Changes in Marketing You Need to Know For 2013

In advising my clients on marketing and related business development issues, it is often difficult to get them focused on integrated marketing approaches. Many have been sold marketing services by an agency that is not necessarily coordinated with either the overall business strategy or other marketing strategies and tactics. With the advent of a new year come a series of questions regarding the future and direction of marketing given the increased importance of the internet. Recently, Uri Bar-Joseph, director of marketing at Optify, in a blog post on the Marketing Profs website, addressed what his firm sees as trends in marketing for 2013. His opinions are offered below:


1. Digital marketing will continue to grow

It’s pretty obvious to just about everyone that digital marketing is becoming the main channel for demand generation. But despite the adoption levels of digital marketing, there’s still a lot more upside. In 2013, digital marketing will continue to see huge adoption rates as businesses of all sizes implement all manner of digital marketing tactics.

2. Digital marketing services will surge

Subsequent to digital marketing’s mass adoption, adoptions, digital marketing services will spike. Consultants, agencies, and new services will surge to support new users and meet their demand for assistance.

3. Content creation services and software will proliferate

Content marketing is becoming the core of just about every marketing initiative for B2B marketing as well as B2C. In 2013, we will see a host of software and services solutions for content creation and syndication emerge as companies try to use content for more demand- and lead-generation results.

4. Integrated marketing will gain popularity

After new channels stabilize as standalone, consistent lead-gen options (social media, content marketing) and new channels and tactics emerge with enormous promise (mobile, re-targeting), 2013 will become the year of integrated marketing campaigns. Marketers will try to combine tactics to make use of the compounded effect of multiple channels’ working in unison. The market will react as more solutions will come to offer the ability to manage and measure integrated campaigns in one place, marking a decline in the adoption of one-dimensional solutions.

5. Direct mail will make a return

While digital marketing rises, sophisticated marketers will recognize the potential of direct mail coupled with an online connection to break through the noise. Solutions and services that offer integrated—offline and online—approaches will emerge and gain traction as a result of being affordable and highly measurable.

6. Big Data applications will emerge

Big Data has been the hot topic in the media for the last 18 months, and big companies such as HP, IBM, Microsoft, and other software conglomerates have been developing solutions to tackle Big Data. In 2013, we will see solutions emerge and adopted that offer big data applications for day-to-day marketing campaigns.

7. The immeasurable will become measurable

In 2012, we noticed a lot of talk about measurement and the ability to justify marketing efforts. As ROI becomes essential to the broad adoption of any marketing tactic, in 2013 solutions and services will find ways to measure previously immeasurable tactics and evaluate their contribution to the bottom line.

8. PPC will decline as budgets move to other paid solutions

In 2012 we’ve seen the first signs of decline in PPC usage for B2B companies. In the next year, more budgets will move away from PPC to new and more affordable channels and tactics.

9. Marketing spend on software will increase

As more software and infrastructure for marketing is required, Marketing’s budget will match IT’s.

10. Sales responsibilities will move to Marketing

The expansion of lead generation responsibilities in B2B marketing is resulting in the moving of more sales-related tasks to Marketing. In 2013 we will see marketing teams take over more sales tasks, such as lead qualification, inside sales team management, and sales operations.

How about you and your company? As you think about your strategy for business growth for 2013, which of these trends have you thought about? For me, the top 3 things I want my clients to focus on are integrated marketing, metrics, and a digital marketing (including content) strategy.


Wanna Start an Entrepreneur (Political) Party?

In an article for Entrepreneur Country’s November issue, Joe Haslam critiques the last year’s election cycle in Spain. Similar to what we experienced in the United States, top candidates for the highest office in the land lauded the importance of small business. In like manner, candidates spoke highly of the value of entrepreneurship and pursuing a dream to start a business. In Spain, the Conservative Partido Popular claimed to be in sync with the perspective that high growth startups create jobs and fuel the economy on both a local and national level. Our candidates voiced similar opinions. Akin to our own situation, the conservatives claimed that the establishment was too focused on taxation and government spending to be able to encourage the right kind of economic growth.

