It’s December, which means it’s time to speculate about what the forthcoming year will bring in the world of marketing, social media and demand generation. For us this is more than just a fun-filled exercise: The success of our business depends on a reasonably accurate forecast of trends.
Herewith we present our 2013 predictions.
1. The three major social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) will aggressively promote paid campaigns to businesses at the expense of display advertising in general, and Google in particular. We’ll see more contests, surveys, giveaways and content promotions. Of particular interest will be Google’s reaction – or lack of one.
2. The concept of “surround marketing” will come to the forefront. The idea is to use both inbound and outbound campaigns to reach prospects and customers in consistent and continuing manner through a variety of channels. The foundation of these efforts will be a variety of retargeting tactics:
- site retargeting
- search retargeting
- CRM retargeting
- email retargeting
- SEO retargeting
Additional insights about retargeting are available here.
3. WordPress will continue to increase its popularity and make further inroads into the enterprise, SMB, and start-up segments. More business-focused plugins will be a key enabler.
4. Fights between marketing and sales will become more intense as these organizations struggle over ownership of the sales funnel. Marketing will increase its control by using increasingly sophisticated marketing automation platforms purchased with larger budgets. The additional high-quality leads that are generated will make the conflict essentially meaningless. (Unfortunately, no one has yet invented a technology that will eliminate emotions associated with needing to control sales funnels.) In turn, demand generation will attract more attention from venture capitalists who will jump on the marketing automation bandwagon.
5. Versions of websites and cloud applications for mobile platforms (tablets, phones, etc.) will become mandatory, if only for competitive parity. These will become standard checklist items for all solution developers.
6. We will see unprecedented creativity for call-to-action (CTA) stimuli. Coupled with that trend will be more use of A/B testing to take the guesswork out of choosing among CTA alternatives.
7. Marketplaces for applications tied to major cloud platforms will expand and proliferate. Witness the success of Salesforce’s AppExchange. The ability to add a small bit or a large chunk of functionality via a button click is truly a disruptive advance in business computing.
8. Content will become even more important. Sourcing content is the single biggest issue for CMOs. And once enough content is available, managing it across multiple social media platforms becomes a headache. Content Management Systems (CMSs) for social media exist, but the need for them will come to the forefront. More and better solutions will become available.
The following predictions are specific to marketing automation.
9. The revised SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall model forced the demand generation community to reconsider the need for marketing automation features designed for inside sales teams. What had been viewed as a corner case will receive due consideration from platform vendors during the next year.
10. Reporting will improve significantly on marketing automation and analytics platforms. Enhanced data manipulation and presentation tools will make life easier. The future will look something like the products from Tableau Software.