2013 will be a pivotal year for digital marketers with significant shifts taking place with how we reach consumers. OK, we say that about every year. But this year its true, honest! Most of the shifts transforming our business have already been set in motion, so 2013 is the year a lot of them become real as we move toward a more integrated and efficient marketing world. Here's what to expect from the next twelve months:
The age of the PC is over, so get used to it.
While calls about the demise of the PC ring about as hollow as those for the death of the TV Upfronts, 2013 will mark a true pivot point when the market penetration of smartphones and tablets will finally cause marketers, publishers and technologists to step up their games in responding to this growing multi-channel, cross-device lifestyle. We've also seen the stats and the forecasts regarding smartphones and tablets but after years of hype , connected TV and other nontraditional video platforms will also finally achieve critical mass in 2013. Connected TV and the inherent advantages of addressability will be prominently featured at CES, NATPE and at the Digital Content New Fronts in Q1.
The end of speculative money.
And because our industry will finally start taking the imperative of integration seriously in 2013, a major benefit will be realized. The irrational spigot of VC money in ad tech has finally been turned down to a trickle and only those technology brands with the commitment and resources to adapt to consumer cross-device behavior will survive, let alone thrive. Terry Kawaja won't have to update his famous Lumascapes as often.
Agencies will begin to give up media buying.
Agencies and their brand clients will yield much of the increasingly complex tactical media buying to 3rd-party media-buying companies with the right mix of expertise, platform prowess and real-time responsive service. Much has been written about the hand-wringing going on inside holding companies these days as to the best way to face their technology challenges, generally revolving around the question of building in-house capabilities or farming out to specialists. 2013 will be the year, where agencies realize that letting experts handle media buying frees up agency personnel to focus on strategic media planning.
Agencies will marry creatives and quants.
The often-repeated notion that the swinging 60's era of "Mad Men" is giving way to a revenge-of -the-geeks "Math Men" era is wrong and short-sighted. In fact, where we are headed is a weird yet ultimately fulfilling marriage between the two. 2013 will be the year when traditional agencies will increasingly ape the modus operandi of their interactive brethren by marrying creatives with quants. The trail blazed by the likes of AKQA, RGA, Razorfish and 360i will become de rigueur at traditional TV-driven shops.
Data for data's sake will end.
Big Data is advertising's version of the gawky adolescent with potential who quite hasn't come into its own. Next year the world will realize its useless unless it can be automated and applied. The new emphasis will be on visualization as providers will offer brands and agencies clean and efficient dashboards that will give marketers the upper hand in synthesizing offline, online, first-party and third-party learnings. The era of integration is upon us and a fully integrated, cross-channel, unified, single tag dashboard is a must-have to make a brand marketer's digital dreams come true.