2013 digital marketing predictions


Planning, analyzing the future, and predicting new trends – it’s always a funny exercise that everyone is rushing to finalize by the end of each year. But the reality is not as simple as sitting in front of your PowerPoint presentation and highlighting the next big thing by reading a bunch of blog posts.

We learn everyday what’s working and what’s not. In a specific moment all that work can be influenced by a sentence or a study. But it’s not a revelation, or waiting for that EUREKA moment to occur. It’s more the capacity to read a sequence of events and based on that sequence, try to sync with the next sequence of events.

I see the crowded digital space more from an ‘approach’ perspective rather than chasing the everyday big silo trends. I want to share with you my view of 2013 simply through 2 approaches, each carrying a multitude of trends. Our market is mature enough now that our job is to organize and plan different tactics together that will make the story and the results make sense, instead of analyzing virtual silos, from mobile to search to display.

The two approaches

According to the year’s buzzwords, this was the year of mobile and display advertising, and not so much desktop search, which is seeing maturity in the field.

Mobile marketing was not only a new trend but a revolution by itself. A revolution on how digital marketing will be conducted from now on. I call it the 4th P revolution. See picture A.

 Digital Revolution

Picture A – Digital Revolution

Over the last few years we have experienced transformations in:

  • Product Cycle Management – now more flexible, fast and fully customer-focused
  • Promotions – now increasingly direct due to data advertising and Social Media interactions
  • Pricing – now able to sell using ‘freemiums’ and to the long-tail.
  • Today we are at the onset of the final “P” transformation: Place – it’s time to manage the challenge of reaching customers at their exact geographic location via Location Based Marketing and advertising.

Digital Media also is going through a revolution – it’s more technical, and more behind the scenes but it still a revolution on how the media (display in particular) will be managed, sold and exchanged.  Buzzwords such as SSP, DMP, DSP or exchanges did not exist two years ago.

 display ecosystem

Image of the Display Ecosystem – (Source: http://www.lumapartners.com/lumascapes/display-ad-tech-lumascape/)

Suddenly we’ve started to see statements and business models reviewing some of the display approaches as a revolution, forgetting about the past and focusing only on the next new thing. I say let’s take a break from using the term ‘revolution’ – I prefer using the word ‘evolution’.

When analysis was conducted on how Obama won Ohio State, one of the analysts described the win as being based on 2 approaches.

A: Air Force = a media coverage strategy where advertising, retargeting and social media messages were used nationally and at an awareness level.

B: Ground Force = an online strategy where the message was carried in a way that adapted itself to a local reality, and also supported offline interactions.

Digital Marketing Strategies are all about Ground and Air Force. Since 1998 we have been focused on building a digital world, one where offline strategies have taken a back seat to all things digital. However, the explosion in the use of mobile devices with built in GPS is bringing us back to rethink physical location or local marketing not as an after-thought, but an important piece of a digital strategy.

Digital Media tools are evolving in a way that give us the capacity to talk to real audiences, with a much more targeted, contextual message – something that is increasingly important, and even expected by consumers in today’s world. Some of my industry colleagues will state that they have been conducting ‘audience management’ for years now, but the reality is they haven’t – it was just a fancy contextual strategy, because the sophisticated technologies that make true audience management possible simply weren’t available 3 to 4 years ago.

Digital Marketing Predictions AirForce GroundForce

Ground force digital strategy

An old real estate strategy was stated in 3 words: Location, Location, Location. Ground Force Digital Strategy is all about interacting locally with a customer or a prospect that has anintention in a specific geo-environment. I’m not restricting this strategy to one element, such as mobile or social or web as all of these are relevant. The problem within our industry is that as soon as someone uses one keyword, we tend to forget about the big picture. ‘Ground Force Digital Strategy’ is a key phrase that allows you to picture all the possibilities that enable local marketing, leveraging geo-space to bring people online, and addressing people’s specific intentions in a specific place at a specific time.

I can name a multitude of strategies, buzzwords and trends that address this simple strategy.

