Outlook 2013: Trends That Impact Marketers Now

Some amazing insights from the robust Winterberry library of research were presented in the Outlook 2013 session today as part of the Thought Leadership Series.  The room was packed, and Winterberry Managing Director Bruce Biegel did not disappoint.

One of my favorite forecasts was the “rise of the machine.”  This is the shift to a centralized, integrated technology platform for marketing – that spending that puts marketing departments higher on the technology spending scale than their IT counterparts.  Bruce put it in context, wisely also emphasizing the notion that technology is not enough.  It takes strategy, data management, standardization, data governance, responsible consumer protections and really strong content curation.  That complex taxonomy is the new normal for marketers today.  And you hear about it repeatedly in the DMA 2012 sessions, keynotes and solutions conversations on the exhibit floor.

Consider these Winterberry insights (and track down more free research in the DMA Knowledge Center and on their website)

  1. 20% of people who walk in the store are checking phones as part of the experience – including comparison, research,  buy online.  Mobile use in store is shifting the buy-delivery relationship.  Retailers are adapting to ensure the store itself is relevant.
  2. Watch and advocate for changes to the US Postal Service.  The USPS is not broken, Bruce says, but Congress is not allowing any changes in order to implement the recommendations to improve the level of service and cost management.  Congress controls this budget and needs to take action.
  3. Location based targeting is critical, but we are not there yet.  This is due to gaps of being able to track mobile devices.   Push your technology vendors to keep innovating in this space.
  4. Mobile commerce is evolving, Bruce says.  Watch eBay and Groupon starting to shift their offerings to capture more mobile spend.  Watch for movement in this space.  Note that checking an email on a device is not mobile commerce.  There is a backbone to commerce that must be addressed deliberately from the website.
  5. Email is now “old and mature.”  Except that it’s the most utilized channel by marketers and consumers.  The number one thing we do is check email, Bruce says.  Email continues to thrive and be important.  Email continues to grow at a slow steady state.  Don’t expect faster growth because delivery is such a low cost. The investments are coming in database, cross channel integration and more sophisticated segmentation.
  6. Bruce predicted the rise and fall of social commerce last year – and he was right.  It’s just not working for smaller businesses, he says.  Look for changes next year from the various vendors on helping marketers monetize their investments.
  7. Cross channel attribution is an imperative for all marketers.  If you are not increasing spend, you need that spend to be more efficient. Seeing money move across channels as customers interact in various ways.  Bruce advises that in this effort to attribute contribution, testing is key – marketers trying to get the right things right.  It’s still early for attribution modeling for most marketers, although those who do it are seeing  high returns, Bruce reports.   It is especially a challenge for marketers to keep up with new channels and new data management, when three are no new staff resources.
  8. Bruce predicts more agency consolidation this year.  Everything digital, social, mobile is getting picked up by the large conglomerates, he says.
  9. Watch for more visible challenges to Congress around data privacy protection and data governance. The DMA’s new Data Driven Marketing Institute will be a leader in this way.  Congress will realize that data driven marketing delights and benefits consumers.  “Note that without data, they can’t run election campaigns either.    So it’s unlikely they will shut down the data sources,” he says.  Support the DMA in this effort – start by signing the pledge.
  10. The steady stream of venture capital will continue – $2B invested in advert technology in the past four years.  That is significant .  M&A has been slow this year, but it may be pick up, look for stronger in 2013.
  11. One third of all “big data” are marketing related.  Big marketing data is coming from web browsers,  analytics software, transactional, ad networks and tagging, ecommerce, mcommerce, social data, device and apps, even Internet TV.  Add up all those data sources and you end up with really big data sets.  “Instead of hundreds of attributes, we have thousands of attributes to deal with, “ Bruce reports. Trying to figure out which ones matter is a big challenge.
  12. Watch for tools around Big Data Activation.  These will make data actionable an useable for marketers.  This includes data mapping, data management tools, data governance processes and tools and of course, execution platforms (messaging, social communities, search, etc.)  Bruce notes that most of us are in the insight stage rather than the activation stage, but that this early work will lay a strong foundation.

Wow – you can see why the session was packed.  I hope these stats will help you guide your budgets and vendor relationships this year.

Thanks, Bruce for a very engaging session.


– Stephanie Miller, VP, Member Relations, The DMA


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