Last year I made some marketing predictions for 2009 and I was about 90% right. I failed to anticipate that house prices and car sales would go through the roof (although I did buy a house and a car, so go figure), and I thought Kim Jong Il would be dead by now, but other than that, 2009 was a predictably strange year for marketing. The social media goldrush took no one by surprise, but just like Ballarat circa 1860, the result has been a lot of people arriving in Twittertown and only a lucky few people finding anything worth taking to the bank. There were some memorable turkeys (iSnack 2.0 and Westpacs banana video for example) but also plenty of genuinely ingenious approaches to marketing in new, social, post GFC-environment (did I just say that?). Dominos iPhone app and of course Sapient Nitros success at Cannes with Tourism Queenslands Best Job in the World campaign were some of my favourites. If youre wondering what 2010 holds, beyond the death of despots, read on dear reader.
2010 Marketing Prediction #1: People will stop using the term social media.
Its going to take until December, damnit, but I think the recent death of The Photon Groups The Population gamble heralds the end of the goldrush. Social networks will still exist of course. Facebook will be as popular as ever, but PR agencies and marketing managers will start realising that social media was just a crap name for a bunch of websites where people talked to each other and un-tagged embarrasing photos. If all goes well, CEOs might even realise no-one actually cares and stop blogging.
Prediction #2: 2010 will be the year non-profit organisations do amazing things online.
They have the tools. The new breed of up-and-coming marketing geniuses who work in them know how to use them and the barriers are lower than ever. Fundraising online is now a cinch. The internets social revolution has made spreading the word easier than ever. The charities with the best ideas will win, the ones that fail to move forward will see their dollars eroded by the ones who capture attention. Micro-charities and smaller players will be at a distinct advantage.
Prediction #3: Ad agencies will employ augmented reality experts and use them to extract dollars from trend-conscious, clueless marketing execs and then laugh about it.
Much like they tried to do in 2009 with social media experts, and in 2005 with digital experts really. Itll work though, for a bit.
Prediction #4: Green will be the new black.
Green has been big for ages of course. Ill bet you fifty bucks your email signature has some wanky message about saving the environment. But unless your company is run by Tony Abbott, youre going to be under a more pressure to show the world what youre doing to reduce your carbon footprint than ever before. Governments around the world are now actually serious about it. Climate change is real. Watch companies of all sizes follow suit. Its going to be huge.
Prediction #5: Mobile.
Mobile has been the next big thing for ages, but smart phones were crap until the iPhone 3G came along. Blackberry and Nokia arent going to sit idly by and watch Apple steal all the fun, so expect some massive campaigns from them promoting the technology and some amazing applications that make use of portability, touch screens and improving network coverage.
Prediction #6: Companies will start exploiting GPS to a much greater extent.
If you know where people are, you can tailor marketing communications to them. Look at what savvy companies are doing with Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare. Its just a glimpse of what is to come. Check out Urban Spoon and a business search in Google Maps and youll see what I mean. GPS technology is the most important revolution in small business marketing since the Yellow Pages.
Prediction #7: Customer service will continue to be, generally speaking, crap.
Its just not sexy enough and marketers just dont have enough sway over it. No sane marketer is going to voluntarily take 20% of their budget and give it to the customer service department, and few CEOs are smart enough to understand the impact it could have because they dont have to wait on hold or visit the Department of Transport (or Centrelink, or the phone shop when their mobile breaks, or the bank). Telstra reckon theyre going to try, but, well, well see.
Prediction #8: Above the line will stay above the line.
TV, radio, print, and mass media as we know it will die, eventually. But itll be a S.L.O.W. boring death. Nothing much will change in 2010. The internet wont throw up anything massive. Social media wont save the day. Experiential will be sexy, expensive, risky, unproven and requisite of massive brass cojones. PR will be underfunded and continued to be thought of as the crisis management/press release department. I wish it wasnt so, but it is the way it is. Ratings, TARPS, distribution, reach and the stuff you can prove with hard numbers from massive global statistics corporations like Nielsen will continue to attract the big dollars. The other exciting new children will be put out in the cold to sleep with the wolves. Shame.
Prediction #9: Rupert Murdoch will try and make people pay for content and fail miserably.
Because he doesnt understand that he doesnt own the news. And that if they have to pay for it on his websites theyll just go somewhere else. And that people can find a trillion and one other more interesting free ways to entertain themselves online than reading his news. And that people will happily pay for content that makes them money, like The Wall Street Journal, but not pictures of boobies. Not even 157 of them.
Prediction #10: Marketers will know more about digital.
Seriously guys, sharpen up. Youre paying stupid commissions to underqualified interns to run your AdWords campaigns, you dont know what Google Insights is, you think banner ads are effective because they generate impressions, you still like Flash introductions, you spend about three times as much on your website as you need to because your ad agency is charging you $2,500 for account management nail polish when theyre just out-sourcing the thing to their cousin, you believe your media planner when they tell you taste.com.au is huge in the gay elderly male tenpin bowling demographic and you still cant open a .docx document. Wake the fuck up.