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What to Expect in 2013: Expert Predictions for the New Year

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Though we cannot infallibly predict the future, we can look at the signs in the sky, check the direction of the wind, and use our intelligence to see what's on the horizon.

So, we asked some smart folks to share their predictions about what they see on the horizon for the new year.

Here are their predictions.


Catherine van Zuylen, VP of products

1. Social media "ownership" will shift from being the exclusive domain of marketing to a joint partnership between marketing and social care organizations.
2. An emphasis on real-time, real-world engagement will be prompted by mobile social media usage.
3. A desire will grow to standardize on one "social media tool to rule them all."
4. There will be more than just the Big 3 social media channels to consider.
5. Social media will grow as an information channel across the enterprise.


Michael Ni, CMO/SVP of Marketing and Products

"Buyer behavior has shifted over the last couple years, driven by the rapid shift to cloud-based services and solutions. Cloud has impacted the entire life cycle of how vendors must manage their customers from acquisition to retention. The bar of expectations for servicing the customer at every touch point has been raised—from selling within the context of the customer's chosen channels and servicing them when they want service. The customers today define the product and service around what they actually use.

"Digital marketing will play a greater role to service and engage the customers in an ongoing relationship in order for businesses to not only acquire new customers but also retain existing ones. This means that marketing and sales need to be more integrated in order to understand where to monetize in the customer lifecycle, drive business effectively, and go to market faster. This combination of marketing and sales will open up new opportunities to understand the customer, as one may hear or see things that the other may not."


 Cory Treffiletti, SVP of Marketing

2013 will be the critical junction for ROI, and this time next year, forward-thinking brands will take charge of their own data and re-evaluate their agency based on ability to...

  • Drive audience insights from the data layer.

  • Identify ways to maximize the use of cross channel audience data and to measure data effectiveness and ROI beyond media performance.

  • Because of this, we will see DSP with siloed DMPs suffer as a solution that is just tied to banner targeting.

2013 will be the year that channels talk to each other (search, video, social, display, and mobile).
Dark corners of digital ad practices will be scrubbed.

  • Below-the-fold ad counting practices will be eliminated as acceptable business practices.

  • Brand marketers and direct response marketers will work together for standards for display, but cross channel attribution will just begin to be addressed.


 Pawan Deshpande

"2012 was the year of content marketing, according to our annual B2B Marketing Trends Survey, which found that 87% of respondents currently use the strategy. 2013 will see continued growth of content marketing, and because of that, marketers must prepare to meet the challenge of actually providing all of the content they need for their varied channels. Many marketers struggle with producing the amount of content needed to drive successful programs, and internal efforts simply do not suffice. Marketers can employ the following strategies to run an effective content marketing program: outsourcing content creation, curating third-party content, and crowdsourcing content from a company’s user base."


 Joe Cordo, CMO

1.  Encapsulating the social data explosion

While marketers seek to master their transactional data, unstructured and semi-structured data is streaming into the enterprise from a multitude of touch points. While it is common to think of unstructured data as social, that really undervalues it. Customer service history, sales intelligence, and M2M data streams from kiosks, mobile, and geo-location services underscore the wide variety of customer engagement that takes place in structured and unstructured form.

2. The evolution of lifecycle marketing hubs

A true life cycle marketing hub requires an evolution from today’s transactional marketing systems and the need to integrate new, unstructured data sources. Most marketing organizations believe they are moving through that evolution by adopting and/or increasing their use of marketing automation systems, cross-channel campaign management platforms, and an assortment of new technologies that optimize elements of social media, mobile, display advertising, and search engine marketing. However, these systems and technologies are disparate in nature, and in many instances are not future-proofed to support unstructured data.

3. Customer profiles become the DNA for real-time customer engagement

Combining the elements of structured (i.e., demographic and firmographic) information and unstructured data (e.g., conversations, social media dialogue, email, and geo-location) from offline and online sources, the customer profile constitutes the DNA of highly segmented marketing in the customer life cycle.  As a result, marketers can then use the elements of that profile to create multiple profiles for each segment that they can then map back to the stages of the customer life cycle---Discover, Explore, Engage, and Buy. Using customer profiles is highly scalable, and taking segmentation mapping to more sophisticated levels enables marketers to then prioritize segments based on market and revenue opportunity at each stage of the customer life cycle.


Jeremy Bloom, Co-Founder

1. Many ad networks will fold in the next year.
In 2013, we will continue to see an evolution of brands moving from largely rep-driven firms to self-serve technology platforms. Even the high-profile players who do not advance their technology or improve their user experience will go out of businesses seemingly overnight.

2. A number of new monetization solutions will pop up marketwide.
With the movement to self-serve platforms, we expect to see these solutions proliferate the market. These tools will be easily accessible to use for helping site owners increase user yield and more granularly target those same users.

