2013 Marketing Outlook/Predictions: Content is the Thing
Every year I put together content marketing/digital marketing predictions for the coming year. I have been trying to come up with something fresh and then it hit me that we may be past talking about how these tactics and platforms are the hot new thing. They have arrived. Digital platforms, including social and mobile have become the major force and channel for marketers. Content marketing and storytelling have become the primary engine for a company’s customer engagement strategies. The “new new thing” has become the thing.
There is still an important place in the marketing mix for traditional advertising across several platforms, but the method of interrupting people while they are consuming content and entertainment is on the wane. Readership of newspapers and magazines continue to decrease as does viewership of network television. Advertising is sort of like the personal computer, they both have a huge installed base and not going anywhere soon, but you get a sense their best days are behind them.
Marketers across a spectrum of companies know they need a content strategy if they are going to efficiently attract new customers and retain the ones they currently have. It is clear that to have a successful social media strategy, you need something to say and that is where your content strategy comes in to play.
Companies are also realizing that generating leads in the digital age is not all that hard, but converting them to customers is harder than ever. Content is a critical component of a nurture campaign to bring customers through the sales funnel to become a customer.
Another popular use of content is to build an emotional relationship with customers that supersede the need to sell on price and features. This article highlights a few companies doing it well, Coke, Red Bull, GE, Kraft and Nike. For some companies content can help transform a transactional sale into a lifestyle brand – this is what Coca-Cola and Red Bull have in mind by turning themselves into media brands.
This good piece from the Harvard Business School names the “Content Economy” the top trend to watch for 2013. Could not agree more, the time is now.
Here are a few other predictions for 2013. Let me know if you agree or have your own in the comments section.
The San Francisco 49ers will beat Peyton Manning’s Broncos in the Super Bowl. This will give SF a second championship to pair with the Giants’ World Series win.
Whatever deal the President and Congress come up with to avert the fiscal cliff with solve not a single long term problem. The economy will lag with 2% growth and 7.5%+ unemployment throughout 2013. Americans really want big government, but want the other guy to pay for it. Not a recipe for success.
The revamped American Idol will falter significantly in the ratings but still be on top due to an overall decline in network TV viewership.
Reality TV will steam ahead led by shows such the Real Housewife franchise and rural themed shows like Duck Dynasty. People prefer real life storytelling to redundant plots from scripted TV.
More newspapers will erect pay walls for online content as the banner ad business falls under price pressure and less people subscribe to print. Newsroom staffs will need to be drastically scaled back over time. More magazines will follow Newsweek and The Sporting News to an online only model.
Apple’s stumble on Maps was a giant mistake; it opens the door for Samsung and Google. The aura of an infallible company was burst in an instant, a lesson for everyone.
The Microsoft Surface and phones based on Windows 8 will not catch fire. RIM will sell itself to someone, perhaps Google. Tablets of all kinds will continue to sell furiously which means marketers need to think about mobile as a primary consumption platform vs. the web. Nearly half of all emails will be read on a mobile device.
I don’t think Apple has anything big up their sleeve when it comes to TV for release in 2013, but they are working on it for 2014.
Facebook stock will hover in the high 20’s as they throw everything at the wall to find revenue. Their long-term success is based on getting more money from companies to promote and sell their products via FB. Look for a big push for social commerce with Pinterest to follow. There is a limit to how much these platforms can make with ads alone.
Companies will try harder to monetize Twitter (now at 200 million active users) and drive sales with deals and retail tie ins. Twitter will need to find a better source of revenue than promoted tweets and trends. Look for them to foster more partnerships with television networks and Nielsen. Their future may be as a complimentary platform to broadcast and cable TV. Twitter is becoming the go to place for breaking news and quick reaction. And, over-reaction and feigned outrage, case in point this week’s change in terms of service for Instagram. You would think the world was ending.
Social Media experts and consultants will try and make you feel like you are missing out on the next hot thing and you are falling behind. They want you to believe they have figured it all out. Don’t stress, the famous line about Hollywood also applies to social media – “No one knows anything.” We are roughly 5 minutes into the social media era – now is the time to experiment and see what works for your company and brand. Keep trying new things and have some fun with it.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!