What newer, technology-fueled small business marketing practice do you think is going to make the most buzz in 2013 and why?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
With visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest getting so much attention, businesses are going to want to know how to use these to connect with their audiences in more sophisticated ways. This means that marketers will begin posting ‘how to’s’, hosting webinars, and selling packages to help them with demand for better brand imaging.
2. Metric-Based ESPs
Metric-based email service providers have really started to come into their own and have become much easier to implement as of late. I’m not talking about just sending emails, I’m talking about sending an email based off of actions your users take. So if they haven’t been visiting your site for a week you can email them saying, “Hey come back!”
3. Data-Driven Markteting
2013 will be looked at as the year that marketing became less about the anachronistic “Mad Men” creative types and will instead be driven by the “Math Men” who relentlessly optimize their messaging. Much the way Billy Beane’s stats driven culture change the way baseball operates, you can see the roots of similar transformation in marketing all around.
Forget search engines, social marketing, and paid advertisements. It’s now all about how to influence consumer behavior through game mechanics. Gamification leads to more loyal customers, more customer referrals, and positive brand association, which are current challenges that many brands face. I expect 2013 to be the year Gamficiation consultants become the new “it” title on LinkedIn.
5. Localized Content
When we think “localized” content today, we think global websites that customize their offerings for each country or market. What marketers will be doing soon is refining that same process for more specific geographic regions. For example, businesses will not only create landing pages for their advertising campaigns, but may deploy IP logic to serve up different versions for each city and state.
Hypertargeting is here, and it’s here to stay. While the Romney campaigns ‘Orca’ system didn’t make the big splash they hoped it would — others are faring much better. Companies like Gil Elbaz’ Factual are a testament to this– serving up rich, accurate data to thousands of business eager to understand their customers better.
7. Things That Can Be Meme-fied
Major brands will successfully release ads and images with the express purpose of remixes, memes, and more coming from them. It’s an increasing lack of control — but, for the right product/campaign, lack of control can lead to enormous reach.
Personalization, the practice of tailoring messaging and choices to consumers based on their unique characteristics or purchase histories, is going to be the shining star of marketing in 2013. Not only does personalization promise higher ROI on advertising spends, now more than ever, there are also new technologies that marketers can deploy for personalizing emails, sites and in-store experiences.
9. Mobile Tools for Small Biz
I’m anticipating an explosion of mobile tools, especially brandable and customizable mobile apps, to help connect and provide selling opportunities to the digital communities and blog readers of small businesses and independent entrepreneurs in 2013. But whether its big or small biz, mobile will remain a major focus of marketing and business innovation throughout 2013 and beyond.