Analysis: 10 Online Marketing Trends for the New Year

Online and mobile in 2013

We’re becoming more mobile and online in 2013

A recent Entrepreneur article highlights 10 online marketing trends for 2013. It covers topics from going mobile to gamification. Let’s take a look at these from an overall PR and marketing perspective. Some points will be short and sweet.

1. Going Mobile
The first point made – one that has been made plenty of times over the past few years – is the need to make your website ideal for mobile devices too. In my experience, the vast majority of websites are not always ideal for mobile. Honestly, sometimes you may not want to make your website ideal for mobile. It depends on what you’re trying to do with it. I’ve visited some sites where the content is leaner than their full version and so I simply stay away while on my mobile device. People have a different mindset when mobile vs. stationary. The biggest mindset is probably being in a rushed state of mind while mobile versus not being so rushed when stationary. In such a case, lean might be good. But content remains king and lean becomes the enemy. Either way, consider your purpose before making a mobile-friendly site. If they come across the lean site first and it detracts them, they may never go see the full site.

2. Online Analytics
We did indeed see a lot of new ways to measure online results, as the article points out. It’s important to note that many of these tools are either free or come with free trials. So, PR and marketing folks could be wise to at least trial some and see what results they bring.

3. Gamification
Use The article points out that more and more companies are trying to make their applications or online presence more game-like to capture more engagement from users. It stresses that in 2013 it will reach a tipping point and that “big brands, new startups and every company in-between” will spend more time and money on it. Honestly, I don’t believe this to be applicable to every company and that it continues to be a niche thing. That being said, if it can be applied to your product or services it’s a worthwhile thing to look at.

4. More Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing always has been important. According to Wikipedia, “Inbound marketing is based on the concept of earning the attention of prospects, making yourself easy to be found and drawing customers to your website by producing content customers value.” This has been a primary purpose of PR and marketing since websites existed. So, it’s importance isn’t going to change in 2013. In addition, for the most part, we were knee-deep in 2012 with tools to do so, from social sites to blogs, etc. So, this isn’t going to dramatically change in 2013 either. However, there are still many reports of companies cautious about adopting social media and this provides room for big changes in 2013 as, hopefully, more organizations will embrace social media for a means to enhance inbound marketing.

5. Big Data
The point made is that big data is important but, that it must be delivered in a visual way that isn’t complex. Infographics come to mind. These certainly are nice sometimes. But, I believe big data to drive customer growth or engagement is not a primary focus – just a nice enhancement if you come by useful big data for this end.

6. Growth in Loyalty Marketing
The point made here is that there are many easy online methods customers can spread good or bad word about your products. So, making customers feel appreciated is now more important than ever. This is very true. Social media continues to be a way that consumers keep corporations in check when they go astray from good customer service and experiences. There are also plenty of online forums – often overlooked by corporations but, very powerful in swaying opinion. Any corporation selling a product or service must pay attention to these.

7. Social Influence of Brands
The article points out that brands have developed huge followings in social media. True. It also points out that it will continue to grow. Probably true too. Really, this is closely tied to point number six. Corporations must consider their social media options more than ever as their customers can more easily sway public opinion of them almost as much as the media can.

8. Marketing Analytics
This is closely tied to point number two. Basically, try out a few free opportunities and see if anything out there might work for you.

9. Great Design
The point made here is that design of a website continues to push boundaries in beauty. This will almost always be the case. However, it’s important to properly balance beautiful design with functionality and, of course, useful content. One cannot be sacrificed for another.

10. Local Marketing
The article points out that online tools to do local marketing has made great strides. True again. Local marketing is always important to those that are in need of customers from their immediate area. These types of businesses should be looking into it. For B2B global businesses, this is not so much of a concern.

All of this is important. However, the basic need for public relations continues to be the foundation for proper branding. PR is what establishes the credibility to make all the above capable of achieving maximum success. For example, having a pretty website doesn’t mean someone will click that searched link. Having prior knowledge of you via media content heavily increases this possibility in a potential customer. So, whatever you’re planning to do online, make sure it’s first rooted in PR to maximize success.