My predictions for the big themes in marketing 2013

As it is January it’s only right and proper that I share my predictions for trends for 2013. Predicting the future is an interesting exercise whether you are a trends agency or someone with scary hair and eyes leaning over a crystal ball. These though are 4 trends I believe will be big in 2013.

The first is the issue of trust. I have dealt with this at length with respect to Starbucks, Amazon and tax avoidance but trust goes much further than that. Has these issues actually stopped you from purchasing goods from those businesses or made you stop using Google? Likewise despite all the trust issues the BBC currently has I doubt it stopped you watching BBC channels over Christmas. Consumer trust and its effect on consumer purchasing is the subject of countless text books. Whether or not it stops you from using a service or spending hard cash, trust is some marketing people worry about. So I believe we will see more activity in 2013 from brands trying to ensure that their target consumers trust them more whether you care about it or not.

My second theme is that rightly or wrongly, social media will continue to become a major theme of marketing efforts. Many brands already have created and maintain a strong social presence and this will continue to grow. As consumers use of social media becomes both more sophisticated and now less frequent getting your message across through this channel becomes more difficult. Facebook, for example, is seeing a change in usage patterns as people log on less and concentrate on having a manageable friend list of actual friends and those brands they really are happy cluttering up their timeline. That means that brands that just post stuff rather than things of value of interest will quickly be unfollowed. This is not a bad thing and will bring a level of focus and quality to what had become a perceived land grab.

The third theme links nicely to the last which is the continued growth of the mobile internet and that as a channel that brands MUST wake up to. 2012 is already being called the year of the mobile. Watching people in the January sales this week I was impressed how many I saw look out a product and then whipped out their phones to search for a review or comparative pricing. When activities like this become habit companies need to be part of that activity or at least visible. If last year was the year of the mobile then this year will be the year it becomes mainstream and brands need to make sure that consumers can find their goods and services in a mobile friendly way or risk potentially missing out.

My final theme is more responsive campaigns. Previously marketing campaigns were months in the making and planning. Today they can be created and put in front of consumer’s eyes in days. Examples of this last year was Lynx deodorants “Sorry Harry if it had anything to do with us” campaign days after the infamous Prince Harry Las Vegas episode. Likewise Nestle sent a KitKat wrapper into space on a weather balloon; the resulting pic was used with the tagline “Well done Felix” in response to the record breaking jump from space. Big campaigns, long in the making, will continue but I believe the eye and mindshare more and more will be caught by clever well executed timely creatives which is an art in itself.

Tim Youngman is head of digital marketing for Archant follow him on Twitter @timyoungman