Predictions for
Social Media Marketing in 2013

Predictions for Social Media Marketing in 2013
By Mark Cameron

Now that January has come to a close, it’s time for marketers in our part of the world to get focused on making 2013 a resounding success. So what are the marketing and communications trends that will be at the forefront this year? A safe bet is any strategy that is not data-utilization-focused probably won’t get off the ground. As The New York Times stated in an article called “Marketers Celebrate Glimmers of Recovery” in 2011, “Data rules… content may be king in media, but in advertising, it is data.” Here are my predictions for the next twelve months.

Companies that can demonstrate ROI will lead the way

The advertising industry is currently going through major disruption. One of the major factors driving this change is the huge volumes of unstructured data available. Unlike having a set of predefined fields that fill a database, such as old style CRMs or competition entry forms, unstructured data is conversations, interactions, and preferences such as Facebook Likes that will be different for each customer.

While many advertisers are still caught up in trying to work out the “engagement” formula—how to get people to engage with content online—the forward-thinking companies are now firmly focused on generating conversion-focused insights out of unstructured social media data. The companies that can effectively connect the dots between engagement, data, and conversion will dominate this space.

Brand data platforms will come into focus

In mid-January, Nike quietly released a framework for developers to connect to their Nike+ platform. For those of you who don’t know, Nike+ lets you put sensors in your shoes and track how you are using your trainers—how long you run and how fast your run is recorded, and you can share it on Facebook.

By doing this, Nike+ have managed to build a data platform that lets them extend their connection with their customers for the whole life of the trainers, creating much deeper relationships—and new opportunities to sell product. With the release of the new developer framework, Nike is making a transition from active clothing product brand to active technology brand. They want to effectively own the active lifestyle data space.

Other brands will be trying to do the same thing this year. They will want to develop their own platform for customer relationship growth.

Marketers will begin to think about ‘closing the loop’

It’s interesting to look at the spectrum of data available from a marketing perspective. Facebook knows what people are doing, Google knows what people want, companies like Amazon know what people are buying and brand platforms like Nike+ will make it possible to know how that product is used. Pulling all of that information together will be extremely powerful for marketers. Better products and services combined with more relevant communications equals happier customers who spend more.

One thing is for sure is that 2013 is going to be the year that marketing data makes a big impact—and the brands that get this will be the brands that succeed.

Mark Cameron is CEO and lead strategist of social media conversion and commercialization agency Working Three. While his agency is based in Melbourne, Australia, he works for some of the world’s most innovative and forward-thinking brands. As a regular speaker and writer on social media and digital strategy, Mark stays focused on customers and outcomes, not the technology, leading to simple strategic conclusions.