Top 13 Trends In Digital Marketing for 2013 – The CXO’s Guide

1. Watch Our For Tectonic Shifts In The Digital Media

Watch out for new technologies, platforms and tools, as well as advancements in that which already exists.

Will Facebook search replace Google in search dominance? Will WhatsApp, BBM, Skype, Facetime, etc. slowly but surely erode Facebook status updates, comments and likes given the way mobile users are using social networks? Will handheld devices suddenly topple traditional computing?

2. Watch Out For Facebook Changes

Facebook gave us a new brand / profile page, and also added the Timeline feature early last year. Expect more changes this year. Facebook is experimenting doing away with the thumbnail images that support the tabs such as photos, friends on individual profile pages.  Expect that this could happen to brand pages too. Facebook is also changing privacy settings for users. Will these changes affect how your brand is engaging with your customers? Keep a watch!

3. Mobile Marketing Will Be The In Thing

This year will be even more `mobile’ then 2012 with 900 million plus mobile phones out there. A Nielsen NM Incite study reveals that 46% of all social media users use their smartphones to access their favorite social networks and 16% use their tablets for the same.

In India, mobile phones are increasingly becoming the `smarter’ variant. Last reported there were 27 million smart phones in the country. What is interesting is the extensive usage of search, social media interactions and apps on mobile phones.

4. Visuals Will Be The Name of The Game

Visual messaging, visual engagement, visuals speak a thousand words and multiply your reach! It is actually just going back to basics. Why is photography/cinematography so critical in the success of a movie, or the making of an ad? The visuals are necessary and empower messaging more than just words can. Photos on Facebook generate 53 % more likes than regular posts. ‘Virals’ are not made, they `happen’.

5. Content Continues To Be King

It’s the 30-second ad that will run for the next few months v/s content everyday that engages, and aims at content excellence. As digital marketing blogger Jeff Bullas puts it: “Create online buzz and virality through liquid content. Content so contagious that it cannot be controlled.”

Plus content that’s hot out of the oven. Your brand, your company is doing things every day. Your content should consist of news, updates, or content from the brands universe that touches relevant and recognizable touch points with the consumer.

Keep the hot news ready to be served as it comes. On your website, in the social space, and all findable on search engines.

6. Breaking Digital Clutter Will Get Tougher

With more brands and corporate realizing the power of the web, they are all out there doing there SEO, SMO, Website updates, etc. etc. The digital clutter will only increase. Getting the audience to engage with you will not be easy. Getting them to click on your link will depend ultimately on what you have to offer. Refer point 5.

7. On-set of Real Time Marketing & Internal/External Communications

Yes, we know we can do real time media planning and buying. But what is going to be even more exciting is real time marketing. Buyers are engaging real time on company websites and social media with the sellers, and in every product segment. What’s more digital is becoming all pervasive. So it’s use is not just restricted to marketing any more but PR, sales, CRM, corporate communication, et al.

Brand pages on Facebook get posts that relate to purchase enquiries, and on another extreme even employees or hired help talking about low wages! CXOs have to say goodbye to advance campaign planning and traditional modes of interactions, and look at nimble-footed communication plans.

8. Importance of Off Page SEO Will Increase Thanks To Social Media

With increase in social linkages, sharing, fragmentation and spread of what is being said about your brand, your off page optimization has to be robust. Linking, monitoring, seeding content, targeting influencers and addressing the audience where they are will increasingly start counting for your Page Rank on search engines.

9. Contextual Content Marketing Will Emerge

Serving the right content in the right context of what your customer is seeking will become increasingly important. More and more `targeted marketing’ will be the name of the game.

10. Marketing Will Become More Human

A face to the voice that speaks will become increasingly important. Be it the profile of who is tweeting on behalf of your company, or the CEO’s blog or twitter account or the way you respond to your audience on twitter. A face adds credibility and the audience will increasingly look for this credibility in a highly competitive environment.

11. Opt-In Email Lists Can Give A Marketing Edge

Email is not out, email is in, we check it everyday. We click on offers from mailing lists, we read articles that interest us in the weekly news digests we subscribe to, we click on links forwarded to us via email. Smart marketers will focus on building these email lists and getting the consumer coming back for more regularly. The bigger and better your list, and better the targeting you do with it, the better your marketing returns.

12. Lead Generation Budgets Will Shift To Digital

As opposed to 2 per cent response rate in mass media marketing, digital media marketing can give 10 per cent or even higher responses. Topping this is the fact that you pay only for media that delivered, CPC (cost per click) deals are dominating digital media spends. What’s more you can control what you want to spend for the lead.