  • Local and Mobile SEO
  • Geo-fencing
  • Local PPC
  • Geo Targeting by Designated Market Area or city
  • Yellow Pages
  • Local Content Management System
  • Mobile Advertising
  • Mobile Coupons
  • Out of Home and Billboards
  • SOLOMO (SocialLocalMobile)
  • Location Based Strategy
  • eCommerce 3.0
  • Hyper local

The challenge here, however, is to stop looking at them as individual tactics and strategies, and view them as one collective strategy that will achieve business goals.

Is this different from what you were doing before? The answer is YES. Most Digital Product Managers have been conditioned to drive an online funnel that would take care of itself. The real world or physical world was treated as an afterthought. Now with the ‘Ground Force Digital Strategy’ approach, you can no longer see it that way.

Call it Proximity Marketing, or call it Location-Based Marketing, but what experts agree on is that ground media works because of the relationship between two facts:

Fact #1: Everyone has a specific location.

Fact #2: Everyone has a need to buy a product or service, or has an intention to fulfill.

Ground media is all about the point in time where these two facts meet.
How does this work in reality? A local media opportunity is triggered at the moment when Fact #1 leads to Fact #2 or the other way around.

In a nutshell, either you realize that you need something… a new coat, a pizza, a car wash… then you say, “Hmmm… where can I get one?” Or, you are outside a clothing store, pizza restaurant or car wash and you think, “Perfect! I knew there was something I needed and I can get it right here.”

So, Local Media can be defined as:

Real-time marketing interactions that combine precise knowledge of where a customer is now with detailed information about what’s nearby. It’s all about combining data on Location, Context and Immediacy.

By 2016 over a quarter of the world will be using location-based services.1 This is a fantastic opportunity that can be influenced by corporations and brands through the use of (you guessed it!) Local Media. So what’s your plan?

You want to ensure a return on your investment, right? Well, local information seekers take concrete action. 69% of search users then proceed to look a business up on a map or get directions to it. An even higher percentage (72%) visit the business (either its website or a brick-and-mortar store). And the gold standard of ROI – a purchase – is made by 36% in-store or online.2

An astonishing 97% of consumers search for local businesses online (PC or mobile)3, while 50% of mobile search is local4 and 85% of all purchases are made within 24 km of consumers’ homes.7

Mediative is proud to say that we have designed a new product line based on this approach. We called it Mediative Places. For more information on Mediative Places, ask your Mediative contact.

Chapter 2: Air force: Digital media advertising

Reading all the reports coming from the digital advertising industry, display advertising is all about audience data and real time bidding. So should data and the inventory buying process be at the forefront of our tactics? Or should it be about targeting the right user intention at the right time?

This sounds like a general question, but it’s not. The marketing and advertising industry needs to refocus the discussion back to the business objectives of Brands, and focus less on the platforms and tools used to achieve those objectives.

Media Advertising is not about a specific trend – it’s about a deep evolution where real time bidding, exchanges, data management, search performance etc. are working together to better service buying intentions with the right product or offer.

It’s a messy environment, focusing on back-end improvements more than ROI:

The Advertising ecosystem (PDF)



Digital media advertising is not a system evolution, but actually a Media Planning Revolution where the upcoming months and years will force the industry to review how advertising decisions are done. Now it’s not only a media play; it’s also audience planning and this involves digital media planning designed to accommodate visitors using multiple devices (mobile, desktop, TV, etc.) to fulfill their needs.

Learning customer personas beyond the socio-demographic information that everyone uses involves a deep understanding of where the intentions occur and how marketing strategists can be exposed to it at the right time.

2013 the Overview

Where to Focus:

A lot of my colleagues in the industry will agree that product and marketing road maps can no longer be set out as a year play. That is too long-term. Long term is a year, mid term is a quarter, short term is the next 4 weeks.

3 Views to Follow:

1. Mobile and the Ground Force – What are locations telling you? How are you leveraging the power of location in your digital ecosystem?

2. Digital Media and Media Planning are evolving – How are you tackling your Air Force strategy and making sure that your message is seen and understood?

3. Finally, how can you broadcast your message with Air Force and act on Ground Force to convert?