New SoDA Report Previews 2014 Trends in Digital Marketing

SODAReport2013-2.png-300For insights into where digital-marketing might be heading in 2014, download the 2H 2013 edition of “The SoDA Report: Digital Marketing Outlook.” Published by SoDA, the Global Society for Digital Marketing Innovators, the report has become a leading voice of digital agencies and production companies worldwide.

The 138-report includes 22 essays, 18 case studies, and interviews with luminaries such as predictive analytics guru Mike Kuniavsky of PARC Innovation Services. The content is designed to keep brands, agencies and consultants aware of issues that are likely to drive real business improvement in 2014.

“Keeping abreast of digital innovation is increasingly critical for marketers and agencies that want to be successful in 2014,” said Chris Buettner, SoDA executive director and managing editor of The SoDA Report. “This report gives not just a look at some of the most successful campaigns of 2013 but also key insights that will help readers ensure they don’t get left behind in this fast-changing business.”

This edition includes essays on how brands can:

  • speed up their innovation cycles:
  • cultivate smarter, more responsive online communities; and
  • use ethnographic research techniques to develop a stronger understanding of the motivations and behaviors of people

The SoDA Report is divided into five sections:

  • Industry Insider: Trends, issues, and best-in-class methods that are shaping the future of digital agencies and production companies worldwide.
  • Modern Marketer: Client-side innovations that are delivering a new generation of success stories in digital marketing.
  • People Power: Education and talent cultivation within the industry, including user-experience and the power of human understanding.
  • Tech Talk: Future technology developments and trends that are likely to have a powerful impact in 2014.
  • Advocacy: Communicating collective power and positions around key issues impacting digital agencies and production companies globally.

The case-study section includes projects executed by brands such as KLM, Google, Yamaha, Burberry, Philips, Lenovo, Adobe, Lynx and Gulfstream.

Some of the thought-provoking articles include:

  • The Digital Agency Paradox (teaching clients to do what we do) by David Maren, EffectiveUI
  • Brands: How to Get Agile with your Agency by Jack Skeels, AgencyAgile
  • Integrating Multiple Agencies into One Brand Team, by Stacie Hoffmeister
  • Simple and Valuable Recruiting Advice, by Matt Paddock, Grow Interactive
  • The Personalization of Everything, by Stephen Foxworthy, Reactive
  • Consumer Control: Coming to a Store Near You, by Alessandra Lariu, SheSays
  • A Call to (Legal) Action, by Brad Gross, SoDA

Now in its fifth year, the bi-annual SoDA Report trends publication is one of the most-read reports in the digital-marketing industry. The first edition of 2013, released in March, was viewed or downloaded by more than 150,000 people.


Slideshare: The SoDA Report: Digital Marketing Outlook

About SoDA


Survey Shows How Photographers Plan to Grow Their Businesses in 2013

Photographers_Outlook_on_2013PHOTOGRAPHERS. PhotoShelter recently published the results of a “2013 outlook” survey they conducted in November, 2012.  The report “The Photographer’s Outlook on 2013” offers an in-depth look at photographers’ top business and marketing goals, investment plans, and revenue expectations for 2013. It also talks about some of their anticipated challenges.

The 46-question survey was sent to photographers who use PhotoShelter products as well as members of the photography community at large who receive PhotoShelter’s monthly newsletter.

Over 5,000 photographers responded to the survey. Sixty-nine percent live in the United States; 35 percent live outside the U.S. The respondents included full-time professionals (34 percent), part-time professionals (31 percent), aspiring pros (23 percent), hobbyists (10 percent) and students (2 percent).

Key Findings

Although 74 percent of the respondents said their top business challenge was finding new clients, many feel encouraged about their business prospects and plan to dedicate time and resources to marketing, solidifying their online presence, and growing their bottom lines.

Revenue and Spending

  • 93 percent plan to invest to improve their photography
  • 69 percent expect to make most of their revenue from new clients
  • 74 percent say finding new clients will be their biggest challenge


  • 54 percent say word-of-mouth referrals are the greatest marketing channel for finding new clients
  • 68 percent will focus on social media to market their work
  • 73 percent will use Facebook to promote their photo business

Business Tools and Planning

  • 90 percent plan to improve their websites
  • 76 percent will use Google Analytics to track and improve their website
  • 79 percent plan to attend more network and industry events

Along with the survey results, the report includes business-growth tips and resources on marketing, business strategy, and revenue-building.

