In a recent blog post, by SocialMedia Examiner, 6 emerging marketing trends were labeled as possibly having “significant impact on your marketing strategies”. I think all 6 trends in this post are pretty much right on (if you care for my opinion J). However, I think the most significant trend on the list is the first item, Media Fragmentation. TV, Internet, Smartphone, and Radio, as you can see by the graphic by Edison Research, are all listed as taking serious time/brain share in today’s consumer.

Most of us in marketing probably immediately get anxious, tense, or, frankly, irritated when we think about “Media Fragmentation”. It all just makes our professional lives more complicated. How do we reach our audience across multiple devices and platforms and not break the bank? How many of us have mumbled the words “Really, another social media platform I have to pay attention to? Who’s going to pay for that?”

Well, in today’s world of marketing another social media platform may be the least of our worries. It’s about what device the consumer is using to access that social media platform. Are they using their Xbox (TV), SmartPhone, Laptop, Tablet, or their PC? What if they are using all the above (they likely are)? I guess it depends on the type of business you are but you can imagine the frustration of a company who has to create a version of their app for the Xbox, Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone, etc. It’s no joke. A consumer may be watching TV and see an ad for a new app, website, or an Internet special, grab their Smartphone or tablet, and download the app, or visit the site, within a couple minutes of seeing the commercial. I’ve done it and I’m sure you have too.

All company sizes are dealing with this phenomenon. Whether you’re advertising or building apps you’re dealing with media fragmentation. Smaller companies are trying to decide if they should use Google Adwords, LinkedIn Ads, Facebook Ads, Radio, and an endless number of channels to reach their audience. Larger companies who spend significant marketing dollars across multiple channels are deciding on those same channels and more, plus the likes of TV, other more traditional advertising channels. What this means is that consumers are everywhere, and they’re everywhere all the time, and it’s very complicated to figure out the best way to reach them when budgets aren’t increasing every time a new platform comes your way.

Media fragmentation is most likely going to get worse before it gets better, and by better I mean we get used to it. So what is the solution for marketers? What word of advice do I have?

I wish I had some great blow-your-mind wisdom to impart. There’s a lot written about this out there with lots of different opinions. My advice would be to learn to accept the new norm of media fragmentation, and keep it simple. Prioritize your marketing efforts based on your budget and your audience. That is nothing new right? You can do that. If you know where your audience lives, where it’s spending it’s time online, on these platforms, then you’re well on your way to cut through the chaos and succeed.

Is Media Fragmentation the Most Significant Marketing Trend for 2013? Maybe. What do you think?