For now, this is the world as I see it:
1. No more social media silos! Businesses must finally adopt a HOLISTIC marketing approach.
Every marketing strategy needs a social component, and every employee needs to understand and think socially … as part of a much larger picture.
2. SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing: The Three Pillars of Online Marketing! When it comes to building a web presence, there is really no such thing as separate strategies.
If you want your business to be found online, pay attention to the twin levers of social and content. Better SERPs demand it.
3. Big data: #SM Science finally trumps unicorns & kittens! Marketing Analytics, Google Analytics … it doesn’t matter which Analytics you use, as long as you’re using the data you have to gain insight.
As they say, in God we trust, all others bring data!
4. Content Marketing: your most important investment!?
Either start writing, or hire a writer! (of course, content can be more than just the written variety.). One B2B marketer recently said that his whitepapers act like “catnip”! MEOW:)
Prediction: invest in creating fresh content now, and you’ll come out ahead of your competitors at the end of this year.
5. Importance of engaging visual images. Photo sharing sites like Instagram, Flickr and Pinterest are all growing like crazy.
Images are the single best way to get social engagement, on almost every platform. Invest in more visual content, to boost engagement with your prospects online.
6. Tell engaging stories about your brand. The more human you can make your brand, the more trust you can build. Maybe 2013 will be the year of the brand story (my friend Alan Berkson wrote about this). Have a personality!
7. Leverage peer recommendations and online reviews! Online reviews influence people… so think of ways you can get more of ’em.
I like when brands use a “Surprise and Delight“ strategy — and do something so unexpected and extraordinary for the customer, it creates positive online word of mouth and buzz in social communities. Be creative, get noticed, create conversation.
(After all, the tweet that resulted in a steak dinner delivered to the airport for Peter Shankman bought goodwill and attention way beyond the cost of that steak)!
8. Traditional “push” marketing websites (and traditional static websites) — aren’t working any more.
Today, it’s all about attracting customers to your marketing funnel (er … I mean website). Beyond attracting the right visitors, your website has to educate and engage, and move people thru your funnel to CONVERT.
Mark O’Brien, a web designer I follow, recently wrote: “Because of how websites operate today — as the hub of a much larger and more complex marketing and sales ecosystem … no new site built this year will a worthy investment as long as it is considered a stand-alone expense“.
In other words, Inbound Marketing is the new Black!
9. Become mobile friendly, or you’re toast! Invest in responsive design to support mobile visitors. Use mobile tactics to engage customers.
10. Email and Face to Face networking is NOT dead! Businesses need to get out there and use all this “social marketing” to expand personal relationships, build an email database, etc. No matter what year it is, that doesn’t change!
One last thought: my friend Carole Mahoney coined the term “SMARKETING” …. since the point of everything we do is to drive sales.
So, quick reality check: if Sales and Marketing aren’t BOTH happy, then something isn’t quite right with your marketing:)
Hope your 2013 is off to a great start, and Happy Smarketing!
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