Not too long and we will again be going under a transition as we move from the year 2012 to 2013. And as professionals and business owners, one thing that we always wish we could be is a psychic who could push aside the veil to the future and see what the different trends are going to be. Unfortunately, the best we could do is make accurate guesses at best, so let us whip out our business crystal balls and peek into what is going to be the year 2013 of business, technology, and marketing. From existing data and predictions of business experts, here are some samples of what the new year will herald.
Image from http://technmarketing.com/iphone/bump-for-iphone-now-lets-you-share-your-favorite-apps/
• Focus on intellectual property protection. This has always been something of a fire starter, especially with the internet where boundaries can be quite blurred or non-existent at best. As people get more of a handle on the capabilities of gadgets and the internet, security of online data, privacy, and intellectual property will become bigger issues and will see more attempts of “controlling” the entire web. It could either lead to outrage or success; no one knows but we shall all soon see.
• Mobile use and competition surges. Personally I do not remember the last time that I used an actual desktop PC in order to work on a project or to surf the internet. Recently it has always been laptops, cell phones, and even the TV, which may very well spell the eventual fall of PCs in general. Access to the world is now literally at the palm of people’s hands, and as mobile devices become “smarter”, it’s following that desktops become old school and obsolete. Still, we’re just at the stage where people can opt out of printing business cards for networking (though I don’t recommend it); I am not going to be impressed until we develop technology that can download food and practical skills.
• App-crazy. How many apps do you have right now in the cell phone or tablet within your reach? My guess would be a heck of a lot, and those are only the ones that you chose to download for your own use. It is certain that 2013 would see the addition of many more apps, and by 2014 the projection would already be over 70 billion mobile apps for consumption. Now that could mean even more convenient marketing, networking, and social interaction, or maybe it just means a lot more wasted hours playing the newest version of angry birds.
Social Media Trends.
Image from http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/22/youtube-announces-in-stream-ads-for-mobile/
• No more disruptive advertising. Viewers rejoice! It would seem that advertising is moving from the interrupt-your-viewing approach into something called “branded entertainment”. It only makes sense to more subtly embed ads to what viewers want to see instead of messing with the flow of the videos or programs. Anyone who watches YouTube enough will know that if you watch a certain commercial enough times, you kind of start to hate the product being advertised, which is entirely the opposite effect desired. This definitely seems like ads are going to have more finesse in the future.
• Facebook won’t be king. This is not to say that Facebook is still actually king, but the next year would most likely see more sharing between social media sites as well as the surge of newer social media alternatives. The big players like Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, etc. will still be highly competitive, of course, but the field is going to be more open and less “walled” as compared to before. The bad news, though, is that the number of “likes”, “shares”, “followers”, etc. won’t matter as much anymore compared to actual customer relations.
• Businesses compete through videos. People love watching videos, whether it’s cool science stuff happening, talking animals, and even certain commercials (Nope, Chuck Testa!). Soon, it may be that any business that wants to compete will be forced to join in and post videos, too. Just like how websites came to be a “must”, videos will gain more value as well, and maybe someday they will come to be just as important as websites are now.
Image from http://www.gobeyondseo.com/3-awesome-benefits-of-an-email-auto-responder/
• Email makes a comeback. Do you hear that? That’s the sound of email marketing getting a second wind after taking a bit of a beating because of all the social media happening around the world. Only something that works manages to survive the continuously changing trends, so businesses should hold on to their customer bases and start sharpening their rusty emailing skills. If you’ve dropped your email strategies along the way, then perhaps it’s time to start thinking of picking it up once again.
• Mobile devices and wallets become one. There are probably so many risks and dangers involved to shopping using a phone, but one thing that cannot be denied is how convenient it would be. Currently, there are already some systems around the world that would be considered as mobile cash, and this trend might just pick up some speed as the New Year rolls along. Imagine the possibilities!
• More pictures! Currently, when you live in a city, are most likely never farther away than a few hundred meters from an SLR camera, a digital camera, or any mobile device with a built-in camera. That’s why apps like Instagram gained popularity in the first place, because of people’s penchant for taking pictures of and sharing anything and everything they experience. I’ll leave it to you to figure out just what pictures would mean for future marketing, but for sure there’s a lot of money in there somewhere.
Going by all these trends, my question would be “Is 2013 the year of mobile devices?” because that is what it is looking out to be. Commercial printing and direct mailing by companies like PrintPlace.com are definitely facing steep competition, though there really is no guarantee where the winds will blow. Whatever the case, we should all nevertheless be braced for all the expected and unexpected changes in fads and trends all over the world. A successful business is a flexible one, especially when it comes to small businesses.