Increased focus on the social environment, instead of building a social platform
Marketers will finally tire of trying to manage and lead the conversation in social. They will instead focus on surrounding and participating in conversations.
Social media is about personal interaction and conversation, and people don't invite brands into those conversations. In 2013, we'll see a shift from brands trying to build their own social platforms; instead, they'll start participating in ways that provide consumer value.
Ideas from the traditional marketing world will begin to migrate to the social world. For example, a brand that might sponsor parties at spring break or align itself with a sporting event will seek and benefit from the same type of experience and exposure in social. I won't need to "like" or follow a brand; it will just be part of my social world like it is everywhere else (just like billboards at a stadium).
So perhaps there is a name for 2013, related back to a book written by Donald Norman in 1999. In 2013, digital marketing will be the "Year of the Invisible Computer." In his book, Norman predicted that technology would become invisible to the consumer, and his vision has become reality. People don't spend time thinking about how much computing power sits in their pocket; instead, they appreciate the ease of looking up movie times when they are out at dinner.
Digital marketers who succeed next year will be focused on the consumer benefit and not the technology they are using.
Peter Platt is president of PSquared Digital.
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