First the good news: budgets, particularly public relations budgets, are projected to increase for 2013, mobile social media will continue to rise as consumers’ vehicle of choice, strategic focus on content marketing will continue to build, and unprecedented volumes of data on client profiles and buying habits will continue to build challenging even the most experienced marketer. The bad news: how to use all this newfound knowledge to your advantage.
The fields of advertising, public relations and integrated marketing are always changing and evolving, and year 2013 will be no exception. There are numerous trends that may completely change the face of what we know.
In 2012 we witnessed more social media integration and visual storytelling, fewer product stories and plenty of hyper-local marketing. Pinterest emerged as the newcomer social media site for communicating visually. Marketers adapted by increasing the number of graphics, images, and videos used to communicate a message and visually tell their story. Trending upward, the two highest growth areas in public relations budgets in 2013 will be for social media and video production. Conference travel and event participation will take a significant nosedive in budget importance.
Another facet of social media and marketing in general showing growth for 2013 is the mobile marketing scene. Finding new ways to be relevant and advertise through these devices with their small-sized screens will be important. Promoted tweets and posts, and sponsored stories will replace traditional banner ads. Intrusive or not, these native ads let brands reach clients directly on their home streams and read like user-generated content, giving them the glow of credibility.
Many companies are focusing on hyper-local targeting. The explosion of mobile device usage commands more mobile-centric strategies and content. These should be designed to meet individualized needs for geographic locations.
Among projected trends in B2C and B2B marketing for 2013 is a need for corporate storytelling. Essentially these are stories within larger stories, or micro stories. They help connect individuals with companies and products, driving interaction.
Another major focus for 2013 will be strategic communication and content marketing. This requires a look at what information is being marketed, revisiting strategic communication objectives, and making sure there are accurate metrics in place for reporting results. Many B2C organizations rely heavily on marketing content on popular platforms, such as Facebook, mobile content, mobile apps, and print assets.
In a world that is being constantly inundated with data, professionals are looking into revising strategies to manage this transformation. Measurement and benchmarking are a major issue facing professionals in 2013. At the beginning of last year, the challenge was to have more data to drive decision making processes. By the end of 2012, analytics prevailed and a pivotal game changer emerged. Look no further than 29-year-old Daniel Wagner, chief analytics officer for President Obama’s reelection campaign, who rose to superstar status in the course of one election cycle as his data-crunching team plowed through mountains of data to create voter behavior models that key decisions were based upon.
Applying what was learned in a highly contested political campaign and moving forward into 2013, marketers will need to embrace metrics. Keeping track of everything from likes, re-tweets, page views, brand awareness and sentiment analysis is now part of the business model.
This year collaboration remains key for large organizations. Many companies have had success by combining their brand management functions of marketing departments with their reputation management functions of PR departments. Market values built on teamwork will reach audiences and inspire emotion. This aids in the ever-daunting task of maintaining brand relevancy.
As an aside, there is much to be said about mentoring and reverse mentoring, no matter what the discipline. There is a great need for multigenerational coaching to occur. You could think of it as Baby Boomers teaching Millennials on tried-and-true methods of communication, while the Millennials help the Boomers understand up-and-coming technologies. Finding ways to continue to learn and grow from one another will be a successful combination.
The year 2013 brings its own set of challenges, such as managing the wealth of information available on buying trends. Keeping the aforementioned trends in mind will help as you transition into 2013, providing new opportunities or, perhaps, resolutions to existing conflicts.