Digital marketing is changing at a rapid pace. We marketers face a parade of shiny new technologies, tools, and platforms that promise to change everything.
With so much fluctuation, it's important to filter the core trends from the noise to understand what will shape the digital marketing landscape this year.
Here are six trends in digital marketing to embrace now and stay ahead of the curve in 2013.
Digital marketing agencies will double in quantity
Online marketing has long "crossed the chasm" and now is taking over the full mass market with the late majority and laggers. A known characteristic of laggers is that they like their products bundled, tested, and at an affordable price. These factors contribute to the increase in digital marketing agencies -- from owner-operated agencies and consultants all the way to creative agencies offering the full span of sophisticated online services. The digital marketing agency is only going to grow.
Marketers become data geeks
The growth of digital data will be 44 times greater in 2020 than it was in 2009. That volume of data production is pretty overwhelming for marketers who aren't smart about how they use that knowledge. Marketers and agencies will need to analyze, interpret, and translate this data into meaningful insight and actions. Attributing revenue to the correct marketing source will be increasingly important. More B2B companies will adopt multi-channel reporting to judge the effectiveness of their channel mix and determine each channel's incremental contributions. In addition, these analytics will be used to refine segmentation and targeting.
Agencies dive deeper into technology
Code is the universal language of the internet. It's the foundation of all things digital. Agencies and marketers will be expected to understand "the back-end" of everything as the level of complexity to deliver on brand engagement and revenue growth across multiple channels increases. Knowing what an API is and how to build an interface to create simple and actionable reports will become a marketing requirement. For the same reason, 2013 will see a significant rise in the number of collaborations between agency and marketing technologies.
More responsive websites
User experience is becoming a major part of every website, and personalization is at its core. Personalization will grow, and services that offer the ability to personalize experience will emerge as well -- whether it is cookie-based, login-based, or self-select preferences.
Rise of content creation services and software
Content marketing is becoming the core of every marketing initiative for B2B marketing as well as B2C. As the year progresses, we will see software and services solutions for content creation and syndication emerge and grow as companies try to leverage content for demand generation.
Stronger connection between offline and online events
Nowadays, there is a lot of discussion about the connection between the digital world and the physical world. Cross-channel campaigns will include offline events such as direct mail, tradeshows, city tours, and networking events. Companies need to tie offline events to online engagement to measure the impact of these cross-channel campaigns. Being relevant to your customer in every context improves your brand's awareness, and engagement will ultimately lead to more customers. This will require marketers to remove the silos in their go-to-market strategy and focus on the most important thing -- their customers. Customers no longer have simply offline or simply online experiences; they have integrated brand experiences.
We're all trying to stay a step ahead of the competition and monetize on new and emerging trends. What are your predictions for 2013? Where do I have it all wrong? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@Jenerationy).
"Businessman point to 2013 chart" image via Shutterstock.