It's that time of year again: Every December, I take a step back and look at what small- to medium-sized businesses are talking about, dabbling in or really starting to integrate into their growth strategies. These early signs often point to trends you can expect to pick up steam.
Here are seven hot marketing trends that I predict for 2013. Pay heed and see how you can use them to improve your own marketing strategies.
Trend 1: The Minority Report effect
You know that scene from the movie Minority Report, where Tom Cruise races by billboards that scan his retinas and target him with advertisements based on his personal preferences?
We may still be some time away from advertising like that, but we're seeing the early stages, with the emergence of innovations integrating social media, local targeting and mobile devices. This is what marketers are calling "SoLoMo," and look for more innovations in this trend, and more business-to-consumer companies trying to capitalize on those innovations.
To paint a picture of what to expect, consider Foursquare, an application closely tied to SoLoMo. Foursquare tells mobile users what companies are nearby and what deals are available. Take that a step further, where users are required to input personal preferences or an app recognizes patterns in behaviour so that when they are near a business that fits their profile, it will push out a notification for a coupon, discount code, special of the day or sale.
Trend 2: Hijacking the news
Newsjacking is about figuring out ways to inject your company into breaking news to generate media coverage for your busines, build more awareness and create more credibilty. This requires fast action to create a connection between the story and your company.
A lawyer client of mine specializing in privacy has been having some newsjacking success. When stories about Google keeping consumer information came out this year, for instance, he reached out to the media to offer his opinion, and has now become recognized as a privacy expert to whom media turned multiple times in 2012 on privacy-related matters. This has done much to raise his profile.
Trend 3: Video is hot
Video is hot. According to eMarketer's 2012 digital media usage report, there will be a steady increase in the number of people viewing video content on computers, tablets and mobile devices in 2013.
And more and more businesses are cottoning on to using the medium to communicate complex statements in a visually appealing manner.
Expect more videos coming from businesses that want to communicate information about the company or its products and services.
This may be a case of the late majority finally coming on board.
Trend 4: Old marketing is new again
In a world ever more dominated by social media, many marketers have been snubbing their noses at old-style tactics, such as display ads and direct mail. However, the old is new again. I'm seeing an increase in the number of companies using more traditional forms of marketing to further reach prospects that have engaged with a brand online in a super-targeted manner.
The key here isn't to limit the amount of online marketing. It's to augment the frequency and effect of your message by adding traditional methods to the mix, and focusing in on targeted clients, not the market at large.
Trend 5: The new "king" of marketing
Content has been king for so long, but look for 2013 to usher in the reign of "context."
Content is still vital, but it's the context in which it is presented that is now of utmost importance. This is a natural evolution of content and only makes sense as our world demands less waste and more targeted communications.
When I say context, I mean creating content tailored for a specific audience. So, for instance, if you sell consulting services to healthcare companies, don't just talk about your consulting services, customize it to health care and specific problems you can resolve.
The market is demanding tailored communications that talk to their problems, their industry, their company and how your product or service will benefit their business. Remember that when creating blog posts, presentations and webinars.
Trend 6: Content that encourages action
Even when content is created with context in mind, it still needs to go further to get prospects into their marketing funnel.
To help that, businesses are increasingly grasping the benefits of adding "calls to action" to their marketing materials. It's the bridge that connects content to action, and a way to get information from prospects and target them more effectively in future campaigns.
Look for more calls to action in all sorts of content in 2013, from blog posts and white papers to articles and case studies.
Trend 7: Go agile or go home
Building out marketing programs from start to finish without any flexibility to make changes in the middle is something small businesses are realizing is inefficient, and needs to go.
When creating marketing programs, companies need to test concepts and approaches, measure the results, adjust and relaunch. Small businesses are talking more about "agile" marketing because it gives them greater control and insight into their programs if they execute in this fashion.
As agile marketing becomes more prevalent, we will see more small businesses develop marketing programs in stages, as a way to keep costs down, increase speed to market and gather better insight into the performance of the program before it is completely rolled out.
These seven trends have the power to reshape how you perform marketing functions in 2013. What do you plan to implement in the coming year?
Special to The Globe and Mail
Ryan Caligiuri is the founder ofRyan Caligiuri International, a growth consultancy focused on developing programs that generate credibility, competitive advantages, leads/demand and new revenue streams for small to medium sized enterprises. Mr. Caligiuri is also the founder of The Growth Network a mentoring program that teaches entrepreneurs and marketers best practices, frameworks and strategies to become business growth generators.
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