Can We Talk About 2012, Already?
Wallowing in the Yankees’ ignominious demise, I was momentarily frozen. Should I invest in a review of a peripatetic but, ultimately, forgettable season or simply look ahead to the infinite promise of a new year and a fresh start? Alas, I did neither. Instead I decided to ask a diverse team of marketers how they felt about their current season and what would be in their 2012 playbook. Thankfully, their answers were instructive, if not therapeutic.
2011: Great for Social Media Experimentation
Sure, the Yankees lost but that probably made more people happy than sad. Gayle Weiswasser, VP, social media at Discovery Communications, described 2011 as “a banner year” as they experimented with on-air integration of social media on programs like Science’s “An Idiot Abroad.” Noted Weiswasser, “Social media has proven to be indispensable when budgets tightened.”
2011: Amazing if You Delivered Demonstrable Value
Clearly, I wasn’t interviewing Yankee fans. Jay Samit, CMO of SocialVibe, was even more effusive, describing 2011 as amazing while dubbing it “the year for value-exchange engagements.” Samit noted that the tough economy has actually benefited SocialVibe as “hundreds of brands have jumped on the bandwagon increasing our reach to over 600 million consumers per month.” No wonder Jay’s beaming.
2011: Brought in the Four Horsemen of the Digital Age
Despite being of the Red Sox nation, Brian Kardon, CMO of Eloqua, said he was “missing 2011 already!” According to Kardon, “2011 was the year that the four horsemen of the digital age became real: mobile, social, apps, cloud.” Added Kardon, “We leveraged our online community to help answer customer questions and create new, valuable content faster and cheaper via crowd-sourcing.”
Yeah, well, maybe Kardon can crowd-source a new manager for his faltering Sox -- which is as good a transition as any to take a peek at the year ahead. By the way, most of the folks I interviewed are speaking at next week’s Pivot Conference in New York City, where baseball metaphors will surely be out of play.
2012: This is Not the Year to Hunker Down
It is safe to say that no winning team expected to lose. Similarly, not one of the marketers I talked to expressed any doubts about the year ahead for their companies. Both Frank and Samit talked about expanding globally, while Kardon cautions business leaders who plan to “hunker down.” “When your competitors are zigging, that’s the time to zag,“ encourages Kardon.
2012: Look for More Data-Driven CMO’s
“Moneyball” is not just a shoe-in for an Academy Award nomination but it is a new mantra for marketers awakening to the power of having better and more accessible data. Explains Hope Frank, CMO of Webtrends, “The shift of analytics from the IT department to the CMO will continue.” Adds Frank, “Clean, simple dashboards allow ‘head of the curve’ marketers like Zinio to develop, manage and measure digital campaigns.”
2012: It’s Time to Add a 5th P to the 4P’s of Marketing
Frankly, the only P that’s on my mind is P for Pitching but, fortunately for you, celebrated CMO Jeffrey Hayzlett is thinking bigger. Hayzlett says “the traditional 4Ps of marketing have been joined by a powerful 5th P—for people.” “Never, ever discount the Power of One,” explains Hayzlett, since every critic or fan will share his or her feelings. Hayzlett calls this “the ROI of social media—Return on Ignoring.”
2012: Go Mobile or Go Home (We Mean it This Time)
While my aging Yanks are hardly a sure thing next year, mobile has finally come of age. Notes Discovery’s Weiswasser, “Mobile is incredibly important to our business” so it is focused on building mobile-friendly sites and apps that “make our brands more accessible and fun.” Adds Oren Michels, CEO of Mashery, “businesses need to engage with customers where their customers are—mobile, social, local, etc.”
2012: Make it Personal
Like any true fan, I took the Yanks defeat personally. Marketers who deliver meaningful levels of personalization in 2012 will be in a league of their own. Mashery’s Michels sees this happening with personalized apps, emphasizing that “a great app grants a wish for a particular group of people at a particular time and place.” Concludes Kardon, “The dream of personalized digital experiences is finally here: Drew likes the Yankees so he gets invited to Terry Francona’s Farewell Party.”
Speaking of personal, my complete interviews with all of these marketing “players” will arrive on TheDrewBlog.com before you can say, “it is sad to see someone so obsessed with a silly game that he can’t come up with a better metaphor.”