JWTIntelligence has released its top ten predictions for 2013, each of which is worth reviewing and considering not just because all may be relevant to your business, but because all ten trends are connected in this increasingly complex social business marketplace. Consider for a moment how each of the following ten trends are related to one another:
1. Play as a Competitive Advantage
2. The Super Stress Era
3. Intelligent Objects
4. Predictive Personalization
5. Mobile Fingerprint
6. Sensory Explosion
7. Everything is Retail
8. Peer Power
9. Going Private in Public
10. Health & Happiness
While some trends reflect an open-armed embrace of new technology (numbers 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8) and others a reaction to it (numbers 2, 6, 9, 10), one stands out as the most disruptive to those hoping to market brands, products and services in 2013 – predictive personalization.
Real-time technologies have thrown companies and marketers that built their businesses around traditional technology into a tailspin as the size that served as a demonstration of their success now works against them due to the inertia it causes. The predictive web compounds this problem.
Predictive personalization operates on two levels. Based on the increasing data customers share about their buying habits through social media, it’s become possible to predict with a high degree of accuracy what products or services would be of interest to a consumer. The simplest example of this is the highly-targeted Facebook ads.
On a group level, the predictive web also draws conclusions about collective behavior based on decentralized and self-organizing systems. In this capacity each consumers serves as a node in the network informing predictions around what an interest group or demographic may do.
The challenges this presents to marketers are obvious from effective listening and response at scale, to the integration of predictions into product lines and marketing within ever-tighter time frames, to the broader challenge of scaling intimacy as every one of your customers expect personalized attention, sales, and service.
Fortunately marketers can enlist a suite of tools that simplify this process but perhaps the greatest stumbling block to succeeding in this new marketplace is the marketer itself. While technology is dispassionate about change, marketers continue to be deeply resistant and unsettled by its pace and scale, in contrast to consumers whose appetite for new and personalized experiences continues to expand.
The marketers that will win the future will be those with skills sets that balance emotional storytelling and technological curiosity, malleable infrastructure and nimble minds, customer empathy and attentive listening.
The predictive web will cause more than a shift in the marketplace. It is building a new market based on a different time frame, set of priorities and modes of customer engagement. As uncertain as the future looks, one thing is clear. Marketers that don’t move in lock step with technology will disappear underfoot.
Simon Mainwaring is the founder of We First, a leading brand consultancy that provides purpose-driven strategy, content, and training that empowers companies to lead business, shape culture, and better our world.