The Partido Popular proposed (if elected) to introduce within its first 100 days in office and Entrepreneur Act meant to encourage and support the establishment of more new businesses. Issues like limited liability and zones for new business creation would be included in the legislation. Open discussions between successful entrepreneurs and the Partido Popular team charged with creating its platform were held to tackle the business registration process and the need to enforce competitive fairness procedures. Unlike the United States, this party won (but they have failed within the past twelve months to deliver what they promised.)

Instead of the press attacking the government for failing to deliver on campaign promises, it seems to make excuses ranging from the need to defend political appointments to challenges in addressing new issues that have emerged since the election. Since the Entrepreneur Act has not only not been passed, but officials now say it may be 2014, many–including Haslam–who have investments in the entrepreneurial market in Spain–have become disheartened. They no longer try to persuade talented young creative talent to stay rather than seek their fortunes in emerging markets such as Brazil, Korea, Mexico or India. 

Within the sunny setting of Santa Monica, California, there exists the home office of the Entrepreneurship Party. Not to be outdone, the Ukraine boasts its own Party of the Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. Haslam wonders aloud whether a third party focused on issues that matter to entrepreneurs and small business owners would be a better alternative than encouraging the constituents to join existing parties who have such crowded agendas that entrepreneurship is just another plank in the platform. He also draws an important distinction between business people who have only worked for big businesses and those who have grown their own enterprise organically, from the ground up. The latter group seems to have the highest likelihood of being able to be empathetic to the issues that matter, as evidenced by people like Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg  made an appearance at a TechCrunch Disrupt event to hype the new Entrepreneurial Fund in New York.

In some Western countries, politicians have followed a path of making money in the private sector prior to entering into public service. Contrastingly, an Economist article is cited claiming that many in Eastern countries see politics as the way to make the most money  fastest, and a pattern or nepotism is only recently being challenged by outsiders. In the end, it is suggested that entrepreneurs may be able to make the most difference by tackling specific issues, whether you are looking at Bill Gates’ second career as a philanthropist and the great work he is doing through his foundation, or the chairman of Zappos tackling an array of issues in Brazil through private sector initiatives.

Yet, it would be fun to see an Entrepreneur Party and how many votes it could garner, wouldn’t it? Would you just be a social media follower of such a party, or an activist?




No Buyer Insight Equals No Innovation

Yesterday, the blog post was on the value of social media inputs in marketing strategy and planning. The core thought was engaging your target market. Once you figure out why consumers like your brand, you can focus on how to give them what they want faster and easier.

Jeff Hoffman, who was on the founding team of both Priceline and Ubid, tells the story of a road trip with the pop wonder band ‘N Sync: (He was in a huge Times Square music store and had the following observation.)

As the CEO of a start-up entertainment company, I was trying to remake the movie Grease with ‘N Sync in the starring role.  And while my friendship with the band didn’t make me one ounce cooler, it did give me a unique view into the inner workings of the music industry. Because of the immense popularity of the band at that time, the owners of the major music store chain were with us in the room.  Watching people come in and out of the giant store to buy music, I asked those owners why they thought people bought music from them.

“To buy CDs,” they told me.  I replied: “I don’t think so.”  

They looked at me like I was nuts.  “Nobody anywhere wants to buy a CD,” I offered.

They responded indignantly. “Do you have any idea how many millions of CDs we sell a year?”

I pushed further, adding, “Nobody in the world wakes up in the morning thinking to themselves, ‘Wow, I wish I was holding a round piece of plastic with a hole in it right now.’  They wake up in the morning thinking, ‘I want to hear that new song in my ear! Right now!’  They have to buy a CD, but what they want is to put a song in their ear.  Right now!” 

Walking away in disgust at my apparent stupidity, the CEO said to me: “What’s the difference?”

