more personal and creative in 2013

This is due to the lack of polarizing global events (Olympics, Elections, etc.) News jacking will need to be a bit more inventive as the topics won’t be as predefined or dominating.

Retail outlets that stock products and brands voted on by its customers via social media

Give the people what they want! Social media gives everyone a voice and in 2013 we will see retail outlets begin listening to that voice a lot more closely while stocking their shelves.

Design:

There will be more Pinterest copycats

We’re starting to see it already, the term “Pinterest-style” has infiltrated marketing vocabulary when discussing grid-like visual design. While we love Pinterest, we cannot promote additional copycat designs for EVERY situation. In addition, sites like The Fancy and Wanelo will continue to pop up and attempt to pull revenue away from Pinterest.

Infographics will have to step it up to maintain relevance

The one page “factsheets” are a dime a dozen and won’t cut it anymore. Everyone and their mothers are creating infographics now. It’s hard to imagine a piece of information that hasn’t been visualized in some sort of goofy cartoon format. Audiences are now almost as blind to infographics as they are to the formalized studies that the data originated from. Data must be visualized in real time, interactive formats in 2013. With information changing so quickly, static content is no longer appropriate to create.

Web design will shift to a more app-like style

And will, in turn, accommodate for responsive layouts.

Vertical and collapsible navigation will become more prominent

With a larger focus on the end-user in modern design, choices need to be avaliable. Maybe someone doesn’t want to be able to navigate. Maybe they want their website to look uncluttered. Features such as collapsible navigation will become common place as the end users are given the tools to alter the design experience to their preference.

Minimal color-blocked design will be the new trend

Microsoft will (wrongly) get the credit. Color blocking has been a trend within digital and outside this season. We’ve seen color blocking gain momentum in fashion as well. Color blocking is great for breaking up content, categorizing information and creating more visually appealing design.

Technology:

Mobile Payment, not just for Starbucks anymore

Even banks have hopped on this trend with new tools such as Chase Quick Pay and V.me from Visa. Not only will the exchange of money between friends become digital, but tools like Passbook will allow users to pay through their phone.

More home automation and sensor/app driven combinations

The Nest is just one of many tools that will arrive in 2013 and force you to ask “How did I ever live without this?” From security measures to heating your place, your home will be just that much nicer when you walk through the door.

The year of Real-Time

Bidding, consumer engagement, customer service. For better or worse, the internet has allowed for instant gratification and that is what consumers now expect. Digital technology will have to operate in real-time or risk the backlash of the angry internet consumer.

One-click checkout will be the norm

Amazon introduced it, the digital world adopted it. One-click checkout has become a minimum expectation for not only Amazon, but also Apple, Google and many other online retailers. More profit for retailers, more goodies shipped to your door!

The rise of Linux

The Linux desktop (via Ubuntu) will finally start getting some recognition due to a perfect storm of Valve throwing it’s full weight behind it (in order to release it’s own Linux powered steam console), canonical working with hardware vendors and game developers, and the arrival of windows 8 driving some users away. It won’t become a major player, but all of a sudden people who wouldn’t have known about Linux will hear about it this year. The niche PC gaming enthusiasts may begin defecting. It will also continue to gain traction in foreign governments and education, but the U.S. won’t look away from its Android and iOS devices long enough to notice. Mostly, as mobile devices become more popular and gaming on Linux becomes more capable, this upcoming year will set the stage for revolution in the PC gaming that could revitalize the industry while simultaneously making Linux a big player for the consumer.

SAAS (Software as a service) and PAAS (platform as a service) will grow among business

The ease of delivery and constant support will cause “____ as a service” offerings to continue to grow in 2013. Cloud based software is projected to double by 2015. Businesses have so many different options to choose from as well, with established companies in the space such as Oracle and Salesforce being outshined by a myriad of innovative startups.

The 10-foot user interface setup will start to become more commonplace as TV’s get smarter

More than this, the multi-device experiences will become more common and it will be standard for the mobile device will supplement the content on your television. Companies will see this like they saw the world-wide web & try to abuse it for marketing.

Misc:

Second screen experience

chatter will continue but the numbers still won’t catch up fast enough. It’s going to take a universally accepted platform for this phenomenon to become common place; hashtags on twitter just won’t cut it

Startups will be fewer and farther between

We predict that investors will wise up and realize that so many of them have no business plan or plans for profitability. Current startups that offer free services will look to monetize.

