It feels like every January, we see list after list of business forecasts for the year to come. And more often than not, they feel a bit repetitive and not all that inspiring. Well – and not to give 2013 an overblown ego – we feel fairly confident that this year will see a departure from the usual, predictable trends in small business marketing in favor of some refreshing, enthusing changes. Here’s a peek at what we see coming down the road in terms of small business marketing:
Smarter social media
The last few years have been all about every business feeling obligated to create a dynamic presence on every social media platform. Now that we’re getting the idea that the set of hot social media sites is never going to be a static group, that there will always be the hot social media outlet du jour, the idea that we should all feel pressed to utilize and engage on every available front is not only unreasonable, it’s a strategy that could only lead to depressingly disparate engagement. Instead, we believe 2013 will be the year that small businesses become confident and adept enough at social media integration to pick just the platforms that make the most sense for their business. Because that’s the reality: not all social media sources are perfectly suited to every industry. Hopefully this will be the year that each business figures out where are the most worthwhile places to reach their audience, and see greater returns as a result.
Simplicity will reign supreme
Maybe it was “Gangnam Style” that pushed us over the edge of overstimulation, but as we embark upon a new year, the overwhelming feeling among consumers is one of exhaustion. There is a sense that, from the hyper-connectivity of our highly-digitized lives to the bright, flashy, complicated sensory input we’re fed everyday, there is no way to continue this pace. As a result, 2013 is likely to be a year where the most successful marketing strategies will be ones that are not only simple in nature, but promote goods and services that serve to simplify the consumer’s life, or even just their customer experience.
Campaign-based marketing will take a break
As a marketing strategy, campaigns are great…in theory. The problem with focusing on a tactic that involves a set group of marketing activities and processes centered around one theme is that is operates on a company-based timeline. Inherently, this neglects to account for the timeline of the customer, which is, at this point, almost entirely real time. Up until now, companies have been progressively integrating social media and real time customer engagement as a supplement to campaign-based marketing. We think that from here on out, real time marketing (through social media and website) will be the focus…and we’re super excited to see what inspired strategies come from that
Marketing will be more tied to revenue generation
We were fairly surprised to read a recent study by Fournaise Marketing Group that cited 73 percent of executives as not believing that marketing was significantly tied to creating revenue. We think that’s terrible logic, and 2013 is going to be the year everyone else catches up. Instead of just measuring lead generation, marketing’s worth to a company will start being weighed against sales growth. This could entirely change marketing’s key performance indicators, which, ideally, will lead to a more effective marketing department altogether.
Mobile will get its due
Last year, more people purchased smartphones than PCs. Seriously. While it feels like we hear the word “mobile” more than our own names these days, global marketers haven’t entirely caught up; 90% of them have a mobile site, but only 20% include mobile strategies as a fully integrated part of their overall marketing plan. If nothing else on this list comes to fruition, count on “mobile” being a bigger, bolder line item on every major marketer’s strategy this year.