The editor made me do it: predict, that is. I’m more of a looker-backer and lessons learned-er. Ah, hell. I’ll give it a shot. Only one of these prognostications matter anyway.

2013 in social media

Prediction #1: In January of 2013, many people will produce blog posts and content highlighting New Year’s resolutions.

Prediction  #2: In February, in honor of that lovely Hallmark holiday designed to sell cards, flowers, and heart-shaped candy boxes, social media marketers will inject a little love into their content.

Prediction #3: In March, the weather will improve.

Predition #4: In April, you’ll get pissed off about how much it costs to live in the U.S. (If you don’t live in the U.S. you’ll find something else to get ticked about.)

Prediction #5: In May, you’ll be looking forward to June.

Prediction #6: In June, you’ll be goofing off.

Prediction #7: In July, you’ll be saying “Yikes, 2013 is half over. I better get to work.”

Prediction #8: In August, you’ll be bitching about the weather.

Prediction #9: In September, you’ll be thinking about how fast summer flew by.

Prediction #10: In October, all month long you’ll be thinking about what a pain Halloween is and then on the last evening of the month you’ll eat all your kid’s candy.

Prediction #11: In November, you’ll be thankful you lived to see another November.

Prediction #12: In December, if you’re a writer, you’ll be writing predictions for 2014. If you’re a reader, you’ll be reading them. If you’re not a reader or a writer, I must ask, why are we you wasting your time with this article?

Prediction #13: Ah, lucky number 13, and lucky for you, you hung with me. I’m all warmed up now. Got my clairvoyant mojo revved-up and I’m ready to tell you what I see in store for the year to come as it pertains to this online marketing thing we’re all so fascinated with.

2013 will be the year it (online marketing) all comes together for you.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not so naïve that I’d tell say you graduate from goofball to guru next year. But I predict whatever phase you’re in in your surrender to all things Internet, you’ll make a monumental stride. You’ll buy into the next level of the program.  It may be:

  • Content marketing
  • Search
  • Social marketing
  • Analytics
  • Inbound marketing
  • Mobile marketing
  • Lead nurturing
  • Marketing automation
  • “People don’t like to be sold to”
  • Or any derivative or combination of the above

My point is, I believe next year you’ll buy into something that struck you as frightening, or foreign, or frivolous, or freaky, or f*@#$ed up, or something that starts with F.

I believe you’ll take a step forward in learning to love the new order. Whatever that step is, whatever it needs to be.

The new order isn’t customer-centric. That’s the old order. The new order is customer-controlled. So…

Welcome to the era of no control.

In 2013, you’ll look back on 2012, maybe 2011 too, and come to grips with the understanding that as a marketer you’ve lost control of your brand. The ever-connected customer whose Tweet may ring louder than a prime time commercial stole it away from you.  Yup. The customer controls your brand.

But that doesn't mean marketing is out of your control. It's changing, no doubt. There's more pieces, which are more complex and interdependent. You'll find more mystery, but more answers. You'll have more failures, but more successes.

What it'll demand from you is more time. You can't buy your way to market or mindshare now. You have to earn it. 

So for your sake, I predict you’ll come to terms with the new social justice and make a significant step forward. Whether it’s basic, like blogging, or an intermediate step, like measuring, or advanced steps, like automating, segmenting, and personalizing, I predict you’ll do it. If marketing is in your job description you simply have to.

You don’t have to do it all. And you don’t have to master it all in 2013. But you do have to synthesize this stuff into a strategy that will take your business forward. If you don’t, I predict 2013 takes your business in the opposite direction.