Television manufacturers create a TV with a built-in motion sensor

After the success of the Microsoft Kinect and Smart TVs in the past few years, it makes sense for television manufacturers to cut out the middle-man (Microsoft’s Xbox 360) and to begin offering motion sensing capabilities directly

Up for Debate:

You’ve heard our two cents (at least), but what do you forsee for 2013? Our office couldn’t decide on these major topics, so let’s hear it.

Instagram

The social network had a fantastic 2012 with the $1 billion acquisition by Facebook and a user base surpassing 100 million. However, a recent Terms of Service chance (effective Jan. 16) gives considerable control over photos to Instagram and has the newly acquired 100 million ready to flock. Will Instagram overcome the negative press and suspicious users or will it fall into the social media graveyard?

Apple

As rumors swirl of the next iPhone and the long-awaited Apple TV, our staff continues to remain undecided on Apple’s future. Some think the enormous stock value and 2013 iDevices will keep the loyal fanboys and girls, while others feel Samsung has made significant advances and Apple’s lack of innovation this year will cause the company to suffer. What does 2013 have in store for Apple?

QR Codes

While we’ve never been fans of the QR code trend, we have seen them everywhere this year: in subway tunnels, on street signs, in magazines. We tend to prefer more enriching experiences (augmented reality anyone?) but meanwhile QR codes sneak their way in as a touchpoint for many campaigns. Will QR codes become more popular or fall short?

Fiercely Indistinguishable

Agency Positioning in a Sea of Sameness

The beautiful thing about language is that it catches on. When folks find a befitting phrase that captures their circumstance, it can take on a life of its own. And imagesat the tipping point, it becomes a phenomenon. This was the case with the phrase “voracious reader.” Somehow, anyone with three paperbacks on their nightstand in the 1990’s was suddenly a “voracious” consumer of the written word. The phrase took on a slight tone of literary condescension (most condescension is slight and subtle). For example, if you had a  Sports Illustrated on your nightstand, you really didn’t qualify as a voracious reader. To qualify as truly voracious, one was required to juggle several titles at a time from the New York Times bestseller list.

Rather than attack all the similar things ad agencies say about themselves (“best-in-class,” “fully integrated,” etc.), let’s just take a look at a currently persistent one: Fiercely Independent. I know, it sounds so cool and maverick. It screams, “we’re such tough hombres.”  There are two problems with “Fiercely Independent.” The first is,  it’s redundant to the point of weakness. Adjectives can be dangerous like that. Secondly, it’s become such a common theme among independent agencies that it’s lost all effectiveness as a point of differentiation. But, certain phrases are simply irresistible.

W. Somerset Maughm said, “Money is the string with which a sardonic destiny directs the motion of its puppets.” Independent agencies attempt to connect their w-somerset-maughambusiness brevity to a tangible financial benefit for the prospective client. Translation: “you don’t have to pay out a percentage to a holding company.” I suppose that kind of claim may be an endearing approach with Procurement. But not a single marketer in history has ever been fired because they retained a holding-company agency. Conversely, LinkedIn is littered with former client-side VP’s who took a chance on the latest independent creative Hothouse. Clients buy great creative that works. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter to them where their money goes. Price doesn’t matter. It never did and it never will.

Go ahead and google “fiercely independent ad agency.” The search reveals no fewer than 27 agencies — some of which are among the best-known in the industry. One is actually an IPG agency that claims to be “fiercely independent” but can also “instantly” enlist “an army of 23,000” people through an “odd twist.” They conclude their positioning with “who we are depends on what you need.” Now that’s what I call putting a stake in the ground. As the inimitable Tim Bayless often cackled, “We have our principles — and if you don’t like those, we have plenty of others in the back.”

I suspect that I could have turned up more than 27 fiercely independent agencies; except one agency, Moroch, so thoroughly dominated the SEO search term that they ronaldtook up 15 pages of results. Yet, I subsequently googled “independent ad agency” and they didn’t turn up until page 5. The irony here is that it is plausible for a mid-sized or challenger brand marketer to run a search for an independent agency. But, it’s laughable to think a CMO will actually google for a “fiercely independent” agency. Congratulations Moroch, you own the word “fiercely”. Way to go. The further irony is Morch’s bedrock client is apparently regional McDonald’s franchisee groups. How independent it must be to push the McRib (what is that thing, anyway?).

The moral of the story is stop talking about independence and be independent. Lead your clients fearlessly. Stop selling on price and get to the real tangible benefit of your agency to your clients’ business: you make them money, not save them money.