25 Big Ideas, Trends, and Predictions for 2013

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If 2012 was the year of big data, connected consumers and social media, what does 2013 have in store? BusinessNewsDaily asked small business owners, entrepreneurs and experts of all stripes to predict the most popular trends in 2013. Here’s what they had to say:

The job search will change —"According to 2011 statistics, 14.4 million people used social media to find their last job and 73 percent of employers successfully hire candidates through social media. Aside from social media, job seekers are looking at search engines to find their next job. Google has 11 billion queries per month, of which 226 million of those are job-related." Colin Day, iCIMS

Electronic signatures will continue to grow — "Electronic signature will go from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must-have’ as a business imperative for individual professionals, small businesses and global enterprises everywhere as more and more companies electronically sign to accelerate speed to results, reduce costs, and delight customers with an easier, faster and more secure way to do business." Gregor Perotto, DocuSign

The middle class will grow — "The zeitgeist is changing, from celebration of the rich and luxury goods, to ‘middle-out’ economics, with more focus on blue-collar families. Smart brands will focus a significant portion of their product development and marketing on hard-working, everyday Americans. Quality, value and durability will replace glitz and glamour as the cultural touchstones for business." Clark Kokich, Razorfish

Companies will focus on being remarkable — “Becoming remarkable has never been as important! It is more important than ever for businesses to intensely focus on what it is that they are better at than any other competitor. What is it about your business that forms emotional connections with your customers and what value do you provide that is truly significant? So significant that your customers will part with their hard-earned money and, pay more for it at the same time." Robert Murray, author of “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing Your Innate Leadership for Business and Life Success" (Robert Murray Management Consulting Ltd, 2012).

BYOD will get bigger and smarter — "More and more organizations across industries will institute a bring your own device policy to more comprehensively accommodate employees bringing personal tablets and smartphones to work. This means that organizations and technology consultants (both in-house and out) will spend significant amounts of time evaluating which devices are and are not supportable and designing extensive security policies to protect corporate proprietary data." Heinan Landa, Optimal Networks

Brands will become publishers — "In 2013, brands will take a (Web) page from publishers’ books and start creating ‘content’ in earnest. Content will help brands get ‘found’ (via search) and improves brands credibility. How-to guides, quick tips and additional product usage ideas — in the form of blog posts, newsletters and SMS — are starting points for great content. Content also allows brands to start and continue conversations with their target markets — giving them reasons to stay in touch — and opportunities to stay top of mind. Finally, content is a great way to tap into social media marketing: Great content gets shared much more often than static Web pages — for example, a personal quiz gets shared nine times more than a static Web page and customers who engage with brands are more likely to recommend a brand." Seth Lieberman, SnapApp

Social networks will morph — "Let’s face it. Google+ is not what we thought it would be. However, that doesn’t change that fact that we all need to be on it. Participation on Google+ is still important for search engine optimization so we will continue to see new account creation. However, the window for heavy adoption (and usage) by consumers and laypeople has passed … people are on it because they have to be, but people aren’t using it. We believe that social networking will morph into social searching as more and more social media platforms create enhanced search options." Kaysha Kalkofen, tSunela

Crowdfund investing will grow — "Small businesses produce 50 percent of the jobs in America, but have access to 1 percent of the capital. With nearly half of all businesses failing within their first five years of operations due to lack of capital, there could be nothing bigger for small business than the ability to raise capital via crowdfunding. What fracking has done for the energy industry in opening new oil and gas reserves, crowdfund investing will do in 2013 for entrepreneurs seeking to tap into new sources of capital to fund their business venture." Jason Best and Sherwood Neiss, Crowdfund Capital Advisors

Socialized job candidates will rise — "With an improving economy, the class of 2013 (having been born in 1991 and becoming peer- and tech-aware in the age of AOL and modern social networks) will in part choose employers based on the company’s demonstrated commitment to social media engagement with their customers and also with their employees. This will become a driving dynamic picking up even more after 2015." Peter Friedman, LiveWorld

Mobile video consumption will continue to explode — "It will surpass 50 percent of all mobile traffic. Smartphones are the weapon of choice for people looking to access goods and services whenever, wherever. We see mobile video as a powerful tool to make the most of this rapidly growing market. Why? It’s persuasive, engaging and puts your message right at the consumers fingertips. Those looking to develop their mobile presence, without having a mobile video strategy, will find they continue to disappoint customers and lose market share." Adrian Sevitz, Vzaar

The year of the employee — "Senior executives have been asking people to do more with less and the ever-mounting pressure to get results has been wearing people down. Leaders recognize that this isn’t a sustainable model and they will be looking for ways to engage people to show they care and to recognize not only the top performers, but the entire organization. On the flip side, most employees are craving new and innovative ways to dig down deep to make a difference and maximize their true potential. The intent of leadership and employees are the same. The result will be a collaborative effort which hasn’t been seen in decades! And the result of that will be booming profits and worldwide economic prosperity!" Scott DiGiammarino, Reel Potential

Use of sensors will grow — "Did you take your medicine? Medicines don’t work when patients fail to fill their prescription or follow their dosage schedule. Recent studies show missed doses exceed 50 percent to 60 percent, leading to treatment failures. Soon, you can expect to see third-party payers and health care systems moving more aggressively to intervene to improve outcomes through the use of technology, such as electronic monitored packaging, microchips embedded in pills and wearable sensors." Carl Peck, NDA Partners LLC