About PhotoShelter

PhotoShelter offers professional, reliable and innovative online tools for growing a photography business. PhotoShelter’s websites, social, and SEO tools enable photographers to show their work online and attract new clients. Online image archives help photographers stay organized and access images on the fly. Image delivery and e-commerce tools help photographers sell their work easily and securely.

The Photographer’s Outlook on 2013 joins PhotoShelter’s ongoing series of free business guides for photographers and marketing professionals. PhotoShelter’s e-book library includes 25+ educational guides including topics such as social media, email marketing, and starting a photography business.



The Photographer’s Outlook on 2013

PhotoShelter’s E-Book Library

About PhotoShelter

Mega-Trend: Re-Imagining Everything for an Asset-Light Generation

In a widely shared presentation on Internet trends, Mary Meeker of the venture-capital firm KPCB (Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, & Byers) presented statistics about the global growth of the Internet and rapid adoption of mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, and e-readers).  It’s worth reading, partly because the ideas contained here will help influence the thousands of entrepreneurs who dream of creating business plans worthy of receiving start-up funds from companies such as KPCB.

KPCB Internet Trends 2012 from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Once you get past the first section with all of the basic stats, the next two sections can give you a much broader understanding of what the trends means and how they might affect your life and career. In Section 2 Meeker talks about the re-imagination of nearly everything. In Section 3 she discusses the rise of the “Asset-Light” generation and an economy based on sharing things instead of owning them.

Re-Imagining How We Live and Work

Meeker summarizes all of the things that entrepreneurs and technology providers have helped us “re-imagine” over the past couple of decades.

For example, when we do research, we no longer rely on printed encyclopedias that are updated annually. Instead, we turn to Wikipedia because it is updated in real-time. And instead of waiting for newspapers or TV shows to deliver news that has been gathered by reporters, we check our Twitter feeds for headlines that are being written and shared by people around the world.  Navigation technology has replaced the need for printed maps and the popular Evernote app has changed the way we take notes. Technology has changed how we shop, pay for things, recruit employees, read books, and preserve memories. We use Pinterest in place of scrapbooks.

Computers, too, have also been re-imagined. Soon, fewer of us will use keyboards and mice with laptop and desktop computers. Instead, many of us will rely almost exclusively on smartphones and tablets that respond to our touch and voice.

Areas currently in the midst of being “re-imagined” include education, healthcare, and employment:

  • People will be able to attend classes anytime and anywhere they choose;
  • Consumers can use technology to track and analyze data about their health and fitness;
  • Companies will hire fewer permanent staffers and rely more on temporary employees.

Education, healthcare, and staffing are ripe for re-imagining because billions of dollars could be saved by reducing some of the costs associated with delivering effective healthcare, providing high-quality education, and employing full-time workers.

Sharing Assets Instead of Owning Them

Meeker also talked about the rise in the “asset-light” era, in which people will focus less on acquiring more things and more on accessing what we want, when we want it. For example, instead of purchasing collections of physical books, magazines, music CDs, and movie DVDs, we will access digital content on-demand when we want it.

The biggest advantage of adopting an “asset-light” lifestyle is that it will require less time, space, and money than buying, storing, organizing, and maintaining collections of stuff.

Companies that use flexible staffing services will not only spend less on employee benefits, but also will spend less on building, furnishing, and maintaining offices.

How Creative Pros Are Affected

After you read through Meeker’s presentation, you will see how some of the news and posts on this blog provides concrete examples of the mega-trends she outlines.

For example, in her presentation, Meeker noted that Photography is one area that already has been re-imagined. Instead of toting around a dedicated camera and removing the film or card to process the images, more of us are using smartphones to capture, edit, and share photos instantly.

As it has become easier for photography enthusiasts to shoot better pictures and sell them, many professional photographers have “re-imagined” their own businesses to serve other fields that are being re-imagined, including art, communications, publishing, and marketing.  (See: Guide Suggests Ways to Rethink Your Photography Business for the New Economy and New App Helps You Sell iPhone Images at Stock Photos and Photographer Uses Aurasma to Bring Still Photos to Life)

Art. In previous posts on this blog, I have written about new ways for collectors to view, buy and display art. Meeker’s comments about the asset-light generation made me wonder how technology is going to affect the next generation of art collectors.

