During a recent client workshop designed to familiarize a large organization with digital/social marketing, I noticed signs posted on the wall that said “THINK DIFFERENTLY”.
How does any organization, large or small, “think differently”? It’s an important question and really goes to the heart of implementing a Social/Mobile/Local marketing strategy. If you aren’t sure where to begin, try 10 questions to help audit your social media strategy in 2013, an excellent resource from Neal Schaffer.
I see a significant trend developing in businesses of all sizes; business leaders and owners are becoming more aware of the rapidly changing marketing landscape. The big question is “What will they do about it?”
As you read through the SoMoLo Trends of 2013 I’m highlighting in this post, ask yourself:
- Is it time to re-evaluate existing business models? – SoMoLo marketing challenges existing hierarchical structures. The idea of helping, offering content, reaching out across business functions, and organizing around customer behaviors rather than products or services are a few ways traditional business models are being challenged.
- Do I offer utility to customers? Consumers are busy and overwhelmed, inundated with information. They are looking for help not relationships; for example, they want to be efficient finding products or services and using them effectively. They are not necessarily looking for a “relationship” with the brand. Engagement will grow out of utility, brands will earn loyal customers by providing value, making their lives easier. Look for utilitarian marketing to become increasingly important as marketers observe, listen and respond to the needs of consumers.
As you’ll see in the breakout of tendencies that follow, 2013 trends reflect that consumer behavior is social, mobile and local. Marketing strategies that embrace and integrate all 3 will have a competitive advantage.
Social Trends of 2013
Search is becoming increasingly social. While Google has incorporated social into search results, Facebook has now entered the scene. A Facebook search will likely have outcomes markedly different from that of a Google search result. Though there isn’t a single factor contributing to this difference, the main reason is that a Google search result is based on web pages and link popularity, whereas a Facebook Graph Search, relies not on web pages, but instead virtual representations of real world objects: people, places and things. The connections are primarily Facebook Likes. Here is an excellent post describing how the new Facebook post is different from Google.
Read about Facebook Graph Search implications for businesses here.
Visual – the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” has never been more accurate. Pinterest has grown rapidly from a site primarily know for sharing arts and crafts to a major source of traffic. And now sites like airbnd are springing up borrowing from the Pinterest visual platform model.
Applications will continue to evolve making the editing and sharing of images easier and more popular. Make sure you are incorporating the use of high resolution images into your digital strategy. Be sure to appropriately tag images so they will be visible to search engines.
Here is one way to incorporate a visual strategy into your social media mix from fellow Windmill contributor Aaron Lee.
Content will continue to be foundational. Due to the proliferation of content it will have to be relevant, entertaining and appropriate for each platform. My friend and fellow contributor Bob Geller has an excellent post on Content Marketing: Trends to watch in 2013, definitely worth reading.
Social Shopping was a bright spot during the recent Christmas holiday season. Look for this trend to continue. Tablet activations were record breaking during the days leading up to the Christmas holiday suggesting they were a hot gift item.
Tablets are the devices of choice for online shopping. This overwhelming activation data suggests consumer demand for a relevant buying experience will place added pressure on marketers and brands to provide a relevant, dynamic, path to purchase experience.
Mobile Trends of 2013
Morgan Stanley research projects 1.5 billion smart devices by mid 2013.
Smart devices are becoming an extension of the consumer. According to a recent Millward Brown study, 55% of users consider their smartphone or tablet indispensible. The same percentage of users feel the device makes them more efficient.
Multi Screen Behavior will continue to offer opportunities to marketers who understand how to connect their messages and calls to action across platforms. Tablet use is often associated with watching TV, for example. Marketers will need to think about the link between channels; notice for example how many television shows now have hashtags at the bottom of the screen. Some shows are now creating multiple endings based on viewer input. This is only one example. A Google sponsored survey in 2012 found 66% of responders used multiple devices sequentially to shop on line, 65% started the process with a smartphone, of these 61% continued the process on a laptop or pc.
Mobile optimization now tops social media engagement. 43% of digital marketers consider mobile optimization as most exciting digital opportunity. It unseated social media engagement to take the top honor. (econsultancy study)
Local Trends of 2013
Many large marketing organizations like Amazon for example, will continue to promote hyperlocal offers. And developments continue in the world of local sharing. Here are just a few local movements taking place, reflecting the importance of local marketing to consumers:
- It’s possible that one of the largest local apps, Foursquare, could be purchased by one of the big players like Google or Facebook.
- Instagram users can now share more than just an image. You can now show and tag your images with a location to be shared on your personal “photo map.” You can then share your photo map with your Instagram followers.
- Google continues to explore ways to deliver the right information at the right time. Through Google Now, Information is automatically delivered to you as you move through your day, letting you bypass having to filter and sift through information; your Android device will automatically keep you updated on information relevant and local (traffic patterns, train routes, restaurant options, menus, favorite sports updates).
SoMoLo Trends: Putting it all together
As consumers continue to move effortlessly between platforms, communicating appropriately (based on their interest, activity and position in the path to purchase) will be increasingly important.
An integrated marketing approach is essential, brands must create memorable customer experiences by tying in offers through each SoMoLo venue seamlessly.
Companies small and large will be seeking data driven solutions that address the challenges of providing appropriate integrated solutions.
Big Data solutions will continue to evolve and software providers develop programs to help extra insight from the seemingly overwhelming amount of structured and unstructured data. Look for these solutions to become more feasible for smaller businesses.
Effective SoMoLo Marketing In Action:
Nike + is an entirely new division created by Nike to design technologies that support consumer’s sports performance activities. This group is not tied to existing shoe or apparel divisions.
- Nike+ is a community (more than 5 million strong) tied to personal growth maximizing products=SOCIAL.
- Nike+ Fuel Band app is effectively used to engage and connect=MOBILE.
- Nike+ tailors experience to location, with Nike+ Places, which maps local routes and encourages healthy competition for the Route Boss crown =LOCAL.
Trends will come and go, but no business strategy can ever be sustained for the long-term if not built around the customer experience. The 2013 trends reflect that consumer are social, local and mobile. Are you marketing on all fronts: social, mobile and local? Are you putting it all together, implementing an effective SoMoLo marketing strategy?
- The Future of Social Media in 2013: Six Points to Consider (windmillnetworking.com)
- The Future of Social Media in 2013: Six Points to Consider (socialmediatoday.com)
- 5 “Must Have’s” in any So(Social) Mo(Mobile) Lo(Local) Strategy (windmillnetworking.com)
- Global Social Media Trends in 2013 (socialmediatoday.com)
- Social Mobile Local (SoMoLo) and the Value of Connection: You Can’t Afford Missing Pieces. (windmillnetworking.com)
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net