06 Feb Marketing Trends to watch in 2013
We are only in the second month of the year, but already some clear marketing trends are emerging for 2013. It seems marketers fears of ‘Empty13’ are unfounded after all, as events such as the Six Nations, Coronation Festival and Royal baby are all generating great excitement. Moreover, with a raft of new products, channels and technology emerging, Marketing Week has even dubbed it ‘Lucky 13’. But what will be key in the marketing world this year? Here are my predictions:
Real-time marketing will supercede campaigns
Traditional marketing has depended on a defined series of activities, tactics and channels, focused on a common theme that make up a campaign. But as social and inbound marketing continue to rise, marketing will become less rigid. Rapidly changing technology and customer behaviour means speed and responsiveness is essential. You just need to look at how Oreo stole the limelight from bigger brands sponsoring the Super Bowl with its clever ‘You can still dunk in the dark’ ad released across social media within an hour of the blackout, to see how things are changing. The most successful companies this year will deploy real-time marketing, engaging with customers not at a time to suit the marketing department, but when the consumer is ready.
Content will have even greater impact on SEO
Good search engine performance over the years has tended to depend on knowing the tricks of the trade, placing commas in the right place, what H1 tags to have where, using link farms to create more inbound links and so on. As Google has become increasingly intelligent, web content and its ‘shareability’ has also risen in importance, and this is set to continue in 2013. The lines between the separate marketing practices of content marketing, social media and search engine optimisation are beginning to blur. Without good content, consumers have little reason to want to interact with you, digitally or via any other form. By content, I don’t mean just text, but images too. The addition of cover photos to Facebook and Twitter, as well as the meteoric growth of sites like Pinterest in 2012 indicate just how important pictures can be, especially when it comes to ‘shareability’.
More brand personality
As the market remains uncertain and competition tough, brand personality will be a key differentiator this year – emphasising the right personality traits can strengthen a company’s competitive position. If you are going to create a desire for a brand, you have to make it appeal to your target audience. Visual and verbal signposts are key in communicating whether your product or service is right for that consumer or business. Plus, with consumers now expecting greater responsibility, trust and openness from brands, these attributes, associated with consistent quality, need to be conveyed in your marketing communications.
Organisations will seem more human as social interactions and storytelling take precedence over traditional marketing tactics in providing the consistent personality and voice required to nurture long-term relationships. Smart marketers, will also consider local cultural dynamics and adjust the tone of their brand’s voice accordingly.
Responsive web design
2012 was an unusual year in the technology world. For the first time since 2001, the PC market shrank. There has been a major shift in the consumption habits of audiences, with the rise of the tablet and smartphone, and company websites now need to cater for the wide range of screens they will be viewed on. Enter responsive web design. Responsive websites are optimised to fit the size of your screen. You may have noticed when you open the RONIN website on your smartphone it displays differently to your PC, and if you shrink your browser, the content re-sizes to fit. Responsive web design allows the fluidity for one website to work seamlessly across thousands of different screens. It certainly won’t be long before this is an industry standard.
Geometric design is in
‘Simple but significant’ is a quote which has arguably never seen such relevance as in the current design industry. You just need to look at the new logos of major brands, such as ebay and Microsoft to see designers are stripping logos and other work down to the bare essentials to create a clean, sleek, modern look. On the back of this, geometric design has really taken off; experimenting with simple sharp shapes, such as squares, hexagons and particularly triangles, has become incredibly popular in the interior design, fashion and graphic design industries. One of our recent geometric designs is this logo for AWH Consultancy. Some have associated this with a step back to traditional crafts, its minimalism appealing to us in a world swamped with technology, others refer to modern digital design elements, such as infographics, as fuelling the trend; perhaps it is both. Either way, geometric design is here to stay in 2013.
The death of ‘digital marketing’
With digital media playing an increasingly important role in our everyday and work lives, you may be surprised to see this as a marketing trend for 2013. Let me explain. You can now watch BBC iPlayer from your TV, QR codes are commonplace in print advertising, and hashtags regularly appear in popular live shows, such as the XFactor – traditional media is becoming more digital; online and offline channels are beginning to converge. Thus, suggestions have been made the term ‘digital marketing’ will lose its relevance as all marketing will involve an element of digital. Brands will need to adapt to the new environment. That said, I don’t believe it’s a case of one size fits all. Some traditional markets may not be ready for the complete convergence of online and offline. Plus, there will need to be some clear distinctions between online and offline offerings to keep them both relevant, especially in industries such as publishing. Nevertheless, digital marketing will become a standard part of the marketing process, and a key consideration in all communications so it may not be long ‘til we say goodbye to the phrase.