So for anyone looking for three key trends to be on the lookout for, or to plan to dominate in 2013 here they are:

  1. Convenience
  2. Content
  3. Discovery

Keep in mind that these three trends are interdependent on each other.

Convenience is the driver of any digital adoption

Recently we asked people when/where they most often read their digital magazines. “While waiting in a line or for a meeting” was the number one choice by a strong margin. If your brand is not making it’s digital presence something that is easy and convenient to get to, you will be missing the most critical driver to success.

Content remains crucial. How a brand showcases their content; whether or not they use a paywall; interactivity in content; and business models for content ownership are all elements that will play a role in defining the linkage between your success and revenue.

Content consumption in the digital age continues to evolve as more device enter the market, and more generations get involved in digital designs. A good content strategy is far from being a “dust off” plan for 2013.

Discovery is the secret weapon of 2013

Discovery will be the driver of your digital growth. Discovery is different in spirit and intent than content marketing. And content discovery is the cure for several ills that still plague many digital marketing businesses. 

Without a strategy regarding discovery, your content could run the risk of “accidental implied success.” Content is seen during your consumer’s digital journey. Consumers make choices in some cases, but more frequently the content they encounter is convenience driven. It is based on habits, content aggregation, and programmatic targeting.

Without a strong discovery plan, content becomes less of a choice. It should be the other way around. Consumers should be encouraged and led to discover new content and follow their interests, not spin their wheels through the same worn out paths.

The future belongs to brands that can conveniently introduce and encourage access to the discovery of new, and addictive content. At the higher levels of advertising and academia, we hear a lot about disruption and the importance of disruption in marketing. We need to disrupt the predictable flow of content if we’re going to shake up consumer engagement. 

The concept and spirit of discovery fits what ails the content business

Look at Newsweek. I would argue that its migration to digital publishing will be not be led by its leadership or business model or even its legacy. It will be led by a commitment to discovering new content.

The best way for a legacy brand to solve its digital scale issues is to amp up the content. Give them something new. Something exciting. Something they didn’t see anywhere else. But most importantly, give them a unique and addictive path to discover it; a reason to come back and discover more, and a compelling reason for them to pay you for the opportunity to keep discovering.

And if that’s not enough, consider CCD (Convenience, Content and Discovery) as the wheel for right sizing the digital privacy ship. The end of 2012 has gone out with a spate of intelligent insight about privacy and its limits and it has had its usual share of Chicken Little warnings.

Mobile apps offer a way to make under-information work for the user. Apps serve relevant content and offer privacy-complaint ways to support and promote discovery. The issue is whether we can use information data to encourage content discovery. Do it the right way and the user has an “a ha” moment. It’s positive disruption. It creates a positive relationship. 

Create your positive relationships in 2013 be creating a path promoting and supported by three critical elements: Convenience, Content and Discovery.