2013 is off and running – time to take stock of various predictions about the evolution, maturation, coalescing of mobile, social and other digital trends. Its an exciting time for all industries, thanks to rising device sophistication, increased bandwidth technology and feisty, knock em dead entrepreneurial spirit. Ready or not, the face of business is about to get another makeover – similar to the Web 1.0 shakeout of the early 2000s where the tickets to play in eCommerce were firmly established.
The predictions about what consumers WILL DO in the context of digital trends are only one part of the story. I’m equally fascinated with WHAT THEY WON’T DO when it comes to some of the trends and how brands will/should prepare for both outcomes. What follows are six trend areas that I’m keeping an eye on in 2013:
Big Data & Content Explosion
Hyper-marketing borders on Creepy-marketing as consumers every move and thought begins to be tracked, harvested and crunched resulting in mounting bombardment of inboxes and social feeds throughout the day.
Consumers WILL – tune into the brands that are good stewards of their behavioral data and limited attention spans
Consumers WON’T – sign up for e-mails, app notifications, SMS alerts and social updates that are repetitive attempts for attention, rather than helpful conversation.
Brand Response – get selective on the messages you want to communicate – less is SO MUCH more. Focus on one really great idea your audience cares about and knock it out of the park.
Search Gets More Social
Google and Yahoo! get cozy with your friends & acquaintances as their algorithms make more room for your Facebook, G+ and other social communities. The filtered results get even more layers as social activity-based listings duke it out with ad-based listings.
Consumers WILL – get better at discerning and tuning out ads in favor of peer feeds
Consumers WON’T – trust their peer groups completely with every query; they’ll leave some solicitations to more seasoned experts based on their profile affinity rather than pure social connection. Curating the curators is going to be big.
Brand Response – become facilitators and champions of the best of the best experts – give a social nod to enthusiasts in your industry via your ad space.
Social Commerce Advancement
Gifting wizards will start to shepherd in buying where you socialize and encourage socializing where you buy. Socially-advanced brands gain credibility and trust, which will aid in the increase and expansion of crowdshopping behavior.
Consumers WILL – be lured by the convenience of gifting productivity through social channels supported by the digital wallet (aka Passbook)
Consumers WON’T – be giving up their PayPal or credit cards just yet in favor of social currencies.
Brand Response – remember, ‘Send to a Friend’…now, make it ‘Add to my Wish List’ or better yet, notify shoppers when a hot look or decadent trip is on their friend’s Wish List.
SnapChat and other UGC protection tools will continue to emerge, but the larger issues around UGC piracy by individuals and organizations heats up
Consumers WILL – demand retention of their privacy and ownership rights for their personal content and defect from third-party platforms that try to alter it
Consumers WON’T – post blindly to their networks; they’re thinking twice about what they allow to go out online
Brand Response – leverage the ‘Creative Commons’ UGC licensing system. Invite your audience to create and share their content with you, but make sure you give them something back in return. Attribution goes a long way.
Social and informational content experiences become fluid between your smartphone, tablet and TV – consumers end up using some or all at the same time. Look for surface tables to start joining the Web 3.0 mix.
Consumers WILL – maintain multiple devices in order to maximize their access to content across their different daily modes (transit, destination public, destination private)
Consumers WON’T – put up with persistent re-logging in and having to backtrack from a generic starting page versus a contextualized one based on behavior, location and time
Brand Respond – responsive design is a must. But you also need to storyboard how your audience interaction will move and flow with their device ecosystem and prepare to deliver on it. How do tasks, functions and content take shape on each screen type?
Rise of the Assistant Butlers
Siri will be back with a vengeance as voice recognition improves. Smart butler apps like EasilyDo, Result.ly take the work out of managing inboxes / search histories and prompt consumers to engage more deeply with their communities and capitalize on just in time shopping opportunities.
Consumers WILL – start to give access to their daily inbox life in exchange for productivity gains and relationship value
Consumers WON’T – want to be bombarded with useless actions; interactions must take the grunt work out and put serendipity back in
Brand Response – start thinking about structuring your confirmation e-mail content for ‘non-human’ follow-up action. Turn weekly/daily deal notifications into requests for reminders around certain occasions such as an upcoming wedding, baby shower, Mom’s birthday and more.
Regardless of which direction the above trends take, brands have the opportunity to become better partners with their audience. As a consumer, I’m counting on marketers to cut out the digital waste and make my ‘on time’ richer. What are you betting on?