Once again digital predictions are coming out of the woodwork. I’ve scoured the web for some of the most insightful digital trends of 2013 from the experts.
IT departments make room for the new IT employee: marketers
As organisations continue to shift spend from traditional marketing to digital channels – software is high on the marketing shopping list. According to Forbes, marketing budgets are headed on a collision course with IT. What if anything isn’t connected through the website? Online, inline and offline communications and real-time changes will drive investments that match those of IT departments shifting the technology and budget power balance. IBMs Vice President, Elana Anderson added “In 2013, CIOs and CMOs will stop looking at their differences and consider the benefits that their combined strength can bring to an organization. This alliance isn’t just logical, it’s essential. The CMO and CIO can’t afford to operate on separate stages any longer. Smarter, more empowered consumers using smart phones, tablets and cloud services pose new challenges for the C-suite. There are already good examples of leading companies as diverse as financial services and retail chains bringing IT to bear on marketing goals. It’s this combination of engagement, innovation, measurement and collaboration – all enabled by technology – that lies at the heart of better business performance in 2013.”
The question is though whilst this trend will be a key theme in markets like the US and the UK– the level of digital sophistication in the local market may mean that this trend is a little premature for Australia. As local brands adopt more and more digital,those new to the game will start to call into question structures and processes to enable progress in the space whilst those truly progressive few will start to tackle these bigger issues as it impacts a brands ability to be agile and move towards “real time marketing”.
Campaigns are out, real time marketing is in
According to Hubspot in 2013 we’ll see many more marketers take advantage of the power of real-time communications to grow business. As buyers instantly engage with brands on their websites, talk back via social media like Twitter and Facebook, and follow breaking news in the markets they are interested, the old model of marketing built on a company timeline doesn’t work so well.
With marketing automation and cross channel marketing platforms, marketers have the tools to move towards a “real time marketing” approach but the biggest hurdle is marketing team mindsets – particularly if the organisation is still led by a traditional marketing approach, which is still the case in many organisations down under.
Advertising is going native
The continued decline in engagement with display advertising has led to innovation in the digital advertising space. Over recent years “native advertising” has begun to grow in popularity (eg Facebook’s sponsored stories and Twitter’s promoted tweets) as brands looks to integrate their message into the conversation or story rather than distract from it. According to Rebecca Lieb, an analyst from the Altimeter Group 2013 will be a big year for native advertising “we are seeing a number of technologies and solutions emerge to facilitate native advertising. Products and solutions in this area will continue to emerge, more publishers will accommodate, and there’s no doubt we’ll see some interesting, large-scale media partnerships emerge as a result.”
The battle of the living room
Whilst multi-screen use isn’t new – 2013 will be a year of innovation for TV networks as brands look for new opportunities to capitalise on multi-screen usage – which will of course filter down to Australia. According to Caitlan Mitchell & Chris Ferrel of the Richards Group;
2013 will show that hashtags are not the only way to engage in conversations around your favorite TV shows. Social TV will play an integral role in the battle for the living room as part of a concerted effort to blur the line between live and on-demand content. FX and Twentieth Century Fox seek to be leaders in this space, exemplified by their “Sons of Anarchy” app, completely redeveloped for the fourth season of the show. By taking advantage of audio fingerprinting technology, the app automatically detects audio from the episode and displays real-time content on the second-screen device. Everything from 3-D gyroscopes, virtual scene tours, real-time content, an e-commerce merchandise store and social sharing are integrated right within the app.
Technology is the new accessory
In 2012, Google introduced us to a whole new world with the release of Google Glasses – but in 2013 it seems a host of new products will be launched in market which will take “personal computing” to a whole new level. According to David Armano, the Managing Director of Edelman, from fuel bands to bracelets – these are just a preview of what we will see a lot more of in 2013 as we begin to look part human, part machine. There are already ski goggles that display a tiny screen allowing you to not only sync your mobile device but help you determine where you are and how fast you are going.
And to finish it off, here are a few predictions of my own – related to the local market.
Digital marketers in demand for top jobs
With brands rushing to evolve in the new digital world, we will begin to see brands, particularly those that have smaller teams and flatter structures – look to hire digital marketers into senior marketing positions to lead the way in digital. When Sportsgirl set out to hire their new Strategic Brand Manager last year, digital marketing experience was at the top of their list of wants – and as one of the more progressive retailers this is a sign of things to come and in 2013 I believe we will begin to see more brands focus on strong digital experience “as a pre-requisite” for the top job.
The year of the mobile for Australian brands
The tipping point for mobile has well and truly come – but not for Australian brands. During last year’s Click Frenzy event it was revealed that only 50% of participating retailers had a mobile enabled site – which is low given those that participated are some of the more progressive retailers in the country.
With mobile internet take up and usage charging along – I believe this year, brands across a range of industry sectors will really begin to embrace mobile as an integral part of their digital strategy.