Clearly, the CEO did not understand how to give customers what they wanted faster and easier. Napster was the first to try and harness the power of the customer preference, but they ran into legal snags. Apple, through the iTunes brand and a legal approach, came up with  a service, then tied it to a proprietary device and made money on both. In the meantime, record companies and music stores have seen declining margins and top line revenues lost.

Pandora took the iTunes model and provided music on demand. More recently, Spotify began offering streaming music from playlists that consumers could create. Hoffman says that the music chain of stores he was visiting with ‘N Sync in New York City eventually filed for bankruptcy.  Why? Their executive team did not understand why customers came in to buy records.

Take a look at your own situation. Have you clearly identified your business objective and target market?  What motivates your customers?  Hoffman shares that, in the early days of Priceline, when a group of the founding executives and he discussed the fact that they were not selling airline tickets for a living.  Instead, the team saw their “product” as  helping someone get you to a sister’s wedding, at an affordable price.  The difference in perception resulted in an improvement in service.

You too can improve your service by paying better attention to what motivates and engages your target audience. Think through how you can connect with them. How can you make it as easy as possible for them to do business with you instead of the other company? What can you do to help them get what they want faster, at a competitive price?




Does Your Marketing Reflect These 5 Social Media Inputs?

Do you use social media to enhance the customer intelligence of your target market? If not, your marketing is incomplete. Part of establishing a brand is to know what buyers are thinking. What better way to engage than to have a dialogue? Yet, many businesses only have monologues–they don’t listen to what the other party is saying and adjust their conversation accordingly.

When you embrace the power of social media, you tap into the competitive intelligence that enables you to minimize risks associated with media buys, new product development, and misguided sales efforts. As you gather insights into the thoughts of your prospective audience, you are able to make decisions in real time. Molly Gallatin reports an Association of National Advertisers survey which finds that 90% of companies are using social media as part of their digital marketing efforts, but 62% report they are concerned about measuring ROI—indicating at least some difficulty in deriving useful intelligence from their social media efforts.

Gallatin’s article illustrates how you can tie the kind of rich, actionable customer intelligence you can glean from social media into five overarching marketing decisions.

1. Retail Partner Valuation
At Compass Labs, we recently executed a campaign for a major consumer packaged goods brand, in the process unearthing a simple yet extremely significant fact: Its customers had more affinity for one mass market retailer than for others–in fact, much more affinity. The company used this information to drive more sales through that particular retailer by steering more overall advertising dollars its way.

But that’s not the only way that information could have been used. For example, the company could have used the information to build business at a secondary retailer, or it could have used the information to affect pricing and packaging. As it is, that little piece of information paid huge dividends and informed critical decisions.

2. Customer Acquisition Strategies

Especially now that social media networks are connected to ad exchanges and real-time bidding (RTB) technology, brands have access to real-time customer intelligence,  not just to what their fans and followers said about them yesterday. You can get a complete profile of users who are interested in your brand that tells you who they are, what they like, and the things they do. Social intelligence reveals what websites they visit, what events they attend, and their favorite fashion brand.

Use such information to establish a relationship and two-way dialogue with users and acquire them as customers. Rely on your most engaged “fans” as brand advocates and use the interactivity of social to acquire customers through word of mouth. Discover an entirely new segment of users ripe for conversion that extends the audience you initially sought.

Customer acquisition has reached a whole new depth and level of interconnectivity. When considering growth strategies in a tough economy, intelligence you gain from social media is crucial in driving customer segmentation, audience targeting, and even off-social marketing.

3. Brand Sentiment

We’ve been in the middle of the election, and it’s been especially easy to see how brand sentiment can be understood and effectively managed across social media. What’s played out before us is a head-to-head brand battle the likes of which we haven’t seen since Coke and Pepsi’s taste-test wars.

For example, one presidential candidate’s messaging focuses on job creation; the other candidate’s messaging is about lower taxes. Seeing a positive reaction to these different points of view, the candidates’ campaigns immediately positioned messaging around “tax reform” (Romney) and “no off-shoring” (Obama). Don’t think the candidates and their advisors don’t know how these messages play.