More people will participate in internships — "With over 50 percent of recent graduates stating they are having trouble proving to employers that they have the experience to be hired, internship opportunities will be on the rise in 2013. In sports, the turnover numbers are startling — over 80 percent. As organizations continue to try to develop more intensive and effective training and on-boarding programs to reduce turnover, it means that more candidates will get an opportunity through internships that hope to be a more effective method to finding new talent." Sam Caucci, Sales Huddle Group

Social media will continue its evolution — "In 2013, instead of using social media as a one-way broadcast tool, work on starting and continuing conversations with your customers. This will require your organization to do three important things: one, listen before you speak. Set up some listening tools (Google alerts and Twitter search alerts are good places to start) to see what your customers are saying about you; two, Respond, using colloquial, conversational language. This will feel weird — you’re used to more formal marketing-speak. Make it feel like you’re talking to a work colleague at the watercooler — do this, and people will start talking to you. And three — figure out what types of conversations you want to start. Do some brainstorming on the conversations your organization needs to hear in 2013, and start those conversations." David Lee King, author of "Designing the Digital Experience" (CyberAge Books 2008) and "face2face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Tools to Create Great Customer Connections" (CyberAge Books 2012)

Content marketing will grow — "Content marketing will rise to be the primary emphasis for brands wishing to increase awareness, engagement and drive traffic. We’re moving past the infographic fad to an era of truly entertaining and useful content. Brands will invest even more heavily in video and we’ll see more partnerships between brands and proven content creators like TV writers and comedians. Meanwhile, the advent of the mobile wallet will transform the daily deals industry as we know it." Jeremy Gilman, Pappas Group

Small businesses go global — "Spin the globe and you can find an opportunity to sell something, somewhere. For the growth-minded business owners and entrepreneurs, 2013 will be the year to explore overseas markets to expand their footprint given the many transformational e-commerce solutions and platforms developed to help small businesses today." Annie Xu Alibaba

Mobile shopping gets optimized — "It’s now a business necessity for small business retailers to provide mobile shoppers with an optimized mobile store that meets their unique shopping needs. Retailers are realizing that they must make their websites ready for the current generation of shoppers. According to mShopper, the average proportion of mobile shoppers on SMB websites more than doubled between January and October this year and is expected to grow even more in 2013." Mike Effle, SingleFeed

Generation Y steps up — "In 2013, you will see Generation Y taking the lead to motivate and educate consumers on the importance of recycling. Corporate brands will begin to see the importance of recycling and will want to align themselves with businesses that are looking to cut society’s carbon footprint. Last, with the explosion of social media, you will see a growth in the importance of incorporating social media with the physical act of recycling." Shanker Sahai, Greenbean

Smartphones become smart personal shopping assistants — "Whether it’s discovering new products, helping you plan your next shopping trip, accessing personalized services and offers while shopping in the store, or paying with your mobile wallet, smartphones will become an integral part of the shopping experience. Mobile barcode scanning was just the beginning. Expect to see many more consumers with smartphones in hand as they roam the store aisles in the future." Hilmi Ozguc, Swirl

Finding top IT talent may be a challenge — "In IT staffing, there is an interesting trend wherein the jobs outnumber the talent. While a lot of people talk about a high unemployment rate, that is not true for IT jobs. Companies need to be aggressive and make decisions quickly in order to not lose the top talent who oftentimes have multiple job offers. For the prospects themselves, we believe that now is the time to make sure a potential job opportunity offers them exactly what they want — not just the job itself but also in terms of benefits and work/life quality balance." Patrick McNamara, Atlantic Associates

The emphasis on health will continue — "Great health is increasingly becoming the most prized ‘luxury good’ and status symbol of the 21st century. Just 30 years ago, things like green-blue algae, and yoga were only associated with beatnik, bead-swinging, long-hair eccentrics. Now they are mainstream products and services that are embraced, purchased and sought after by consumers of all ages from baby boomers to Gen X/ Y. Wellness is no longer just a nice idea, it is one of the most sought-after luxury in 2013." Catharine Arnston, Bits of Health

Personalization will grow — "Technology converges to allow fast, inexpensive and convenient personalization of almost anything — from cellphone cases to candy — allowing consumers to express themselves and their individuality in ways never thought possible before." TJ Scimone, MyJellyBelly.com

Mobile-centric products will increase — Tech companies are realizing that mobile-centric products are not just an afterthought, but a necessity. Our everyday lives are moving away from the desktops and toward our mobile devices. I think we’ll see more technology companies opting for mobile business models. Some may even see the traditional Web as unnecessary." Jeff Schlicht, Auctiva.com

Social media needs to show ROI — "From a marketing, public relations and social media perspective, I think that KPIs (Key Performance Metrics) are going to be most important in 2013. This is a business term that puts the concept of ROI (Return on Investment) to the test. KPIs are the exact metrics by which we will measure success. Everyone wants to know how their campaigns are helping contribute to the company’s bottom line. Activity is not enough — it’s the business outcomes that count." Sandra Fathi, Affect

Big data injects information science into relationship selling — "While many large companies today leverage internal data to aid their selling efforts, in 2013, companies will take it to the next level by combining internal data (e.g. purchase history, customer service data and marketing automation data) with external data (e.g. firmographic data, company growth indicators and third party data sources such as Lexis Nexis) to make stronger predictions about which customers and prospects are most likely to buy." Shashi Upadhyay, Lattice


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