Weighing the Odds on Marketing Predictions for 2013

MarComm Crystal Ball Predictions for 2013One thing each New Year invariably brings is a passel of marketing and communications forecasts for the upcoming year.

And 2013 is no exception. I’ve seen more than 25 articles in the business press over the past several weeks that take a stab at predicting the future – and that’s without even looking to find them.

With each prediction list containing anywhere from 5 to 25 items, there’s a lot to consider – and also a good deal of overlap. The big question is, how many of these predictions will turn out to be accurate, as opposed to wishful thinking?

I thought I’d highlight some of the more interesting forecasts and list them here  — along with my odds on the likelihood they will come true.  So here goes … see what you think:

2013 MarComm Predictions from the Experts

Responsive design” and its ability to detect devices and deliver a satisfying viewer experience will take center stage in 2013 now that smartphone sales have overtaken PCs and more e-mails than ever are being read on mobile devices.
(Michael Della Penna, Responsys)
Chance of happening (my odds): 100%.

Special characters in e-mail subject lines are here to stay.
(Chad White, MediaPost E-Mail Insider)
Chance of happening: 100% (unfortunately).

Twitter will start personalizing Twitter feeds in 2013, based on an algorithm consisting of influence, engagement, alignment, gravity, and subscriber interests.
(Rich Brooks, Flyte New Media)
Chance of happening: 90%.

Google+ will become a “must use” service not because of its social elements, but because it will be the central hub for managing a company’s “official” online public presence in the eyes of Google.
(Anita Campbell, Small Business Trends)
Chance of happening: 80%.

Mobile transactions and payments will become huge – the biggest “disruption” in local search – and making it much easier to close the research-online/buy-offline loop and calculating actual ROI on specific marketing campaigns.
(David Mihm, SEOmoz)
Chance of happening: 70%.

After struggling for years to gain adoption, the QR Code will die – a good concept done in by its clunky interface and application.
(Peter Platt, iMedia Connection)
Chance of happening: 70%.

Triggered e-mails will give sophisticated marketers a sustainable competitive edge over other markers.
(Chad White, MediaPost E-Mail Insider)
Chance of happening: 60%.

More industries such as the financial, legal, accounting and medical fields will get serious about social media in 2013 as clarity about potential regulatory issues is established.
(Stephanie Sammons, Wired Advisor)
Chance of happening: 60%.

2013 will be the year of visual marketing. Video in e-mail will finally take off, thanks to HTML5 video capabilities.
(Ekaterina Walter, Intel)
Chance of happening: 60%.

2013 will be the “year of the invisible computer,” finally fulfilling writer Donald Norman’s prophecy made back in 1999 wherein people don’t focus on the technology at all, but on what information and services the technology can deliver.
(Peter Platt, iMedia Connection)
Chance of happening: 50%.

Marketers will use fewer social sites in 2013, preferring to have a solid presence in one or two channels rather than to try to dominate in every single platform.
(Ed Gandia, International Freelancers Academy)
Chance of happening: 50%.

Apple will launch iRadio, taking on Pandora in Internet radio and integrating into the iTunes iOS app.
(Richard Greenfield, BTIG)
Chance of happening: 50%.

2013 will not be the “year of the [fill in the blank],” but will build on the digital accomplishments of the past.
(Peter Platt, iMedia Connection)
Chance of happening: 40%.

By the end of the year, one in three paid clicks will come from a tablet or smartphone as the “living room on the go” enables seamless content portability for consumers.
(Sid Shah, Adobe)
Chance of happening: 30%.

SlideShare will be the fastest growing social network in 2013.
(Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute)
Chance of happening: 20%.

The number of podcasters will double in 2013, tapping into 1 billion smartphone users and their desire for accessing quality, on-demand talk.
(Michael Stelzner, Social Media Examiner)
Chance of happening: 20%.

Voice assistants will become the rule than the exception, in response to consumers’ increasing expectations for immediate and customized support in all forms of outreach.
(Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys)
Chance of happening: 20%.

The age of the PC is over in 2013, as a true “pivot point” is reached due to the penetration of smartphones and tablets.
(Will Margiloff, IgnitionOne)
Chance of happening: 20%.

2013 will be the year marketers stop using the term “social media” when referring to campaigns … and Facebook will “own” mobile advertising.
(Peter Shankman, Geek Factory founder)
Chance of happening: 10%.

Marketing budgets will now be established based on outcomes, not history, eclipsing the traditional dynamic of building budgets based on “last year” figures.
(David Cooperstein, Forrester Research)
Chance of happening: 10%.

2013 will bring the death of static web pages.
(Raj de Datta, BloomReach)
Chance of happening: Nil.

