It’s December. That means you’re either stuck killing time in a shopping line or waking up early to shovel snow off your car. Neither is a particularly good time. But hey, that also means it’s prediction time! Can I interest you in aimless (kidding!) soothsayer-esq insight into what’s happening next in the tech, eCommerce, and general business world in 2013? OK. Well take a seat, fasten your seat belts, and try to smile when the Mall Santa listens to your kid’s most desperate desires (while simultaneously hoping an iPad Mini isn’t on the list). Without further adieu, Seven eCommerce and Marketing Trends To Watch For In 2013
#7 Captain Ahab, Moby Dick and the Benefit Of Context Marketing!
That whole “Content (Marketing) is King” thing will always be true. Looking forward, though, we’ll see a shift in what attracts Search Engine Algorithms (and thus eyeballs) to land on your website (more on this later). Once there, readers want to be compelled; piquing interest starts with imploring well thought out and (more importantly) timely posts. In other words, your content has to have context to be relevant.
Corey Eridon, of Hubspot, defined Context Marketing as delivering the right content, to the right people, at the right time.
One way of accomplishing this is through current events. Try to relate and blend your content with what’s happening in the real world. The ability to engage with readers hinges on the ability to relate and resonate your message in their life. For example, Paul Anthony, of Web Distortion, wrote about current events and the seismic impact of viral marketing, by examining the “Horsehead Man” and his whimsical jog in the middle of Hurricane Sandy.
Another growing method of context marketing is storytelling. Use text or video to tell your company story, a customer’s journey, or an overarching theme. Check out Red Bull‘s “Art of Flight” marketing campaign, which was lauded and named the best use of social video by a company on the web.
#6 Emphasis on Getting to the Heart of Big Data
With the rise of Big Data, statisticians will play a bigger role in marketing teams going forward. That’s because CEOs and CMOs (and, of course, CFOs) love seeing numbers affirm their beliefs, or debunk trends which were purportedly viewed as true. This isn’t anything new. For instance, the marketing competent of our iAPPS Platform, named Marketier, has built-in capabilities to measure ROI on campaigns – but what will change is how we lean towards the crux of Big Data — insight. Real value is insights.
In short, Big Data is valuable, but Insights are the payoff.
The value of big data is hugely exaggerated because insight (the most valuable aspect of big data) is typically a few orders of magnitude less than the extractable information — which is again several orders of magnitude smaller than the sheer volume of your big data. It’s not that big data has no value, it’s just overrated. Even when your data is very, very big, the probability of finding valuable insights from it may still be abysmally small.
- Michael Wu, CMS Wire
#5 Return On Investment, Please Take A Seat (For the Moment)
While stat-gurus will look at numbers to pick out consumer trends, measuring ROI of digital age marketing tactics is still a hot button issue. Let’s face it, there is a great deal of murmuring about ROI, especially in terms of blogging and Social Media. It didn’t help that Social Media infamously struck out Black Friday and Cyber Monday; its referral impact was nil. And while outlets, like Facebook, are trying to formulate tracking tools for ROI, we seem far away from determining true financial revenue from Social Efforts.
Despite concerns of proving out ROI, however, according to HubSpot, the average budget spent on company blogs and social media increased from 9% in 2009, to 21% in 2012. Uncertainty gives way to intuition and foresight. Executives understand the significance of these functions, even if they don’t extrapolate onto a spreadsheet. I sense we’ll see even more leeway and less concern in 2013.
Author Rank is becoming more important in the SEO world. We’ve written about the importance of Thought Leadership and Social Influence before. Let’s steal from Brett Zucker, Bridgeline Digital‘s CTO, for a moment –
Producing mass content is one thing; establishing yourself as an authoritative voice on subject matter is a whole new ball game. In the end, the exposure your business gains is priceless. Becoming a Thought Leader doesn’t happen overnight, but if you foster a community, then your company can reap the payoff.
SEO still incorporates volume and other old-hat tactics, but building smart and engaging content will get your company website exposure.
Via Pamela Vaughan:
Over the years, effective search engine optimization (SEO) was all about knowing the tricks of the trade. The SEO of tomorrow will be less about having the right H1 tag or the right keywords on the page and more about creating really high quality, original content that is socially consumed and shared.
#3 Targeted Content
Customers aren’t stupid. They realize they are entering your website with goals that (hopefully) you can help complete. Tailoring your content and using audience segmenting to spin targeted content is not only allowed … it’s preferred.
An Accenture Interactive survey of 2,000 customers in the U.S. and U.K. found the following:
86% of respondents are worried about websites tracking their actions.
85% of respondents understand the tracking is a necessary trade-off to target consumers.
64% said they valued the targeted (relevant offers) over the privacy they gave up.
To review — people are weary of privacy control, but get why, from a shopping perspective, it behooves them to relent to tracking their Internet activity. Using empirical data to highlight pertinent coupons or persuasive content helps customers find what they are looking for, and is vital to improving conversion rates and revenue. The delineation of the motives behind Targeted Content is best-delivered by Glen Hartman, who’s Accenture Interactive‘s global manager director of digital consulting. “Relevance is a key part of the new consumer experience. It’s a new requirement.”
#2 Social Integration
Your Corporate Blog, Twitter feed, Facebook page, Pinterest account, Tumblr site, and YouTube page won’t be viewed as an extension of marketing in 2013. The strategies for each platform will just be part of the entire equation to how your marketing team functions.
“I don’t see social as just a marketing function,” Mark Fidelman, author of the book, “Socialized! How the Most Successful Businesses Harness the Power of Social“said. “I see it as embedding itself in every aspect of an organization. There’s no reason everything – HR, finance, sales, engineering, internal, external – shouldn’t be involved. It won’t even be called ‘social’ in five years; it’ll just be how it’s done.”
#1 Mobile On The Run
It’s happening. More people bought smart devices than PCs in 2012. Heck, 29% of adults in the United States own a Tablet or e-Reader. I don’t like to write in absolutes, mostly because if you’re wrong then you look stupid, but it’s safe to say, Mobile isn’t a cute feature to add to your web capabilities. It’s a necessity.
Both Gartner and Mary Meeker predict big things for Mobile in 2013. The former believes 1.2 billion “smart devices” will be sold next year, up 50 percent from this year, while the latter thinks that smart device use will usurp PC use by the middle of next year.
This isn’t as much a prediction as it is a statement — Mobile use is critical to business success going forward.