As we roll into the season where political ads lobbying for your vote are replaced with holiday commercials lobbying for your business, we start to think about what we need to wrap up in 2012 and what’s on the horizon for 2013. In terms of marketing trends, it seems that we will see increasingly creative ways for businesses to gain higher profiles in the coming year.
It’s incredible to think that just five years ago, a business that had a Facebook page was cutting-edge. Looking into next year, just having a social media presence isn’t going to help a business stand out during a time when almost every day someone is asking you to “Like” them. This isn’t to say that social media isn’t important, because it is still a key component to keeping consumers interested. However, now it’s a given that your business will be using social media, just like it was a given that you’d list yourself in the Yellow Pages 50 years ago.
Business2Community’s Frederic Gonzalo recently published his thoughts on what’s on the horizon for 2013 marketing. Three of the trends he mentions are ones that I’m seeing embraced almost across the board.
The first is content marketing. “The new mantra is now that ‘Brands need to act as Publishers,’” writes Gonzalo, “Blogs, social media, newsletters, webinars, ebooks, photo-sharing, videos or case studies are just a few of the sharpest tools brands ought to invest in, moving forward in this rapidly evolving online ecosystem.”
How are most consumers going to access those newsletters and photos in 2013? Via tablets. Gone are the days of squinting to read a newspaper article on your phone, and consumer electronic companies are helping push this trend to the forefront.
It’s no coincidence that Apple recently launched its iPad Mini while Samsung keeps coming up with variations of its popular Galaxy models in this device category. Google competes with its Nexus 7 while even Microsoft decided to join the party with its highly anticipated Surface. Tablets are chipping away market share from desktops and laptops, with an estimated 90 million consumers in the US to own one by 2014. Customer behaviors related to these devices have everything to appeal to travel marketers: more time spent on web pages, higher conversion rates… what’s there not to like?
With that sort of projection, it’s important for businesses to ensure their websites are tablet-friendly now, as there’s nothing more disappointing than finding that your favorite newspapers, blogs, and stories aren’t readable on tablets.
As a surprising juxtaposition, the other trend that everyone seems to be talking about is the idea of taking media out of marketing, a.k.a the old-fashioned “real-world” marketing. Forbes spoke with Lucy Farey-Jones, partner and Director of Brand Strategy at Venables Bell & Partners, about her methods of gaining new insights:
‘I try to walk out and about when I’m traveling,’ she says. ‘We live in a bubble in San Francisco, and it’s easy to convince yourself something happening here is a trend, when it’s not. My favorite thing is to leave my cellphone behind. It’s really hard to do, but when you do, you pay more attention to the real world. I’ve been trying to ditch it so I can have my eyes and ears open.’
Being up-to-date on media is important, but never underestimate what “unplugging” can do for your creativity. Consumers are now over-saturated with media marketing, so a great way to get their attention is to engage them outside of their TVs, tablets, and phones. There’s lots of room for creativity when it comes to engaging consumers outside of the Web, but Farey-Jones makes a point that whatever businesses do, they must have a clear, coherent message: “One idea — one crystal clear thought.”