3. B2B demand generation will become more efficient and automated.
2012 saw early adoption by a few brands and agencies, who were breaking away from old practices of excel sheets and the batch uploads into CRM and MA platforms. 2013 will finally be the year that B2B marketers begin to bridge the automation gaps that exists between them and their consumer-facing counterparts.

4. Apple will lose ground but not without a fight.
In 2013, we should expect Apple’s marketing efforts to expand beyond just the consumer, and look for expansion into different verticals such as SMB and Enterprise business.

5.  Agencies will lose major clients as brands bring expertise in-house or use technology partners.
Major brands will announce that they are either leaving their agency of record for in-house expertise, or technology partners who will do the work for them, essentially cutting out the agency. Therefore, we’ll also see consolidation in the agency world.


 Anthony Katsur, CEO
"2013 will see more brand dollars invested in online advertising as the medium becomes more relevant to brand marketers. The rise of new metrics, particularly around visibility and interaction, allows marketers to measure success around metrics that are important to brands, rather than being forced to accept the traditional performance metrics associated with online advertising, which were not relevant for brand activity. These, coupled with technologies allowing marketers to optimize campaigns to their branding goals, will help solve the challenges that brands must overcome to make online advertising work for them."


 Gurbaksh Chahal, CEO and Founder

Increased Consolidation in the Ad Industry
The Lumascape depiction of an overcrowded industry will shrink, as strategic acquirers snap up the latest and greatest ad tech innovations in droves.

Mobile Ad Receptiveness on the Rise
In a recent poll, about half of Gen-C respondents (18-34 year olds) clicked on a mobile ad in the past 3 months and made a purchase from their mobile device in the last 6 months.  Powered by LTE and 4G, consumers can expect to be wowed by mobile ads.

Brands Move Away from Vanity Metrics
Advertisers will say, “It’s all about the money,” and tweets, likes, comments, and mentions will lose their meaning unless the engagement maps back to ROI.

Multichannel Becomes a Reality, Not Just a Buzzword
Today, about two-thirds of viewers use another device while watching TV and 90 percent use multiple screens sequentially to accomplish a single task. These viewing habits present an untapped opportunity for cross-platform campaigns.

Vertical Social Networks Will Be Hot, Hot, Hot
Consumers will move away from generic social sharing platforms in lieu of more specialized, category specific sites like Pinterest and Tumblr.


 Michael Della Penna, Senior Vice President of Emerging Channels

Marketers leverage social signals and buyer intent.
Until now, marketers have been using social media to run customer service, listen to their fans, and create a brand voice. This year, marketers will move beyond that and begin to make serious strides in using listening data, check-ins, photos, and other online behaviors to figure out social signals, including purchasing intent.

As mobile phone and tablets surge, responsive design is king.
With global smartphone sales outpacing PC sales as of 2011 and with tablet sales expected to top 100 million this year, optimizing emails to work across platforms and screen sizes is more critical than ever. Responsive design is the solution to this problem, allowing marketers to automatically adjust their campaigns across devices and screens. This ensures that the customer experience is optimal whether emails are viewed on a PC, an iPad mini, or a Windows smartphone. Now more than ever, this is what consumers demand and what brands need to deliver.

Mobile becomes a sink-or-swim platform.
2013 is widely heralded as the “year of mobile.” While this may be true, marketers also recognize mobile to be a high-risk, high-reward platform. This is because mobile is probably the most personal and intimate digital channel around. We carry our phones everywhere, are glued to them at all hours of the day, and, until very recently, we have typically expected that only our friends and family will use our phones to contact us. So while mobile marketing holds vast untapped potential, it will be crucial for marketers to approach mobile carefully, presenting consumers with creative, well-designed and permissions-based mobile experiences. Marketers that make the effort to understand customer needs and preferences on mobile will be successful in tapping the potential of this channel without alienating customers.

Visible Technologies

Richard Pasewark, CEO

“As companies continue to source marketing information from social analytics, the older generation will become increasingly concerned with the privacy of their information online. The younger Gen C will continue their rampant sharing and companies will begin to look to this demographic pool to provide the raw, most impactful insights. As the older half of Gen C begins to grow up, they will understand the repercussions of the over-sharing they engaged in as teens---the ramifications of which are just beginning to hit the early career-minded sect.”

"Social sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, will begin to restrict access of entire message feed.”

Do you agree with the predictions above? Have any of your own to share? I'd love to hear about them in the combox.

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Veronica Maria Jarski is the Opinions editor and a senior writer at MarketingProfs.

Twitter: @Veronica_Jarski

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  • by ian Fri Jan 18, 2013 via blog

    Nice article guys, "An emphasis on real-time, real-world engagement will be prompted by mobile social media usage" yes i think real time engagement will be big in 2013 mobile phones and tablets are getting much better, so many people will interact on the move

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