Stock Photos Must Die, and Other Undefined Trends
2013 has been a pretty big year in business, marketing, technology, and life in general. We’re not quite halfway through and the marketing world has been tossed around like a light disk in Tron. (Nerd Reference) As marketers, we tend to look forward to the ridiculous amount of trend predictions that show up at the end of the year and beginning of the next. Usually you can find about 5 really great predictions and then metaphorical truck loads of obvious statements or standards the writer had just recently discovered.
That being said, instead of making predictions that are obvious and already happening I’m going to provide you with a variety of ideas i think are just starting to show their face, or at least are just being noticed.
“Marketing” always has and always will be a dirty word among consumers. In general and as people, we don’t like to admit that anyone else had anything to do with our decision making process. Even great marketing campaigns that consumers love are labeled as anything but “marketing” for the sake of pride and raging against the machine.
When the web was younger than it is, people were impressed (or at least content) with the articles they read having any type of visual aid. The problem businesses, marketers, and publishers had was that they couldn’t justify hiring a photographer to take photos for every article or blog they published, but they noticed their readers really liked seeing pictures. This situation gave birth to the stock photo industry.
Fast forward. Everyone is a publisher and everyone is, and has been, using generic stock photos to compliment their generic content. So much so that the really good content is getting overlooked because of the association readers have with stock photos. Getty Images is doing a decent job at moving away from this problem but I don’t think it’s going to be enough. (See the worst of them here)
Social media and modern design have created a very visual audience and, because of the abundance of content, they’re getting picky. There are too many incredible images wandering the web for readers to be happy (or content) with stock photos for much longer. I noticed myself closing articles I’d opened based on my first impression… the featured image a long time ago but it wasn’t until recently that I started seeing others doing the same thing. This follows the many previously predicted trends like Journalism and Marketing Merging, All Media Becomes More Visual, and Everyone Is A Creator.
2. ROI Of Everything Is Here
By now all businesses should have figured out how to use their website to boost their business. Even if your site isn’t set up for ecommerce, you should have data on how much revenue you’re generating from contact requests, webinars, downloads, email blasts, etc. If you have done all of that and still have no idea where I’m going with this you need to make Google Analytics your new best friend. You can give almost any “Goal” that you set up in analytics a dollar value and then directly measure the results of everything you’re doing online.
For Example: If you know that one out of every 10 contact form requests converts into a sale worth $100. You can say that every time someone fills out the contact form on your site it’s worth $10.
3. Creativity Is Currency
We live in a time where anyone can learn to do anything on an intermediate level in a relatively short amount of time and talented people are available to do anything at any time for almost any price. This has brought about the rise of content creation, which is a good thing, but it’s also brought about a lot of mediocre-at-best content, which is a bad thing.
Being able to think differently, make connections other people aren’t making, and think of things that aren’t being done will get you everywhere. This applies to individuals and to companies.
4. People Aren’t Capable Of Unplugging
Tablets, smart phones, laptops, Google Glass, and a million other gadgets and gizmos are sneaking technology into every second of our lives. Don’t believe me? Why else would they invent this? We are forgetting about out “old school stereos” and using music apps on any of our devices. We stopped using cookbooks and instead use ebooks or look up a recipe online. Our TVs are connected to the internet and has apps of its own, or we’re streaming them to our devices while the TV sits dormant. There are even apps to track your sleep habits, your workouts, your caffeine consumption, the way you raise your kids, what you eat, what you read, what you do, MAKE IT STOP!!!! But we can’t because most of these things are, at the very least, making us think our lives are better because of them.
This isn’t really anything too new but in the last 48 hours I saw G+ automatically hashtag one of my posts and Facebook announce verified pages. The good news is that as these features are adopted among all the different networks they’re all going to be forced to get creative and innovate a little more.
Other Things That May Or May Not Be Coming
- People Stop Caring About Social Metrics
- Facebook makes sharing links cool again.
- Thinglink gets people excited for more interactive content
- Editorial departments start popping up in more businesses
- Print will never be just print again
- Online streaming ads will become more successful that cable or satellite. – maybe a few years off
- Agencies focus more on real-time strategies – See Sparks & Honey
- More mobile creation of content