Will art lovers from the asset-light generation prefer to “rent” art instead of buy it? (See post: Subscription Art Service Benefits Art Lovers and Artists). Will they buy displays on which they can digitally display works that they store in the clouds (See: Collect Limited-Edition Art in Digital Form and Digital Canvas and Other Advanced Displays at Miami Art and Design Shows and Art2p0 Enables Artists to Sell Work for Digital Display)

It’s too soon to tell how quickly some of these ideas will take hold, and how these trends will affect opportunities for artists.

Publishing. The re-imagination of books and magazines for publication on mobile devices has disrupted the traditional publishing business. It has also required authors, designers, and photographers to re-evaluate what skills and services they should develop.

Since book authors are already expected to build their own platforms for gaining name recognition needed to sell their books, traditional publishers shouldn’t be surprised that many authors may choose to self publish their work first, either as an e-book or on-demand printed book. (See: Digital Book World Conference Looks at Business Challenges to Traditional Publishers)

But now that books are being “re-imagined” for multimedia and/or transmedia formats, the role of publishers and editors will change too. Traditional publishing companies will not only be responsible for editing the written content and designing covers, but orchestrating the production of video and audio elements as well.  (See: Publishing Enhanced Novels May Require Teams of Writers, Artists, and Musicians)

Design.  Meeker’s presentation talks about how product design has been re-imagined. Instead of using in-house R&D teams to design products in secret, companies are turning to open, crowdsourced design, collaborative design, online broadcast of product evaluation, and 3D Printed Prototypes. The rationale behind this trend is described in detail in Chris Anderson’s book: “Makers: The New Industrial Revolution.”  (See: Will 2013 Be the Year of the Makers?)

A survey on the website revealed mixed feelings about the practice of crowdsourcing design. (See: What Do You Think About Crowdsourced Design?)

Creative Solopreneurs. In her presentation, Meeker notes that instead of hiring full-time fixed-cost employees, companies will use online staffing services such as oDesk, Freelancer, onForce to employ people on-demand. While it’s easy to understand why this trend might appeal to employers, the rethinking of “jobs” can also benefit creative solopreneurs.

As discussed in previous posts on this blog, the rise of the independent workforce enables you to earn income from projects that genuinely excite you while retaining enough time and freedom to pursue personal projects. (See: New World of Work Requires Attitude Shift and Freelancers Can Thrive in New Era of Indpendent Workers and Fast Company’s Career Advice for Generation Flux)

As Chris Anderson points out in his book “Makers,” everyone can be an entrepreneur. Thanks to the rise of the Internet and mobile devices, we all have easy access to the tools to design new products, fund new ventures, and market what we create. Plus, with the Internet, every new company instantly has access to a global market.

Some entrepreneurial owners of printing businesses and photo labs have already re-imagined their own businesses in a way that makes it easier for creative professionals to sell their art, photography, and designs to global audiences. These types of services provide printing, marketing, and fulfillment support to creative pros who don’t want to worry about marketing their products or developing or managing their own e-commerce websites. (See: Specialty Printing Sparks Opportunities for Creative Entrepreneurs and VivoPrint Enables Designers and Photographers to Sell Customized Products Online and Thumbtack Press Helps Artists Reach New Collectors )


As a writer, photographer, designer, or artist, it can sometimes seem as if your field is the only one in which the traditional ways of selling your work are being disrupted. Meeker’s presentation can help you see why it’s pointless to gripe about changes such as crowdsourced design or super-low-cost article writing.

In her presentation, Meeker notes that many areas of our lives will continue to be re-imagined. She believes that “The magnitude of upcoming change will be stunning.” Because of the Internet and changes in the global economy, fearless (and connected) entrepreneurs can take advantage of low start-up costs, innovative productivity tools, distributed work, and the ability reach millions of new users in record times. She also envisions consumers having beautiful, relevant, personalized, and curated content.

Meeker believes the Internet will continue to make it easier for consumers to get what they want when they want it, while making it easier for crafty and flexible people to make money.


Slideshare Presentation: 2012 Internet Trends by Mary Meeker, KPCB

Some Surprising Stats About Android vs. iOS Devices

It’s number-crunching time! Year’s end is a good time to round up statistics that can help shed light on what happened this past year, and what trends are likely to shape the year(s) ahead.

A researcher from sent me a link to an infographic they produced with some statistics showing how the Android operating system has become the world’s most popular smartphone OS.

