I have to start this out by saying that while I like posts like this, I also loathe them at the same time. While I love reading everyone’s optimism about what will be a trend within the next 12 months, I also realize the reality that most of those pipe dreams won’t gain mass adoption by the end of this year. Really, trends that will really be trends with in the next 12 months already have a foothold and are emerging. So, even though technology and innovation are moving faster than ever before, the indicators are already showing what the masses will really grasp this year.
I know, last year was the year of mobile (and the year before that (and the year before that)). But this will be the year it truly explodes as consumers realize the power of the device they hold in their hand. We just passed the tipping point of more than 50% smartphone adoption (in the U.S.). Now we want to do more than ever before with these devices. Smartphones and tablets will become central to consumers’ lives. Our assistants like Siri and Google Voice Search will get smarter, faster than ever before. And this will be the year that predictive search like the tech in Google Now and Grokr goes mainstream. It’ll push information to you before you even realized you needed it. By year’s end you’ll be able to get the customized news and information you want, exactly how and when you want it delivered to your mobile wherever you are. More and more people will be using their phone to research products and do price comparisons while shopping in brick and mortar stores. Target just announced in-store price matching with Amazon.com for the rest of this year. Your mobile device will start to become your gateway into the “web of things”. Your phone will start to communicate with the things around you like your home, your car, and even objects you pass by on the street. Not saying this is all going to happen at the snap of my fingers this year, but it’s going to gain traction and become a big trend as we look toward 2014. Now if I could just get my phone to stay charged all day while I do all this, then we’d really be on to something.
This year people will expect more from their social media accounts that they’ve put so much data into. They’ll expect to get that data back in a meaningful way. Consumers will also expect to have more control over their privacy and micro manage these settings. Apps that tout privacy and limited time sharing like Snapchat and Facebook’s Poke will also continue to grow in popularity.
It’s expected that the JOBS Act will be implemented within a few weeks. One of the key measures allows for non-accredited investors to buy micro-equity in start-ups. That means regular ‘ol Joe Schmoes like you and I could invest in the next Facebook well before it hits the NYSE or NASDAQ. Sites like Kickstarter have proved that consumers like being a part of the process of building new products and brands and helping hopeful entrepreneurs however they can. Even established businesses should take a look at this trend and begin to ask their consumers what they want to help the brand build or do next.
This will be the year that a meaningful amount of manufacturing will start to come back to the U.S. It’s not necessarily politics or a revived sense of nationalism that’s bringing it back. It’s the combination of new technologies like 3D printers and laser cutters (see MakerBot and Shapeways) that are creating dramatically improved manufacturing robots that allow for virtually anyone to begin manufacturing a new product at an insanely low cost.
Google will make it’s Project Glass available to developers later this year. There’s also some rumors that Apple is working on a smart watch that would be a more gradual step between smartphone and a Project Glass like product. While these won’t gain mass adoption this year. They will become a part of our culture and I think a conversation is going to have to happen really quickly about how we will generally accept the use of these technologies. Mitt Romney got caught saying something to a small group of people because somebody had a cell phone. Think about what will happen to all of us, if everybody is walking around with cameras that are constantly recording our surroundings at all times. There will be no reason to whisper ever again and far fewer trips to Las Vegas.
What do all these trends mean for marketing? I think the big trend for marketing in 2013 will be a continuation of what we saw in 2012 of brands not talking necessarily about themselves but more about how consumers are empowered through their brand. Google’s “Never Stop Searching” ad and Levi’s “Go Forth” are great examples. Brands will also get back to marketing fundamentals. Hyping the latest and greatest will be replaced with benefits sought and the meaning behind a brand and what they are doing to help make the world a better place. Social media will become just another piece of the overall media landscape and truly integrated into the full campaign. Same for digital and mobile. Marketing won’t be done in pieces and segments anymore, it’s time to reach people wherever you can with similar messaging to enhance recognition to drive actions.
Will there be more incredible trends for 2013? I sure hope so. This is just a realistic start.
Now that we are all creating and consuming more data than ever before with our smartphones, tablets, and our always on connection to the world it’s time for marketers to rethink the ways in which they try to get consumers to spend money with them.
The old marketing funnel says that awareness leads to interest that then hopefully gets the consumer to desire and finally to action. The basis of this model was that marketers believed they needed to change consumers emotion to change behavior. Now things are different. Researchers have found that it’s easier to change behavior than it is to change emotion.
So the new marketing funnel looks like this: discover, engage, explore, share. Consumers discover your brand though advertising, word of mouth, searching, etc. They then choose to engage when something of value is offered up like new knowledge, entertainment, and/or experiences. The consumer will then explore more of what the brand has to offer that is relevant to what the consumer wants to get out of the relationship. Finally, if they have found value in what the brand has provided and the brand has offered up ideas and entertainment that the consumer can share then the consumer will ask for their friends and followers to take advantage of that value too.
So be there when your consumers want to discover you, offer something of value, offer relevant and deep information, and help your customers share with their friends and followers.
That’s the new marketing model.
