All Hype or Truly Hip?

With the rapid evolution in marketing technology, today's B-to-B marketers have become overly obsessed with finding the next big thing. Unfortunately, the next big thing often turns out to be nothing much. Here are 10 of today's top marketing trends and my curmudgeonly take on each.

Highly Responsive

The number of mobile users and the variety of devices on the market are increasing every day, making it easier to reach consumers in different ways. With all of this connectivity, a company thinking about its Web presence needs to consider how consumers will see and interact with the website—whether they are viewing it on a desktop, tablet or phone. A concept that has been gaining a lot of traction in the last few years to address the expanding mobile landscape is Responsive Web Design (RWD).

Livening Up Marketing Studies

It took 13 years and $2.7 billion for the Human Genome Project to "determine the sequences of the 3 billion chemical base pairs that make up human DNA," according to the Human Genome Program site. The same editors who presented that project to the world say now, sequencing "can be done in a few days" for what others report is about $1,000.

Microtargeted TV

The most effective marketing delivery channels today are powered by real addressable targeting and measurement. Marketers using direct mail, telemarketing, email and online display ads are realizing improved campaign results as they put the customer and deep data at the center of their efforts. It's time to consider including addressable television in that list of individually targetable marketing channels.

Personalization Rewards Professionals

Ask not what members can do for their trade associations. Ask members what their trade associations can do for them. Specifically, how loyalty program provider Affinity Center International (ACI) and the trade associations it partners with can present their members with rewards they want, says David Carrithers, president, managing director and founder of Reston, Va.-based ACI.

Rock Your Brand in 2013!

I am a brand builder. I am a lifelong learner. I also am a Bruce Springsteen aficionado. Recently, after participating in one of his rock concerts at the Pepsi Center in Denver (no die-hard fan merely attends a Springsteen concert … we stand, sing, clap and dance all night, all 20,000-plus of us!), those three dots unexpectedly connected for me as I reflected on his nonstop, more than 3-hour exhilarating performance. Yes, the man is a rocker and a poet and a performer, but he's also an example of a long-lasting, very well-orchestrated brand that does things right. A brand we can all learn from, no matter your musical preference.

Sprint Saves Green

Keanon Swan wants to help Sprint push the envelope on green direct mail. Yeah, he went there. But he's serious about this, says the manager of Sprint's vendor management and postal strategy. Swan, his colleagues and outside vendors not only got an environmentally friendly direct mail campaign off the ground in 2012 at Sprint, it's become the way the Overland Park, Kan.-based communications company bills 9 million—65 percent—of its wireless customers each month. And now, Sprint sees $500,000 in savings a year due to postage cost and paper reductions. "The reduced ecoEnvelope weight allows for postage savings and revenue generation opportunities," Swan says. "There are many opportunities that have come with this new envelope format that we're continuing to explore."

The Raw Power of the Letter

In December 2010, Peggy and I went separately down to our TD Bank branch on the corner and each saw a different officer on the floor. Our request: Kindly tell your computer people that we are going to Moscow and please allow us to use our TD debit cards to get rubles from Russian ATMs. Both of these officers made the calls while we sat there (at different times) and confirmed that we would have no problem.

Think Mobile First

Mobile site and email traffic continues to skyrocket. In May, GigaOm reported that there are 5.5 devices per household, and they see that increasing to as many as eight by 2016. You can learn an incredible amount about your content by looking at the way your mobile audience behaves on your website.

Walking Google's Highwire

Search continues to evolve and marketers must adapt to gain the greatest rewards and competitive advantages. Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) are both key components of the online marketer's tactical arsenal; however, balancing the use of these two essential tactics remains a challenge.

What Do Your Customers Love?

It's the season of valentines, when people show love by giving their partners something they'll love. In some partnerships that's trickier than others, but most couples manage to figure it out. What if you had to do that for your customers? Could you? Do you know what your customers love? This question impacts every aspect of marketing—from your brand persona to products, offers and your every marketing message.