After looking at 2012’s brand that felt like busting loose and the year’s most eye-catching calls to action, it’s time for our last year end award: Predictions 2013.

The last time we made year end predictions we did pretty well. Let’s take a look:

1) Industry Consolidation

What we said: “You are also going to see more and more acquisitions [in mobile] as companies try to find assets that will help make them more competitive.”

What transpired: In all fairness, this isn’t really too bold a prediction given that consolidation happens every year. However, notable acquisitions for 2012 included ePrize’s purchase of Cellit, ExactTarget scooping up Pardot and Urban Airship acquiring TelloFor those paying attention, ePrize needed SMS, ExactTarget CRM, and Urban Airship Passbook capabilities. As we predicted, this asset type of acquisition proved much more common than companies scooping up similar capabilities to expand reach and market size.

2) Digital Messaging Take New Forms

What we said: “Look for marketing technology companies and marketers to start integrating emerging digital messaging channels into their ecosystem.”

What transpired: We were too early here. Alternative messaging channels did not get the traction we thought they would. But it’s not really a matter of “not happening” as much as “not happening yet.”

3) End of Mobile Marketing “Taking Sides” Discussion

What we said: “Arguments [about which specific mobile channel is best] are going to shift in 2012 into “How do you use a certain channel most effectively,” and eventually culminate into “How do you integrate your marketing communication channels most effectively.”

What transpired: We nailed this one. At every conference we attended, marketers and technology providers no longer argued about “app vs. web” or “email vs. messaging.” Mobile’s focus shifted onto the end user (as it well should), and how to effectively use the various channels available to create the best (and most profitable) experience possible.

4) Mobile Marketing Goes Beyond the Novelty of the New

What we said: “The percentage of mobile marketing campaigns that feel experimental vs. tactical will shift immensely.”

What transpired: A little surprising, but I think this prediction also falls into the “not yet” category. That said, though mobile campaigns on average still feel more experimental than tactical, the big players in mobile have evolved beyond the experimental phase entirely. In my estimation, there are very few companies in the middle, with many doing mobile very well and the majority continuing to sort everything out.

2013 Predictions

All in all, a 50% shooting percentage wasn’t bad, as we’ll argue that our two misses bounced around the rim before falling out. Let’s hope we can repeat in 2013:

  1. Passbook will arrive in full force. Android and Apple currently occupy ~85% of the U.S. smartphone market. As we discussed, Passbook represents the mobile wallet feature that everyone envisioned, with location services, messaging, rich media and ease-of-use all rolled into one. Apple also has a ton of resources behind Passbook, providing the requisite foundation for growth. In 2013 Passbook will become a focus for brands, agencies and developers alike.
  2. Mobile marketing capabilities will become standard. In 2012, companies could get away with not having a seamless mobile experience (for the most part). No longer in 2013. Without a mobile strategy focused on the end user, companies will get hammered on both Main and Wall Street.
  3. Mobile competitive advantage will be about data, not features. In 2012, general consensus about an effective mobile strategy revolved around reach, rich media and other customer-facing characteristics. In 2013, success will come to those that can best harness deeper insights from mobile data and analytics. To use the Moneyball analogy, 2012 mobile success was about producing impressions (batting average) and installs (home runs). In 2013, mobile success will be about finding features that produce customer lifetime value (wins above replacement) and ROI (on-base percentage).
  4. Smartphone Penetration will eclipse 50%. To set the record straight, we made this prediction in 2011. We’re at 48% and counting.

Well, that’s that. A heartfelt happy New Year to all our readers. We look forward to an awesome 2013.

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