Consumer marketing trends to watch in 2013

It's been a dynamic year in consumer marketing. We've obsessed over ROI, felt the need for multiple screens, and let consumers take control. We've accepted these truths to be self-evident, so it's time to move onto next year

It's been a dynamic year in consumer marketing. We've obsessed over ROI, felt the need for multiple screens, and let consumers take control. We've accepted these truths to be self-evident, so it's time to move onto next year...what will be hotter than ever? And no, it's not "integrated marketing" - because that's a given.

In no particular order, here are my five consumer marketing predictions for 2013.

While somewhat traditional, partnerships will become even more prevalent as brands expand their businesses by tapping into the equity of like-minded other brands. A great example comes from Starbucks, which increased its online access via Williams-Sonoma while also getting taste appeal from Crumbs. The partner brands got traffic in return.

In 2013, real people will overtake celebrities as brand champions. Kraft Mac & Cheese and its play of Frankie and Dottie on social media is inspiration here. The brand turned its social channels over to these 75-year-olds to celebrate the brand's 75th anniversary, and they drove it to online happiness.

In social media, we'll see more brands prepared to handle self-inflicted crises. We know the random tweet can cause drama, as Kitchen Aid so adeptly learned. While the employee comment about President Barack Obama's grandmother insulted Obama's fans, the brand quickly responded and saved face. They obviously had a plan in place.

Travelocity upped the ante with its chocolate gnome on The Amazing Race...an over-the-top example of overt brand integration. Looking ahead, brand will continue to raise the bar on stunts, challenges, and program integrations. The question remains: do we remember the stunt or the brand?

Finally, brands will become more responsive to consumer feedback...in high-exposure ways. We can thank Richard's Facebook post to UK's Bodyform for that. His rant on women and their “cycles” sparked an immediate and high-production response from the brand, which took on a life of its own.

I'm feeling a little bold, so here's a prediction for 2014: We've seen the rise of “multiple screens” and the resultant need to embrace multichannel marketing. We know consumers are watching TV while playing Words with Friends on their laptops, while also using mobile devices to post on Facebook. In 2014 and beyond, we'll be back to one screen: in our hand. But it won't change the need for fully integrated, insight-driven consumer marketing. Here's to compelling marketing in 2013.

Jim Joseph is president for North America at Cohn & Wolfe, a professor at New York University, and the author of The Experience Effect.

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