This kind of sentiment strategy is not limited to politics. Social media intelligence can feed brand sentiment analysis and enable you to quickly execute your corresponding marketing strategies. On the flip side, negative brand sentiment can also be quickly detected and remedied by harnessing social media as a CRM strategy.

4. Media Placement and Value

You don’t have to guess which media are most effective at engaging your customers. You can track the actions a user takes on Facebook after seeing or clicking on your ad, and attribute off-site conversions to ad views or clicks. This allows you to make creative ad placements and strategically optimize them.

Plus, knowing your engaged audience’s favorite TV shows and websites allows you to take this kind of optimization off-social.

5. Competitive Evaluations

Let’s go back to the retailing analysis that we did for the CPG company, but let’s flip it around and analyze the retailers. If a set of five retailers were in this competitive picture, the retailers themselves could use the natural-language processing technology that drives sophisticated social media intelligence to understand one another’s fan base and social standing.

At the most basic level, each brand’s number of Facebook “likes” serves as a measure of customer engagement. But the retailers could go further and look at actual engagement levels via Facebook’s People Talking About This (PTAT) metric. Comments and shares, different affinity markers, and common interests are some other good ways to measure and predict competitive success.

What Medium Do You Choose to Publish?

This week marked the announcement of Medium, the newest offering of Evan Williams and Biz Stone. These are the two “rock star” entrepreneurs who successfully created Blogger and Twitter. What they are trying to do with their newest venture is to redefine how and why content is published on the web.

In his first blog post about the new concept, Williams says Medium represents only “a sliver” of what he and his team have learned about publishing and the need for innovation. Blogger pioneered the premise that one could publish for free whenever and wherever desirable and create a reading audience. While the effort was revolutionary at the time, it has become commonplace as other substitutes and competitors have pursued the same target market. To “up the ante,” Williams thinks that collaboration and quality content that is crowdsourced are the new frontier:

“Lots of services have successfully lowered the bar for sharing information, but there’s been less progress toward raising the quality of what’s produced. While it’s great that you can be a one-person media company, it’d be even better if there were more ways you could work with others.”

Pinterest postures as a collaboration platform where favorite objects (mainly photos) from the Web can be saved and shared. Crowdsourcing quality content through reader votes is done in differing ways by Digg, Reddit, and Tumblr. Of these, Tumblr is the best of the bunch for publishing and sharing content. In the dual realm of curation and instant publishing RebelMouse, uses social-networking activity to create a curated page of content that can be organized by preference, and Svbtle is a simplified blog platform with a stripped-down design.

Matthew Ingram, writing for GigaOm, observes that “both of the things Evan Williams is famous for also looked either unnecessary or unimpressive, and in some cases both. Blogger was cool if you were a geek and wanted your own website, but it was far from obvious at the time that self-publishing was going to become something huge or crack open the media industry in a fundamental way. And Twitter looked so ephemeral (not to mention the ridiculous name) that many people dismissed it as a plaything for nerds that would never amount to anything. So as Aaron Levie of noted on Twitter, it doesn’t pay to underestimate Williams when it comes to this kind of thing.”

Ingram says that Medium looks like a combo of Pinterest & Tumblr, though not proficient at text contributions. Furthermore, he references Josh Benton of the Nieman Journalism Lab as saying that Medium subverts the notion of the author as the most important thing about the content. Medium is focused more on the value of the content, regardless of who is producing it or voting on it. Instead of a blog or collection showing whatever is the newest thing — the typical reverse-chronological format used by most blogs and publishing platforms — Medium sorts according to popularity (similar to Digg.) does (in a similar way, tools like Prismatic sort items based in part on the social activity around that content).

The social media culture demands more from publishing; BuzzFeed and the recently-launched Branch (also incubated by Obvious Corp.) are trying to become viable, popular solutions. Time will tell whether Medium is better than anything else out there. As Levie put it, don’t bet against it!