HubSpot’s Marketing Predictions: Hits and Misses

soothsayingOne of the things I like about SaaS inbound marketing firm HubSpot is the steady stream articles and white papers the company publishes on varied facets of marketing and communications. 

They’re often quite meaty and beneficial as informational resources.

Moreover, HubSpot isn’t afraid to go out on a limb and render a pretty strong “point of view” about various factors and trends in the fast-evolving marketing world.

The risk is that some of those perspectives can end up being “off” – or looking even a bit silly – in retrospect. 

But more often than not, HubSpot’s trendspotting is on the money.

Marketing Prediction Hits & Misses (HubSpot)Here’s a case in point:  HubSpot’s team of analysts made a number of marketing predictions for the year 2013.  Recently, it revisited those predictions to judge whether they’d turned out to be on the mark or not.

These are HubSpot’s 2013 marketing predictions that it feels were on target: 

  • Content and social will matter even more for search engine optimization.
  • Stop-and-start campaigns will fade, and real-time will be ‘in.’
  • E-mail will live on.
  • Inbound marketing will spread enterprise-wide.

At the same time, four other marketing predictions for 2013 didn’t pan out so well, as underscored by HubSpot’s own cheeky editorial commentary about them:

  • Mobile or bust … “Not so hot.”
  • Marketing becomes accountable for revenue generation … “Meh.”
  • ‘Big data’ becomes real for businesses … “Nope.”
  • Print is dead … “Not even close.”

HubSpot’s post-mortem discussion points on these “misses” are interesting.  Quoting from its report:

  • Mobile or bust:  “Customers pay attention to multiple screens … and smart marketers capture attention by adding value wherever a consumer pays attention  … we need to be prepared, not by targeting just [mobile] but by embracing them all according to our specific customers and data.”
  • Marketing becomes accountable for revenue generation:  “The biggest challenge … has been proving ROI.       Even more frustrating … has been the lack of sales and marketing alignment in many companies.  Tracking can also get tricky, thanks to trying to reach fragmented digital audiences against so many channels … As much as lots of us really want this prediction to be a hit, it’s still largely aspirational.”
  • ‘Big data’ becomes real:  “Big data remains mainly a buzzword to many companies and markets — and continues to be more of a prediction than a reality …”
  • Print is dead:  “Saying ‘print is dead’ has lost pretty much all of its roots in reality … nor will it die in the next few years.”

Ever intrepid, HubSpot isn’t shying aware from new forecasts for 2014.  Looking forward, what do its analysts predict for this year?

  • Podcasting will continue to grow substantially.
  • Marketing departments will become more like engineering departments.
  • Social listening tools will gain context and get smarter.
  • The economy will become highly collaborative.
  • Marketers will become more holistic and less channel-focused.

And one more HubSpot prediction that’s a particular favorite of mine:

We’ll check back again a year from now to see how well HubSpot’s prognosticators fared this time around.

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.