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Outlook 2013: Marketing Predictions From Winterberry Group’s Bruce Biegel

Will there be any surprises in marketing in 2013? Probably not, Winterberry Group Managing Director Bruce Biegel said during his annual marketing outlook keynote at a meeting of The Direct Marketing Club of New York. But there will be ample opportunity to capitalize on the myriad opportunities available to marketers today.

Reflecting on marketing in the U.S. in 2012, Biegel noted that it was “a very predictable year.” Marketing dollars continued to shift from traditional to digital channels, yet spending in traditional and direct channels experienced modest growth, buoyed by the summer Olympics and the U.S. elections.

According to Biegel, channels with increased marketing spend in 2012 included digital, direct mail, and TV; radio did “better than expected”; and print continued to decline. “TV is carrying traditional media,” he said.

Within digital, mobile grew 180%. “The question is whether it will continue,” Biegel said. “There’s still more conversation than spend” on mobile and social.

Email spending also increased (by 12.5%) in 2012, despite some industry pundits’ predictions of its demise. Email may not be dead, but Biegel asserts that marketers need to do a better job of using it to steer customers to social sites and drive sales, as well as to integrate email data with other customer data.

A 5.1% increase in spending on search also came with another not-so-surprising discovery: the biggest change within search is the growth of local search, he said, noting that “mobile search is the future of search.”

One interesting finding: 20 to 25% of display is now running through social sites, Biegel said. He added that, in terms of social, “it’s not just about Facebook, it’s about whatever’s next.” LinkedIn, he said, remains very stable; Instagram and mobile app Snapchat are current consumer darlings. Most important, Biegel said, is figuring out how to make social activation work.

Gazing into the future

Preferring reams of research over crystal ball methodology to inform his forecasts, Biegel shared in-depth predictions for marketing in 2013.

Biegel led his 2013 predictions by asserting that “the term Big Data will done by the end of this year. More important is big marketing data.” In other words, marketers need to parse through the reams of on- and offline data available to determine what data really matters. For example, Biegel noted that for some marketers mobile and app data will be increasingly important: what device customers are using and where will help to reveal the why’s of what they’re doing.

Convergence was another area that Biegel cited as one to watch. Linking data from set-top boxes, social, and mobile, as well as connecting on- and offline data, will be especially powerful in terms of better understanding customers and better targeting them, he said, adding that decision engines and data management platforms will be at the heart of both. The aim for marketers, he said is: “Based on the data I have, what should I do in what channel?”

SoLoMo, or social/local/mobile, convergence is another 2013 focus, although Biegel noted that “it doesn’t get solved in 2013” due to a lack of standards. Linking these areas successfully will be an issue that continues into 2014, he said.

Privacy remains top-of-mind, Biegel said. Marketers need to be a part of the conversation to determine who is responsible within their company for customer data privacy. Is it the CIO, marketing, etc.? They also need to be a part of the conversation if they want to help ensure self-regulation, he said, predicting that legislators will refocus their attention on privacy toward the end of this year.

The CMO-CTO connection will be another hot topic in 2013. It’s not that these executives haven’t collaborated in the past, he said; but that they need to do a better job of it going forward, especially in terms of the CTO supporting the CMO. CMOs will also get better at customer listening. “Listening is easy,” Biegel said, noting that the tools to do so are continually getting better. The emphasis, he said, will be on knowing what to listen for and how best to use that information.

Additionally, Biegel expects to see more channels get more automated; for example, there will be an increase in trigger emails and programmatic ad buys. As a result, marketers will have more time to focus on strategy. “Marketers will spend less time activating and more time thinking,” he said.

Where will the 2013 marketing spending be? According to Biegel, TV, outdoor, and radio will increase, while magazines, newspapers, and yellow pages will decline. Display, search, and other digital spending will grow in 2013, while direct mail and insert media will decrease slightly. The biggest winners: mobile (77.1% projected growth), social technology and services (32.1%), and online display (18.4%). The largest decline: yellow pages (-6.1%), insert media (-5%), and newspapers (-4.8%).

Click on the images below to enlarge.

2013E U.S. “Measured Media” Spending: $130.4BB

2013E U.S. “Direct & Digital” Spending: $137.2BB

2013E U.S. Digital Advertising Spending: $47.3BB

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