Here’s the infographic, which should interest any creative pro who is engaged in developing new apps (or is considering buying a tablet or smartphone).




Will 2013 Be the Year of The Makers?

MakersThis is the time of year when bloggers publish lists of trends for 2013. Sure, I plan to do that on this blog, too. But if you want a broader view of where trends can lead, I encourage you to read an important book published in October by Random House.  It’s entitled “Makers: The New Industrial Revolution” by Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson. Like Anderson’s previous best-seller “The Long Tail: Why The Future of Business Is Selling Less of More,” the book “Makers” will help you make sense of multiple trends that have gained steam over the past several years.

“Long Tail” outlined opportunities for entrepreneurial self-publishers of niche books, music, and photo products. “Makers” can help designers and other freelance professionals better understand how to capitalize on emerging opportunities for independent work.

Resurgence in American Manufacturing

The book contends that the collective potential of a million garage tinkerers and enthusiasts is about to be unleashed, driving a resurgence of American manufacturing. This new industrial revolution will be driven by “The Maker Movement” and technologies that give everyone the power to be inventors.

While we won’t see the return of giant factories employing armies of workers. Anderson believes The Maker Movement will usher in a new kind of manufacturing economy—one that is built from the ground up, broadly distributed and highly entrepreneurial.

As Anderson points out, the idea of a ‘factory’ is changing:  “Today, anyone with an invention or good design can upload files to a service and have the product made, in small batches or large, and make it themselves with increasingly powerful desktop fabrication tools such as 3D printers. Would-be entrepreneurs and inventors are no long at the mercy of large companies to manufacture their ideas.”

Instead of having to find salespeople or distributors to sell their products, an inventor can simply set up an e-commerce site that can be easily found through a Google search.

He says one of the great opportunities in the Maker Movement is that companies that start out online can be both small and global. They can be both artisanal and innovative.

Anderson believes that the energy and creativity of entrepreneurs and individual innovators can reinvent manufacturing, and create jobs as their small businesses grow bigger. In the book he cites dozens of examples and other experts who agree that in the “New Industrial Revolution,” smart, creative people can discover and exploit billions of new entrepreneurial opportunities.

In addition to the rise of rapid prototyping and 3D printing technologies, the New Industrial Revolution is being enabled by online communities (for research and development), crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter (for quickly raising capital), and social-media (for word-of-mouth marketing).

As Anderson points out, inventors today aren’t working in isolation in their garages or basements. Instead, they are likely to collaborate online with communities of equally obsessed people.  This can compress decades of development work into months.

“Making things has gone digital: Physical objects now begin as designs on screens, and those designs can be shared online as files,” writes Anderson. “This has been happening over the past few decades in factories and industrial design shops, but now it’s happening on consumer desktops and in basements, too.”

According to Anderson, the number of shared production facilities (“makerspaces”) around the world is growing at an astounding rate. He observes, “This nascent movement is less than seven years old, but it’s already accelerating as fast as the early days of the PC.”

The Long Tail of Talent

In the New Industrial Revolution, companies will be smaller, virtual, and informal. Most participants probably won’t be full-time employees, but rather virtual teams or workers that form and re-form as needed.

As was discussed in another book covered on this blog, (“The New World of Work”), Anderson says companies won’t be limited to hiring only people in their immediate vicinity who are willing to work for them. Instead, they can easily find and work with the best qualified people from around the world.

Conversely, you will be able to easily find the types of projects that you are most passionate about.  And no matter what your age or background, you will be able to demonstrate your qualifications through your participation in online communities.

Anderson points out that “The Web allows people to show what they can do, regardless of their education and credentials. It allows groups to form and work together easily outside of a company context, whether this involves ‘jobs’ or not.”

Whereas companies are full of bureaucratic procedures and approval processes, communities form around shared interests and needs and have no more process than they require. An online community exists for the project, not to support the company. Yet communities can’t make physical goods by themselves.

Anderson’s book is filled with dozens of examples that illustrate how The Maker Movement has evolved and how existing manufacturing operations are benefitting from new approaches. He also shares his own experiences forming 3D Robotics Inc., a company that make aerial robotics products that were designed by an online community.


Makers: The New Industrial Revolution

The Long Tail, Revised and Updated Edition: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More


New World of Work Requires Attitude Shift

Online Employment Report Shows Growing Demand for Creative Skills

In its “Global Online Employment Report – Q1 2012,” Elance notes a significant rise in the demand for online workers with creative skills in design, multimedia, and writing.

