iMedia Connection

The 12 worst things that could happen to marketers in 2013

Bethany Simpson

Worst thing No. 1: Exhaustion from complexity

John Montgomery, COO of GroupM Interaction North America, says that if we fail to partner well in 2013, complexities will overwhelm us and the industry will be on the road to disaster.

John Montgomery joined Ogilvy in 1989 in South Africa as media director and launched MindShare in that country. In 2004, Montgomery moved to New York to lead mOne in North America, the interactive media practice for MindShare and Ogilvy and was subsequently appointed as global CEO of MindShare Interaction in 2006. He was appointed as COO of GroupM Interaction for North America in 2008. As part of his portfolio, Montgomery leads GroupM's privacy and data strategy for digital and works closely with industry bodies that help set policy in these areas.

Worst thing No. 2: Superficial metrics

John Bohan, the founder of Socialtyze, says that if the digital marketing industry relies on cosmetic and perfunctory metrics to measure the ROI of digital investments, it will be the worst move agencies can make in 2013. In this clip, he also explains what the meaningful metrics are.

John Bohan is the founder of Socialtyze.

Worst thing No. 3: We're not innovative enough

It's no surprise that the bigger an agency gets, the more likely its employees are to get stuck in a streamlined mode of operation. As Rick Parkhill, chairman of Poptent Media, explains, companies big and small need to maintain a focus on innovation if they want to thrive in 2013.

Rick Parkhill is the founder and chairman of Poptent. The business concept for Poptent was a result of his many years in the interactive media world and watching his son grow up shooting, editing, and producing homemade music videos. Parkhill recognized early on that advertisers would have an increasing need for video content and that there was an ever-deepening pool of capable creative talent that was developing outside of agency walls.

Worst thing No. 4: We ignore consumer concerns

Peter Matthews, OMD's group director of digital, says we need to listen to the consumer in 2013 about issues like privacy concerns and educate them about good options. Not doing so, he explains, will bring down the hatchet of do-not-track for an issue that requires a scalpel.

Peter Matthews is a digital marketing and media professional with more than 18 years of experience building brands and driving acquisition. He is a seasoned analyst and negotiator with a broad range of category experience, including consumer healthcare, CPG, finance, retail, and travel.

Worst thing No. 5: Small agencies disappear

Shenan Reed, Morpheus Media's chief media officer, says that if the independents get swallowed up by big agencies in 2013, we'll lose our sense of camaraderie, competition, and ultimately new ideas.

As chief media officer, Shenan Reed, leads the digital media group for Morpheus Media, a CREATETHE GROUP company. A world-renowned digital strategy and media expert, Shenan co-founded Morpheus Media in 2001 and subsequently joined CREATETHE GROUP when the company merged with Morpheus in June 2011. Within a few short years, Morpheus Media emerged as one of the top digital marketing and media firms for luxury and premium brands such as Bergdorf Goodman, The New York Times, Dior, LVMH, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, DKNY, Hennessy, and The Economist, among many others.

Worst thing No. 6: Bad execution of good ideas

2013 will be a year of innovation and new ideas. While Kate Thorp says there is no impending doom for the digital marketing industry, she does think executing on great ideas poorly would be an immense failure. The Vice Chairman of Mobiles Republic also talks about an exciting new opportunity for 2013 that, if not managed well, could be a major setback.

Most recently, Kate Thorp was President of digital worldwide for AKQA. During her tenure, AKQA's client list expanded to include ESPN, The Gap, MSN, and Coca-Cola's global account. Before joining AKQA, she was Chairman and CMO of Carat Interactive, the media giant that acquired Lot21, the agency she had founded. She got her start at the top-tier agencies of McCann Erickson and J. Walter Thompson. She is now the Vice Chairman of Mobiles Republic.

Worst thing No. 7: Too much focus on programmatic buying

Beware of the temptation to get too caught up in programmatic buying in 2013. Brad Piggot, Brightroll's VP of U.S. sales, says shifting our focus to this area (instead of relying on our teams) would be the worst thing for digital marketers in the next year. While the future should include replacing manual RFPs, negotiations, and insertion orders with automated media buying, don't abandon your traditional methods just yet.

Brad Piggot oversees and manages central region for BrightRoll, the leading online video advertising network.

Worst thing No. 8: Regulation stifles creativity

As digital marketing gets even bigger and attracts more spend in 2013, Maggie Boyer Finch, founder and CEO of King of the Web, says the worst thing that could happen is heavy supervision. She says our creativity will suffer if we need to clear too many regulatory hurtles before executing on a simple idea, and it could cause our industry's momentum to screech to a halt.

Maggie Boyer Finch is a media and advertising executive who has spent the bulk of her career building digital marketing firms and technologies. In 1995, she built one of the first online media buying shops and pioneered many other industry firsts. For more than a decade, she served as general manager and VP of media for aQuantive (now RazorFish), establishing the firm as one of the world's leading digital media agencies.

Worst thing No. 9: A downturn in marketing spend

Pauline Malcolm, head of sales for StyleHaul, says that if the economy takes a turn for the worse in 2013, brands might pull back on marketing spend. She says, instead, if we experience a downturn, it will be an important time to continue to spend in order to maintain and gain valuable market share.

Before joining Stylehaul in 2012, Pauline Malcolm was director of national advertising sales at Condé Nast Business Group, Digital. In this position, she managed annual advertising revenues in excess of $17 million and oversaw a team of 16 senior sales executives and sales support specialists. Previously, she served as senior regional sales manager at MySpace, where she developed revenue-generating partnerships with key consumer packaged goods brands such as Kraft Foods.

Worst thing No. 10: Something new becomes cooler

Change is a constant, and consumer culture could evolve rapidly this year. What if a new trend emerges that trumps the current digital strategies we're already working on? Or what if something replaces digital as we know it? Gina Lee, SVP of media for Intermundo, says history shows precedent for major shifts like this happening, and she thinks we should be ready.

Gina Lee is the senior vice president of media for Intermundo Media.

Worst thing No. 11: Too much government regulation (if we don't self-regulate)

Cory Treffiletti, SPV of marketing for BlueKai, says if digital marketers don't self-regulate issues like consumer tracking, we could experience a government crack-down. He says the media has scared consumers about tracking, and if we don't educate the public and address their concerns, we could experience detrimental restrictions.

Cory Treffiletti is the senior vice president of marketing for BlueKai.

Worst thing No. 12: Failure to prove digital ROI

Have the right standards and attribution models emerged yet? Or are inconsistent metrics giving us a questionable reputation? Talia Arnold, associate director of digital strategy for Horizon Media, says we need to have a solid hold on reporting and ROI.

Talia Arnold has more than seven years of progressive experience helping Fortune 500 companies ignite their brand presence in emerging media through strategic marketing and media planning and buying. Her specialties are digital media, social marketing, search, online video, media buying, negotiation, business development, training and mentorship, direct response, and branding.

"Businessman" cover story image courtesy of Shutterstock.