Anything successful has context. Remember this. You're going to need it as we move in to 2013 because, let me tell you now, stuff's about to get real.
We've spent the past few years as marketers wrapping our brains around the changing landscape. Social media has given consumers a voice, and finally many of us are starting to listen (though they've been listening to each other for quite some time now).
It's also given brands and businesses a platform from which to speak. Communication between brands and consumers has become a 2-way street, and content marketing has taken center stage. We share information, post (hopefully) valuable content, and engage with our social networks. This is great-we have learned so much more about our target audiences as well as how to listen to what they're saying and glean valuable data.
The next step-it's time to use what we've learned. It's not enough to just be social. Now it's time to be smart and focus our content into the right context.
Here's where content marketing moves into context marketing. This is what I believe we'll see happen in 2013: Context will matter more than ever before. We're listening better, we're learning more, and we're developing the technology and skills to better target, personalize, and deliver messaging at just the right time, in just the right space, to just the right person. That is cool.
High traffic and social engagement don't amount to much and provide very little ROI if it's not done in the proper context.
Here's where to watch for in 2013:
1) Personalized mobile commerce. I can't believe that I can pay for my coffee with my phone. With my Starbucks app, I can purchase my coffee, earn points and share my order on my social networks. Along the way, I've earned points, and with points come rewards-and as I drive by my favorite locations, it tells me that. 2013 will bring more apps that customize your mobile experience. Watch for it.
2) Reporting for marketers by marketers. Good news! Gone are the days when you have to interpret your own data built by IT people. Nothing against IT, but to have a marketer build what matters most to the person reading the reports (in real time) will enable marketers to engage quickly and more accurately.
3) Location-based marketing. There's a reason that Facebook and Google bought Instagram and Nik Software. Photo-sharing networks allow you to not only capture your moment, but to share your location. We live in a visual economy, and people love sharing images. When they share where they're at, as well, we get better data/information and can provide a richer experience.
4) "Promoted" content. At the end of the day the most desirable information isn't that which is sold-it's what's shared. Facebook and Twitter (eventually Google & LinkedIn) will allow for promoted content to take a stand amidst our regular statuses and messages. And look at the billion-plus blog sites out there driving more clicks than ever before. Content may be king, but context shares the throne, and contextual messaging is becoming a major player in the social spectrum.
5) Corporate social training. It's not a matter of if, but when. Finally, companies will get serious about making social media training a company priority, and the most progressively trained corporate teams will surpass those without formal training. In order for content marketing to become contextual, people need to be schooled in the basics of social marketing. Too many companies have lagged behind in this for too long now.
Key Takeaway: In 2013, watch for content marketers to focus on context-targeting their message to the right person, at the right time, in the right space. Marketers will need to learn how to place the most appropriate non-intrusive messages right where consumers are best positioned to respond. If you do it right, you'll engage your audience, they'll share your content with their networks, and that will create more valuable context. It's a win/win, for both marketers and consumers.
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