I just mentioned this in my weekly email but I really liked Colin Nagy's (exec director of The Barbarian Group) Realist's Guide to Marketing in 2013. We've not been short of predictions posts over the past couple of months but here is an uncommonly good list describing some key shifts in the coming year including (amongst others) more examples of clumsy native advertising, zombie audiences coming back to 'bite' brands and apps (see what I did there) and apps becoming the new microsite. That last point, relating to the challenge of preventing your brand app from becoming just another coloured square gravestone in the great app graveyard segues nicely into the point I made below about why Growth Hacking is so interesting.
I particularly liked the point Colin made about a new generation of Community Managers becoming far more actively involved in shaping more fluid content calendars for brands (although it has to be said that many still haven't got their heads around the fact that they need a content calendar in the first place), and using paid media tactically to amplify earned media opportunities.
Related to that was an additional thought around more creative briefs being based on social data, and not just on traditional research. A lot of the focus for social monitoring and its relationship to paid media execution has been around the present and the future – assessing immediate and ongoing feedback and impact. This is moving into also being about informing tactical opportunities not just in social channels, but in other channels as well (for example keyword strategy in search marketing).
It's logical that social data should be increasingly used not only to inform creative briefs in advance but also to enlighten a whole content strategy. One simple example I've used before comes from gaming, whereby games creators use what they know about how the conversation of fans around the launch of a game typically changes to help structure a content strategy that extends out activity so that there is a much broader deployment of content before, during and after the launch. That might involve smart use of teaser and downloadable content before launch, curation and amplification of user and third party reviews around launch, and additional downloadable or other content post-launch in order to keep that buzz going. So as well as augmenting existing research in the formation of creative briefs, it's reasonable to believe that we'll see more examples of social data creating the opportunity and informing the starting point for the brief itself, and helping to structure activity and experiences that stretch over a longer period of time than a typical campaign might last.