Six Things Digital Marketers Must Know in 2013

I am very happy to write this column, because it means that the end of the world didn’t come. And we are all still here, and you’re reading this.

2012 was big for the digital industry, and offered many changes in user behavior as well as available technologies. These changes forced digital marketers to monitor their clients’ behavior to mold effective interaction points with their brand. Learning the new technologies allows them to interact and engage with their clients through multiple channels and touchpoints.

With so much to take in and learn, let me hash down all the hoopla to what you really must know.

1. CRM and social media integration

As more and more marketers start to realize the company database, its quality and richness is one of the most valuable assets of an organization, and most certainly to the marketing function. The increasing number of systems deployed by companies now needs to speak with one another and exchange information. We’ve noticed an increasing demand for integrations with CRM systems like SalesForce, MS Dynamics, and Hybris. CRM tools collect and manage information smoothly in one place and many of them provide good reporting functionality and features that a mere spreadsheet cannot do. Integrations are further add-ons that work with a CRM to leverage the data stored within to make it meaningful and actionable.

It was also a very big year for the social media landscape. Not necessarily from the campaigning point of view, but from the data point of view. Social networks allow us to know much more about clients – their social preferences, products preferences, social connections, and engagement with brands. Some platforms like Gigya allow marketing to export data and make use of this information to achieve an improved user engagement.

Web analytics is probably the most common integration adopted without hesitation by marketers. The majority of the marketers use the freely available Google Analytics to easily tag campaigns in order to analyze traffic. However, in 2012 there was a growing demand to connect with more sophisticated enterprise web analytics solutions such as Omniture, Core Metrics, and Webtrends. Connections with these systems allow marketers to store “post- click behavior” of clients, and to target them according to their product preferences, engagement with the brand, and also align interaction with insightful data such as the best time to engage.

Connecting systems and enabling them to speak with one another and share data gives marketers the opportunity to be smarter with what can be known about customers by consistently providing better offers, multi-channel conversations, and ultimately improved productivity.

2. Mobile will be hard to ignore

I’ve been writing a lot about mobile and so do other columnists, so I’ll be brief here as you can read more in my other columns. We’ve seen much more smartphones penetrating our region (Android is stronger in smartphones, iOS is stronger in tablets), Internet browsing shifts more and more from the traditional desktop and laptop computer to tablets and smartphones, with booming online purchase just this past holiday season made on mobile devices; the iPad leading the pack. Marketers are looking for tools to optimize and automate content for mobile devices (I’ve wrote about responsive design – check it out). A lot of marketing spend goes to mobile sites, apps development, and in-app banners.

2013 may well be the year that we will see HTML5 going mainstream and a decrease of dependency on Google and Apple when creating and marketing apps. Another bold prediction is that we’ll see many more companies using online vouchers in combination with coupon codes and geo-based offers. SoLoMo (social, location, and mobile) is very important in 2013, as marketers want to target audience based on their actual location.

It is worth mentioning that email is still the best push marketing channel to mobile devices. This is not expected to change in my opinion unless solutions like WhatsApp, WeChat, and iMessage will open their solution to marketing messaging.

Look out for Part 2 tomorrow,  as I share more trends marketers should be equipped with for the year.

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Overhead view of a row of four business people interviewing a young male applicant.