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There’s no doubt 2012 was an exciting year for marketing. From the virtual explosion of visually driven social networks such as Pinterest and Instagram to the creative guerilla marketing witnessed at the Summer Olympic Games, we’ve had plenty of new forums to play in and ideas to be inspired by. This week, in honor of our final post of the year, Blogging Out Loud talks to Vertical Marketing Network President Phil Saifer about his 2012 marketing hits and misses, and what to look forward to in 2013.
Blogging Out Loud: What stands out as the most exciting marketing trend of 2012?
Phil Saifer: The consumer empowerment rate through social media is unlike anything the marketing community has ever experienced, and in many ways, many brands are still trying to catch up. 2012 saw the beginning of a transition in senior leadership from classically trained, old-school marketers to contemporary marketers who understand that social media success is not based on the treadmill of pushing out as many conventional commercial messages as possible. Contemporary marketing leaders understand the measurements of reach and frequency used for decades in traditional advertising simply do not apply by themselves today. This transition from brand pushers to brand conversationalists is truly the launching pad for even greater social media success. And that success will not be measured in terms of the number of followers that have been amassed for a brand, but how social marketing will enhance the value of a brand and the revenues that can be cultivated.
BOL: And how do you think that can happen?
PS: Instead of content being treated as an executed tactic, content strategy needs to become the leading driver of marketing planning. Creating brand content cornerstones will become that driver in terms of generating trial and repeat purchases, and ultimately, the conversion to brand loyalists. I anticipate that organizations big and small will groom smart professionals to become Chief Content Officers, and in turn look to partner with agency integrated marketing specialists to serve as social ambassadors to drive brand results.
BOL: What do you see as the greatest challenge facing integrated marketers?
PS: There is a gap in integrated communications that needs to be closed. Brands cannot maximize effectiveness when their social media is sending out a different vibe from their websites, or when the brand tone varies greatly in point of sale messages from its advertising. Consumers get confused when there is a lack of clarity and consistency among touch points, and a confused consumer is one who walks away. The brand voice will need to be more authentic, accurate and reliable than ever before.
BOL: What marketing trend is most likely to kick-off the New Year with a bang?
PS: Ericsson estimates there will be over 50 billion mobile devices in circulation by 2020. We are already experiencing that swing to mobile search with a number of Vertical Marketing Network’s clients experiencing over 75% of search results pouring in through mobile devices. I anticipate that in 2013 we will see mobile online surpass desktop in virtually every important measurement. Look for the creation of mobile-friendly websites to universally become a higher priority to non-mobile versions.
BOL: With more consumers using smartphones and the Internet to connect with brands, what does that mean for integrated marketing?
With all this going on, we are finding that localization will continue to drive transactions. Marketing localization from in-store sampling, to participation in community events and localized promotions will produce transactions.
2012 was one of the most exciting years in marketing for many reasons, but we’re even more enthusiastic about what’s ahead.
Blogging Out Loud will return Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. From our family to yours, happy holidays and happy New Year!