13. Device Agnostic & Device Independent

Be it through responsive design or sheer investment in content that can be served for multiple screens, marketers will realize the need to invest in either or. While compatibility across screens is any digital content designer’s dream, it will take a while. Not in 2013 at least.

But equally important, will be the need to go digital at new touch points, be it through mega-digital activations across outdoor media, at point of purchase, at events, malls or even in sub-way stations. Tesco increased their sales without increasing the number of stores by creating virtual stores at subways, considering that where the hard working Korean may actually consider shopping as they waited for their daily commute.

How the Marketer Can Prepare

Leaders of all types must have at least a high-level understanding of how social and digital technologies work. Even if your corporation is not pursuing the digital media, social and new technology – opportunities there are possibilities of unavoidable challenges and risks. Either posed by your end-consumer who has adopted these, or by the competition.

As Courtney Hunt, Founder of Social Media in organizations aptly posts in her post on Social & Digital Tech Trends : 9 Take-Aways For YOU: Being digital dinosaur is a luxury few people can afford.

What trends do you see emerging in the months ahead? We would love to hear. Please post your comments or mail us on info@bcwebwise.com

The BIG Fight – Facebook vs. Your Own Website: What Did She Choose?

It has been two years and the struggle has been on, and this morning we met up with our client and she opened the meeting with ‘I agree with you guys, we need to focus on our website.’

As our hearts sang hallelujah she added the icing to the cake, ‘And yes we need to re-focus on our Search rankings.’

Whew!

In the 24 months that preceded the social media rage had got our nerves racking. Headlines that said ‘Do you need a website when you have Facebook’, had got completely sold out to this client. And as much as we saw the perils of this, we failed at convincing her.

So how did we finally make the pitch? We focused on some facts:

  • People are on Facebook to Socialize, they get to know the updates of friends, family, acquaintances.
  • They ‘like’ brands that give them good content and these may be brands they probably already like offline too.
  • They engage with the brand too, by sharing, posting comments and it is true that your brand’s facebook page helps tremendously in conveying brand benefits, building brand recall and even loyalty.
  • What’s more is that when friends and peers are liking and sharing content and info from your brand they become great influencers.

But equally and more so:

  • People use the Google search bar when trying to seek any information or entertainment.
  • This search leads them to various links where they can get more information.
  • When making a choice people are likely to check 2-3 of these links:
    • Your company or brand website
    • A compare website – which may be a forum or blog that talks about others too in your category
    • Probably your facebook page too to see how the conversations are around your brand and what is the tonality like.
    • Your potential customer then visits your website expecting to get much more information than they did anywhere else. Your entire range, contact information, product related info, for instance. They want to see what other value adds you have for them. A club membership? Special offers? Store locators? Feedback form?
    • These users know that Facebook is like a large department store in which you have your exclusive counter, but they expect that you will have your own corporate hub too.
    • Failure to have your own website, or presentation of a poorly update one can actually result in them wondering if you are so big after all. Your credibility, worthiness, after sales, all can come to question.

Critical Add Ons: Information Sharing & Information Capture

Before posting this blog we shared it with our team heads and they point out other significant and strategic issues that should help you make your choice. Our IT-Head, Sanil Pradhan, points out: “Visitor detail capturing which is possible on a website by creating forms is not allowed on Facebook.” Indeed, let us add that at east 50 per cent of our business leads come from the form created on the bcwebwise.com website. We are still to get a single lead via our social media presence. Adds Varun Joshua, our creative director: “Facebook is structured/ designed to enhance conversation between people with limited options to communicate a brand message through visuals, experience, interaction – which a website does. It’s restrictive in that sense.”

Moral of the story:

  • YES to Facebook – it is a reach and branding medium, you need it the audience is there.
  • MUST to Website – It is a marketing and branding medium, a domain that your audience is going to visit when they are most likely to make a brand choice.

Most Imp: How did we convey the above to our client?

Not over one meeting (though we must confess we tried). We looked up blogs of top influencers in this space, people who really knew how digital works and who write well (like Pam Moore, Jeff Bullas) and shared some of their postings — so thank you to them

While we did this, we also prayed to the almighty forces to please help the client see the light. So yes, to tell you the truth, we don’t know if it was these posts, or someone from the top up who also thought like us that did the influencing, or it was our prayers. But something did give in.

So to all clients and peers

If you are a client sitting on the fence we hope that this post helps you make your decision. And if you are another agency like us, hope this helps you convert your client.

[polldaddy poll=6007124]

Visit us on http://www.bcwebwise.com
Follow us @bcwebwise
Like Us http://www.bcwebwise.com
LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/company/bc-web-wise