It’s funny to me that so many businesses think that they should either only be using social media or only be using traditional media for their marketing. Throughout history there have been tons of examples showing that utilizing multiple media touch points leads to far better results than just using one. It just makes sense, doesn’t it?
One recent example of great integration of social and traditional media is Taco Bell with the launch of the Doritos Locos Tacos. In their first set of radio and TV ads they asked consumers to go in and try the new tacos with the Doritos shell and then tweet their review using the twitter hashtag “#DoritosLocosTacos”. They actually said that right in the commercial! Awesome! Then after the first month of the product being available they started running radio, TV, and billboard ads with the actual twitter reactions. Even awesomer!
So the brand got a ton of traction on BOTH social and traditional media. They didn’t try to go all in on just one. Using both has brought great results for the brand as they recently reported 6% growth in same-store sales.
When you look to market your business, I realize you probably don’t have a big marketing budget like Taco Bell, but you can build some media synergy into your campaign to get much better results, because it’s #bettertogether.
Now that we’ve had plenty of time to digest the news of Facebook buying Instagram for more than $1Billion and now that we know the whole purpose was so that Facebook could have a stronger mobile strategy going forward (looking at Facebook’s S1), it’s time to take a look at why this was actually a really good deal and what it means for you.
Many people have looked at the number of users Instagram currently has and established that Facebook paid about $30 per user. That’s an incredibly high valuation when you look at it that way. But when you look at it as a mobile strategy, it’s a totally different story. It’s all because of the mobile #trajectory.
There have been some digital laws at work for the past few decades. The most popular is Moore’s Law which states that processing efficiency doubles every 18 months (check out that graph). This is the norm, and it’s been proven to be mostly accurate since 1945 through today. While Moore’s Law was established with regards to processing efficiency you can actually apply that same law to other aspects of technology. Now, you can also apply Ray Kurweil’s concept of singularity, which talks about advancement that becomes so fast that it’s nearly instantaneous. The graph below is a look at the speed of consumer adoption for technology. Look at the near instantaneous growth we are now seeing with the smartphone versus when the telephone (the old landline version) first debuted. So one could draw a conclusion that if the smartphone is growing so quickly then so is people’s usage of smartphones and the apps and mobile web they use on said smartphones.
So the mobile world is quickly expanding even in it’s infancy. It’s moving so fast that if Facebook were to ignore it, investors would be up in arms. $1Billion only represents 1% of Facebook (as long as it does IPO at the estimated $100Billion that everyone expects). Looking at these models of trajectory and realizing that Instagram has grown to 40 million users in only 2 years, it’d be more of a risk for Facebook to let that go. I still wonder what would have happened had twitter bought Instagram, could’ve been even bigger for their growth. Instagram is the YouTube of the mobile era. Really, Facebook got a damn good deal when you take all of these thoughts into consideration.
So what? You didn’t invest in Instagram, so why does all of this matter to you? It’s proof that mobile is eating the world. Existing businesses will either be reinvented around mobile or they’ll perish. Our mobile phones of today are filled with more sensors and points of data to be shared with the world than we could have ever imagined would be possible. Why wouldn’t we all want a more mobile world?
Apple today announced another record breaking earnings this quarter. It’s all driven by mobile sales (iPhone and iPad). They sold a record breaking 35.1 million iPhones in this past quarter alone (remember it didn’t exist until 2007). In 2 years Apple sold 67 million iPads. It took 24 years to sell that many Macs, 5 years for that many iPods, and over 3 years for that many iPhones. #trajectory.
With all the buzz about social media marketing I see so many marketers get caught up in the technology of it. That’s not what’s important. The technology isn’t going to buy more of your product, the people are. I think it’s incredibly important for marketers to take a step back and evaluate the basics that are at work here. I’m not talking the basics of the technology, I mean the basics of human interaction-that’s what social is all about.
There are 4 reasons why we talk. That’s right, as human beings the reason why we ever decide to open our mouths and make sounds that create words can be boiled down to one of four categories.
Reasons Why We Talk:
1. To make life easier
2. To build relationships
3. To help others
4. To form an identity
What does this mean to you and your brand? The only reason why you should speak to current and prospective customers is one (or a combination of) those 4 reasons. That’s it.
It’s also important to understand what we as humans talk about, and once again, you can boil it down to just 4 items.
What We Talk About:
1. Personal experiences
2. Other people
3. What’s around us
4. Feelings- not facts
Again, what this means for your brand is that you want to talk to your current and prospective customers along these lines. And item 4 is incredibly important for marketing. So much of the time we want to talk about specific facts that make our product or service better than our competition. But that’s not what people care about. They care about how they feel. Need an example of this? Take a look at Apple’s marketing. They rarely ever talk about specs-how fast something is, how much RAM it’s got, what kind of processor. What they do talk about is the feeling you’ll get when you can see your loved one who’s thousands of miles away with the touch of button and the emotion that elicits.
So as you look at your social strategy. Think about the very basics of our human communication because social media is about the people, not the technology.