With 2009 coming to a close, and this being my last post of the year, I figured a list of the hot issues facing marketers in 2010 would make sense. I have written more extensively on most of the subjects over the course of the year, but I'll keep it short here and just provide the most relevant links to past musings. So, in no particular order, here comes 2010:
1. Rise of Mobile - Mobile is going to be huge in 2010, especially if marketers can build digital campaigns with mobile extensions. Digital provides reach, and mobile can provide increased depth of interaction. For more on why 2010 is FINALLY the year of mobile, check out last week's post on "Why Mobile In 2010."
2. Facebook Connect - It's hard to overstate the implications of Facebook Connect for marketers. The ability to create more rewarding experiences for consumers, and simply be more creative, by using Facebook Connect will change all digital marketing efforts -- and, I believe, take "social media" out of its silo. For more on Facebook Connect's implications, check out "The End of Social Media" and "Secret Race For Permission."
3. Cause Marketing - I don't know what digital rock you've been under if you haven't heard that Pepsi has pulled out of the Super Bowl to focus more on marketing for the social good. The key will be, can Pepsi activate people to spread its message because of the social good they are doing? Social media makes this a very possible outcome with the right programs put in place. Put simply, Pepsi is hoping, as I wrote earlier, that "Corporate Social Responsibility = Profitability."
4. Engagement Pricing - Digital media -- heck, all media -- needs new metrics that do a better job at measuring the value publishers deliver to marketers. These metrics should be harder to "fake" - and should be able to be standardized across media outlets for media buyers and planners. No, engagement won't be the only metric, but I'd put my money (and have) on it being one that stands out in 2010.
5. Social Media Agencies - I know, it's crazy, right? How can I claim the "end of social media" is coming and that social media agencies will take off in 2010? Well, for those who read the entire post, I say what actually will end is considering social media a marketing silo. Instead, the skills that make a marketing firm good at executing "social media campaigns" from concept, to execution, to management, will be the skill set required by ALL digital agencies. Most likely, we will see something like what the marketing industry saw with the growth of search engine marketing: a rise of specialty agencies in the social media space, and the subsequent acquisitions of said agencies by holding companies and larger digital shops to help provide scale.
6. Local - See mobile. If you're working on a national brand, what's your local mobile and digital strategy extension?
7. Brand Dollars Go Digital - It can be argued very easily that we are witnessing a "direct response bubble" in digital marketing. This is because of a near obsession in closing the loop on ROI measurement. More and more marketers are expanding their definitions of digital ROI outside of direct response and looking at how digital can help achieve brand objectives. And as I argued before, it's just a question of scale and efficacy before digital media can compared to more traditional forms of marketing initiatives. See: "$1 Million Social Media Marketing Challenge."
8. Social Media Campaigns Grow Up - Will we stop hearing the word "viral" in 2010? I doubt it, but we can hope to hear it a whole lot less. I think the social media landscape is littered with enough failed viral efforts that most sane marketers and agencies will stop thinking that social media as "free." There is a formula and a science to making social media efforts work. Dedicated resources, measurement of the right things, and adapting to what is learned will make social efforts more stable.
9. Real-Time Search - This is perhaps the most "bleeding edge" of any of the trends/issues facing marketers in 2010, but I do believe it is one that can have a major impact -- and very quickly. The simple fact is that as real-time search improves, so does people's ability to get real-time, unfiltered feedback from peers on products and services. It will be much harder for brands to control or manage their reputation, as with review sites. Instead, brands will need to turn to strategies that encourage positive conversations to balance out the inevitable bad.
10. Whatcha Got? I figured I'd leave the 10th open and hear what you all think. Drop me a line on Twitter at www.twitter.com/joemarchese and/or add your thoughts to the comments on the Spin board below.
Have a great New Year's, everyone! Thanks for reading in 2009, and here's to an exciting 2010!