Top Trends for 2013: Marketing Moves On

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If you asked a major brand ten years ago if consumers would share their life’s details, regardless of how mundane, online and, as a result, become the biggest producers of online content and wielders of influence, you would have gotten a firm “no” and likely a confused stare. In the past, major news and entertainment outlets had a firm grasp on producing and distributing content to consumers. Advertisers controlled the audience, knowing exactly where their audience was and how to reach them.

Marketing trends 2013

That unfathomable thought ten years ago is today’s reality. Consumers are increasingly more tech savvy, connected on the go, and spend hours a day browsing blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and video sites. Unknowingly, consumers have collectively started a groundswell of “home-made content” that expresses their views online about everything from products, services, relationships, and beyond. The quickness of the transition and volume of participation has caught brands and marketers off guard, as they now have to grapple with where to find, and then how to engage, their audiences.

2013’s emerging trends will focus on how to measure, analyze, and engage audiences effectively on social networks. Here are a few I see coming this year.

Locating your audience

Aggregating data is the key to winning today’s marketing game — spending big money to engage small audiences that “may be relevant” leads to poor returns. But while finding your audience is the most critical step, it is also the most difficult because users move from platform to platform and find new content quickly. The solution? Deploy strategies that allow you to monitor viral video, micro-blogging, blogs, e-commerce, image sharing, and social media sites. While this process may seem laborious, a good monitoring tool will help you keep regular snapshots of where your audience is and what they’re talking about. While some of these tools can be pricey, there are great inexpensive options that will scale with you and your team as you grow your engagement.

Analyzing the site

The way you engage with a particular site is just as important as finding the right site in the first place.  Remember that not all sites were created equal and each has its own unique qualities, so it’s beneficial to understand how the site operates. If it is a social media site, then deploying banner ads would be a waste of resources since most users are completely focused on the content their friends share and oblivious to the edges of the page. This is also apparent on mobile platforms where users rarely click on ads.  Reaching users on social sites often means having meaningful content or offers that can be included within the course of existing conversations.

Thinking multi-platform

Becoming a part of the conversation cultivates community and helps you to reach more people in the right places. Those who spend their money on banner ads will find the messages stuck on computer screens while the companies who allocate some of their budget on figuring out how to become part of the conversation will find their brand being taken wherever their consumers go.  Think like your audience and become part of the conversation, you will have more opportunities to align your message with the right targets and influencers.

Finding the (right) influencers

Social media sites have given birth to an interesting group of people—online influencers.  On any social media site there are a handful of influencers that help shape a brand’s image or keep a specific topic alive and relevant. These influencers break through the clutter and chatter because their audience trusts and respects their opinions.  Remember that influencers are different across different channels, so the user who has thousands of Twitter followers may not be the person topping Pinterest pins. Once you’ve identified your influencers on the channels important to your brand, reach out to them and you’ll be more effective in fostering discussion.

Measuring the effect

Measurement is a vital part of every campaign as metrics determine the effectiveness of the campaign and outline steps and strategies moving forward. This task may seem more difficult in social media, but by measuring mentions, types of discussion, segmentation by channel, and the sentiment around the conversation you have interesting data to show ROI. For e-commerce sites, taking this data and merging it with web analytics data can tell you how effective the conversation was in driving web traffic and sales.

As we move into 2013, social media outreach and analysis will continue to be an increasingly important component for making marketing campaigns successful, and should garner just as much time and preparation as traditional campaigns. As more social sites emerge, further fragmenting the landscape, having access to and using the right technology to locate, monitor, analyze, and engage your audience will make or break marketing and marketers.

Photo credit: Marketing Moves On – courtesy © vege – & © CYCLONEPROJECT 

Vishal Sankhla

Vishal Sankhla

Co-founder & CTO at Viral Heat
Vishal Sankhla is the Co-founder and CTO of Viralheat, a social media intelligence platform. Vishal's expertise is in large scale network monitoring and analysis. Vishal... Read Full Bio
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  • Yes, the next few years are going to see inbound marketing thriving. We are moving from the era of content marketing to context marketing – delivering the right content at the right time to to right people who need that piece of content.. When we say content , its not just written content, videos, images, blogs, infograhics, social media posts and more..

    • Exactly! Timing will be key in making sure the right content can reach the audience at the right time.

  • Very true except that the day has already arrived. Inbound marketing with an emphasis on context has been around and is only now starting to be recognized as an important component of content distribution.

  • Psychogrsphics will greatly enhance the efficiency of context marketing. It has been around for a while and tools like getglue and foursquare can play a large part in further understanding/predicting behavioral tendencies.

  • Great article. I agree with a lot of what you said especially about the importance of social media. It seems like anything and everything is now being shared through social media.

    Many websites are still not incorporating social media with their campaigns which I believe is a total mistake.



    • Yup, we are seeing more and more businesses slowing increasing adoption of Social Media. That is main reason we think this is so early and we are in a nascent market. There is tremendous potential and we are excited to play our part in this journey.

  • “Once you’ve identified your influencers on the channels important to your brand, reach out to them and you’ll be more effective in fostering discussion.”

    Beyond just finding people with a large following, Do you have any tips for identifying influencers. I’m sure it can vary widely depending on the channel and the topic, but I would be interested to see a general overview of your techniques. Thanks for the post.

    • Hi Matt,

      Every platform is different so an influence for a Twitter might not be a big influencer on Pinterest. Right now we mainly look at key elements of each platform that has an impact. For e.g. for Twitter it might be Followers or Klout score, for Website it might be page view or unique visitors and for Pinterest it might be different. We give the end user to slice and dice the way they want to look at influencers. For some businesses a person who is very passionate and talking a lot about the brand or product might be an influencer where as someone who talk about your brand atleast once but has a huge impact or huge following might be another way to look at influencers.

  • Excellent article. We’ve just launched Ripple Platform. We’d love to talk to businesses who want to build better real-time actionable intelligence.

  • Hey Vishal,

    Thanks for your post. I’m fully behind the “multi-platform” concept. After all, we’re the same person regardless of what network we use to chat, and the business that can act on that and monitor the full conversation are going to make it.

    How important do you see this for small businesses? I work with small guys, and always keen to hear what people are thinking and how they think the space will change. We also put together our thoughts on what 2013 will bring from them. What do you think?

    Looking forward to your feedback.


  • I like this post. I struck on the part of the article where, marketer should “become part of the conversation of your audience”, get involved with them like your childhood friends and it will be your marketing treasure to be reap soon.

  • This post is a little simplistic for a very large topic, and clearly skewed from the perspective of a social media analytics company. These ” emerging trends” revolving around how to measure and engage using social media are nothing new – and far from the only key trends for the coming year. .

    While it’s a critical part of the overall marketing mix, I don’t feel social is where ALL the action is. PR is exploding, content marketing and social media are increasingly being considered a PR tactic rather than overall marketing, and SEO will continue growing in importance (and spend) as companies realize all that money invested in PR, social and content marketing is missing a critical step.

    After all, what good is fantastic content if it has trouble being found?

    I also see authorship becoming more and more important. What good is content marketing if it helps the publication be found, but it doesn’t connect the dots to the specific author? For example, I’ve written for some of the largest publications in our industry (MarketingProfs, Convince & Convert, Social Media Today and PR Daily), yet NONE of those articles show up on a simple Google search of my name. The article topic, yes, but not my name as the author. This credibility is why I write – and why we do PR for our clients, placing bylines on credible publisher’s websites. As content marketers realize this is a critical missing link, publishers will be forced to place more importance on how they are integrating SEO on behalf of their authors.

    Carrie ~