So, what do you think of these fearless predictions? Which ones are most likely to come true?  Would you place different odds on some of them? Feel free to share your observations with the other readers.

4 thoughts on “Weighing the Odds on Marketing Predictions for 2013

  1. I generally agree with your odds, however (as usual) I have a few thoughts of my own.

    1. I believe that "responsive design" took center stage before 2012 so this isn't really a prediction; it's accomplished fact. Personally, I have been developing and implementing "responsive designs" for the past 11 years. These were originally intended for industrial mobile applications such as barcode scanning in plants and warehouses, and not MarComm. However the enabling technology is identical whether for industrial or MarComm purposes.

    2. I think QR codes are already dead so I would put the odds at 100% (or accomplished fact).

    3. Is the "age of the PC" really coming to an end? I think the "experts" are missing a big elephant in the room -- the computing needs of content producers are very different from those of content consumers. While tablets and smartphones are much handier than PCs for content consumers, they are horrible substitutes for content producers. To better appreciate this point, grab your iPhone, iPad or Galaxy and try to create a fancy graphic with it. It might be technically possible, but who in their right mind would even bother? In my view, it would be better to say, "the age of IT convergence on a single PC platform is over." The one-size-fits-all solution delivered by the dominant Windows platform (and also the Apple Mac) over the past 15-20 years will give way to a diversity of mobile and stationary computing devices tailored to the specific needs of content producers (who require all the bells and whistles that a traditional PC delivers) and consumers (who are looking for a tiny fraction of a traditional PC's functionality, delivered in a convenient and satisfying way). Incidentally I think this is the underlying reason why Windows 8 is getting flak in the marketplace these days for being "confusing" -- it's still a one-size-fits-all operating system that's merely camouflaged to create a more satisfying experience for content consumers.

    4. I'd put the odds of Google+ becoming the central hub for managing a company’s “official” online public presence at much less than 80%, at least for large corporations. There are simply too many security risks, if only because Google is a gigantic whale that sucks in vast quantities of plankton (micro-data) to sustain itself and grow ever larger. Google (and Facebook, too) have proven track records of doing whatever it takes to successfully hunt for food, yielding to security concerns only when challeneged by regulators or the marketplace (think of Google Street view and the recent flap over IP posted on Instagram). Google and Facebook will never be able to fully mitigate the security risks without cutting off their own food supply; hence the security risks will always exist. The fact that neither Google nor Facebook are allowed in Mainland China is another reason why 80% odds are too optimistic.

    5. Yes, special characters in e-mail subject lines are here to stay, but this is not unfortunate in my view. It's good and necessary because "special characters" (from an American point of view) also include non-ASCII characters such as Chinese and Japanese ideographs (Kanji characters), and also phonetic characters in the Japanese, Korean, Thai, Hindi, Arabic and other alphabets. Why would marketers want to avoid these special characters when attemping to e-mail prospective customers in those locales?

    • Re your comment #5 above, the attractiveness of special characters in subject lines depends on your point of view: Special characters for certain foreign languages are fine … but we’re already seeing way too many hearts, stars and other visual hi-jinks like “thumbs-up” signs assaulting our eyes. It’s beyond irritating.

  2. What I think – or feel – is, “Where is that smiley for yawning?”

    I have never been old-fashioned, being a crazy aquarian. In fact, I was involved at the forefront of a lot of things that are the foundation for today’s technology. But I also was never anyone to be told what to do if it didn’t make sense to me. From age three on, I was quoted challenging the adults to make sense to me and never, N.E.V.E.R. to appropriate me or anything about me. Really, I barely reached above your knee and I firmly stated (freely quoted) that “I am nobody’s nothin’”.

    Why this matters in this context … is because most of this technology is designed and intended to make me do things and do them in a given fashion, none of which I would otherwise do. That stuff is like a big hairy hand reaching into my life. And I won’t have it. I designed and wrote “apps” way before they were called that (BTW, notice the linguistic similarity with “meds,” aka “drugs.”) I loved my little “apps” because they did what I wanted them to do when I wanted them to do it.

    For the same reason, I zap anything even faintly resembling anything on my computers (or anywhere else) that does what other people want them to do, when other people want them to do it. Marketing, of course, aims at wanting me to desperately want something, desperately enough to invite the fox into the hen-house.

    We had a four-day power outage here a few weeks back, and then a four-day cellphone outage because the tower was affected. (We fared quite well, BTW, and I enjoyed going to bed when it got dark.) What this tells me is that everything people get so worked up about simply evaporates when we turn the power off. This is also being had by the short-and-curlies – being a male-identified term, tellingly.

    … like most everything else.

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