According to report, “The rise in creative jobs has been driven by consumer demand for video, audio and visuals and by marketers incorporating this content into marketing and social media strategies. Graphic design jobs are now the second most demanded skill on Elance, and other skills in this category increased substantially in Q1, including: video production (+68%), video editing (+56%), audio editing (+52%) and voiceover (+48%).”

In Q1 2012, 42% of the jobs posted on Elance were in the “Creative” category. Source: Elance Global Online Employment Report

Compared to last quarter, the demand for creative skills was up 32%. Within this category, the skills most in demand were web design (+101%), Photoshop (+71%), graphic design (+70%), video production (+68%), and content writing (+56%).

The online employment report notes that “The Online Employment Industry shows no signs of slowing. During the recession, companies turned to freelance labor to control costs and manage uncertainty. Now, as the economy rebounds, demand has continued, driven by small business hiring, and talent opting to work online.” The analysts also see a fundamental shift in how enterprises are using online workers in their workforce strategy.


Press Release: New Global Employment Report Highlights Online Work Trends

Elance Global Online Employment Report – Q1 2012

About Elance

Is the Push for Productivity and Conformity Stifling Creativity?

Interviews of 5,000 adults in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan provide new insights into the role of creativity in business, education and society overall.  The survey was conducted from March 30 to April 9, 2012. The results are published in Adobe’s State of Create global benchmark study.

According to the study, 8 in 10 people agree that unlocking creativity is critical to economic growth. And nearly two-thirds of respondents feel creativity is valuable to society. Yet only 1 in 4 people believe they are living up to their own creative potential.

Pressure and Risk Aversion Stifle Creativity in Business

The survey found that people spend less time creating at work than they do outside of work.

Although workers are increasingly expected to think creatively on the job, 75% of respondents said they are under growing pressure to be productive rather than creative. Across all of the countries surveyed, people said they spend only 25% of their time at work creating. About 69% of respondents believe that risk aversion in business stifles creativity.

About one-third of respondents said they would like more time to think creatively, an environment in which to think creatively, and training to learn and use creative tools.

Education Systems Promote Standardization

More than half of those surveyed feel that creativity is being stifled by their education systems, and many believe creativity is taken for granted (52% globally, 70% in the United States).

“One of the myths of creativity is that very few people are really creative,” said Sir Ken Robinson, Ph.D., a leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation. “The truth is that everyone has great capacities but not everyone develops them. Too often our educational systems don’t enable students to develop their natural creative powers. Instead, they promote uniformity and standardization. The result is that we’re draining people of their creative possibilities and, as this study reveals, producing a workforce that’s conditioned to prioritize conformity over creativity.”

Other Findings

Here are a few other noteworthy findings:

  • The decreasing amount of leisure time is seen as the factor that decreases creativity the most.
  • In the U.S., 72% of respondents agreed that there is increasing competition to have what you create noticed.
  • 7 in 10 respondents said they prefer to work by themselves when being creative.
  • In the U.S., 84% said they like to share what they create with others. This compares to 69% globally.

The study also sheds light on different cultural attitudes toward creativity. Japan ranked highest in the global tally as the most creative country while, conversely, Japanese citizens largely do not see themselves as creative.

The United States ranked globally as the second most creative nation among the countries surveyed, except in the eyes of Americans, who see themselves as the most creative. Yet Americans also expressed the greatest sense of urgency and concern that they are not living up to their creative potential (United States at 82%, vs. the lowest level of concern in Germany at 64%).

Generational and gender differences are marginal, reinforcing the idea that everyone has the potential to create. Women ranked only slightly higher than men when asked if they self-identified as creative and whether they were tapping their own creative potential.

Four in 10 people believe that they do not have the tools or access to tools to create. Creative tools are perceived as the biggest driver to increase creativity (65% globally, 76% in the United States).

Technology is also recognized for its ability to help individuals overcome creative limitations (58% globally, 60% in the United States) and provide inspiration (53% globally, 62% in the United States).

About the Adobe State of Create Study

The study was produced by the research firm StrategyOne and conducted as an online survey among a total of 5,000 adults (18 years or older) in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan. Interviewing took place from March 30 to April 9. The data set for each country is nationally representative of the population of that country.


Adobe State of Create global benchmark study