At Long Last, Bateman Group Predictions for 2013
Okay, we know these are a little tardy, but we have a good excuse. We’ve been busy as bees during December and January as the typical lull at work that used to accompany the holidays seems to now be a ghost of Christmas Past. So, without further ado, here are 2013 predictions from the esteemed professionals at Bateman Group, touching on areas as diverse as the technology industry, PR and marketing trends, general business topics and even some popular culture thrown in for good measure. Enjoy, and be sure to post a comment or two if you agree, disagree or even just indifferent, okay?
Tyler Perry, Senior Vice President, Brooklyn
VCs Become More Selective — I think we’ll see further reduction in the amount of VC funding start-ups receive, particularly for consumer services and clean tech companies. As a result, we will see fewer incubators rising to prominence with the exception of those focusing on later stage companies.
Location-Based Services Become the New Normal — We’ll see better use of location for mobile companies providing value to consumers and we’ll start seeing more contextual consumer services that use location to deliver more value.
NFC Will Go Nowhere — There will be not much advancement on NFC roll out or adoption due to too many barriers to entry on the merchant and consumer side.
Rise of Citizen Engagement — More technologies will emerge focused on citizen engagement and smart cities, especially as we start seeing more civic governmental heroes emerging and a higher level of innovation happening at that level of government.
Mina Manchester, Account Manager, San Francisco
Big Data Grows Up — Big data was 2012’s buzz word of the year, just like cloud was in the mid-2000s. In 2013, expect to see big data providers evolving their products to provide real-time analytics and insights rather than just processing power. There is also a groundswell of interest in the in-memory computing space, with startups including Bateman Group client MemSQL taking on the likes of entrenched players Oracle and SAP to process, store and retrieve data on any size workload.
The Year of Mobile Content — There’s no question that app stores are driving increased digital content sales. As global smartphone adoption continues to mature, revenue models are increasingly shifting to mobile content across devices. Expect to see more app publishers trying to duplicate the success of the Angry Birds franchise, as well as continued demand for skilled developers who can design across platforms and devices. In addition, many companies will provide services along the app value chain, such as app store analytics and market intelligence provider, and Bateman Group client, App Annie.
Elinor Mills, Director of Content & Media Strategy, San Francisco
Look up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a drone, it’s Big Data! — Big Data will continue to be a hot trend, along with mobile and cloud, of course, but this one is less likely to be embraced by Netizens as the others. Police departments will be lining up to get remote-controlled surveillance drones to fly over street protests, sporting events and other events that draw crowds. Civil liberties groups will challenge this, but just like warrantless wiretaps and license plate readers, don’t expect law enforcement to back down on this.
Meanwhile, mysterious hackers from ambiguous locations will continue rummaging around the networks of utilities and other critical infrastructure providers and stealing source code and other sensitive data from big U.S. companies. In Washington, D.C., lawmakers will invoke the FUD-filled image of a “Digital Pearl Harbor.” Policy makers will inch toward adopting a new cyber security plan. And someone will finally come up with a decent alternative to passwords that will go mainstream.
Laura Franzese, Senior Associate, San Francisco
Infographics become an endangered species — It was hard to visit a website in 2012 without seeing an infographic or “charticle.” While I don’t envision the infographic dying out completely, I anticipate 2013 (and the budgets that go along with it) will take a more measured approach to infographic creation and distribution. I hope to see more quality and less quantity in the coming year, as brands experiment with alternative mediums for visual information campaigns.
Personalization will trump privacy — Google already tracks your every search and click to deliver targeted ads. While mine mostly pertain to sandwiches and Las Vegas hotels (two of my favorite things) the meteoric rise of personalization will quell most fears and privacy concerns in 2013 and beyond. The ‘cookies’ approach for online ads and Amazon marketplace suggestions I predict will evolve into personalized news. As news organizations continue to breed in mobile browsers and tablets, personalized news will extend beyond Google Reader and suggested articles to drive tailored articles from the newswire to the palm of your hand.
Scott Beaver, Senior Associate, San Francisco
Startups and Venture Capital become friends with benefits — Three trends are converging on Silicon Valley that will complicate fundraising as both startups and investors rethink if they are ready for commitment.
First, the pensions, endowments and universities that invest in VC are consolidating their investments into fewer firms, complicating fundraising, and those firms that remain are stepping out of the shadows to differentiate themselves. While VC investing has always been competitive, firms are building in-house resources for staffing, marketing, public relations and other functions to support portfolio companies. These value added services are another factor (in addition to valuation, terms, network and reputation) that startups will use evaluate investors.
Second, the fundraising environment for startups is getting more competitive, especially after the seed round. The Series A crunch is setting the bar between startup haves and have-nots, and companies are under even more pressure to build legitimate businesses rather than just drive traffic. Investors are taking a more critical view of later stage investments.
Third, crowd funding will provide a fundraising alternative to startups. Currently sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo – while well known – serve more as donation platforms than true investment opportunities because there is no exchange of equity. Proper crowd funding, a product of the JOBS Act, will soon empower founders with another option to bootstrapping their businesses from scratch or trading control to VCs.
Suzanne Block, Senior Associate, San Francisco
Goodbye Twitter, Hello New and Improved Social Media Service — No one can predict if and/or when Twitter and Facebook will take a permanent fall. However, a healthy competition is good for the industry. Now that Instagram and location-based services are becoming increasingly integrated into the devices and smartphones we carry in our pockets, I predict a new location-specific social network will arise to challenge and perhaps even up-level its competitors.
Elissa Ehrlich, Account Director, Brooklyn
2013 will be the Year of Sustainable Consumption — The New York Times reported that 2012 was the hottest year on record. On the heels of Hurricane Sandy, reducing your carbon footprint will finally take its place as a priority among all corporations, with customers starting to demand that companies they do business with make a sustainable approach paramount. Taking the lead of brands like Patagonia and eBay, more business models will be built around ensuring sustainable consumption
Fred Bateman, CEO and Founder, San Francisco
Return of the Tech IPO — Facebook’s initial stumbles as a public company will be long forgotten in 2013 when we’ll see strong IPOs from tech companies that didn’t even exist a few years ago. Square, Twitter, Dropbox, Box and AirBNB are the obvious ones. Keep an eye out for good public offerings from companies making money hand over fist in the less glamorous industry sectors like Cloudera, Atlassian, Tableau Software and Marketo.
More Chinese Companies Look West — More specifically, we’ll see an influx of Chinese companies seeking out PR agencies in the West to assist them with jump-starting their presence in the North American market. Those PR firms that can point to some early success stories helping Chinese companies evolve into global brands will be well-positioned for the windfall.
Shift Back to Boutiques Continues — Beginning in 2012, tech companies of all sizes and lifecycle stages became disillusioned with the slow service-orientation, poor results, junior staffing model and overall lack of passion endemic to the larger, multi-national agencies. In 2013, I predict a return en masse to the higher service levels, stronger domain knowledge, more senior staffing model, content creation capabilities and, most of all, PASSIONATE approach of smaller agencies. Small-to-mid-sized PR firms know how to take care of their people and happier people do better work. It’s that simple!