It’s difficult to make predictions for an entire year as marketing to moms seems to be changing so rapidly. In 2011 we saw social media and digital marketing grow to be much more than an afterthought in marketing planning. In 2012, rapid changes in technology will encourage, if not force brands to think digital first.
So, what do I see happening next year?
1. Tablets, tablets everywhere and not an app to think (up) – Tablets will be one of the most popular Christmas gifts this year. Amazon is already seeing sales of a million Kindle Fires a week, not bad for a product just introduced with a brand new operating system. IPads, as well as a plethora of other Android tablets are clogging the stores and presumably will end up under the Christmas tree.
All those new tablets mean hundreds of new apps for a whole new tablet consumer. I see them as serving more purposes to busy moms than any technology to date. Useful in the kitchen the office and on the road, for reading and entertainment, for checking emails, of course. But tablets also will serve as a cookbook in the kitchen with an infinite number of recipes. It will be the primary homework helper and in the not too distant future, all in one textbook all the way down through middle school, if not elementary school.
Tablet distribution will expand rapidly and as consumers find more and more ways to use them, households will have several in the house to serve different needs. Tablets will be the big disruptive technology next year.
2. Social media niches will take off. Every year it seems there is a new social media platform for brands to explore. Having a presence on all of them seems imperative and perhaps has been as we try to determine which ones will take off. It seems clear that Facebook is here to stay, even with the threat from Google+. But as consumers gravitate to niche social media sites that allow them to connect with others with similar hobbies and interests, brands will have to follow. Moms interested in Food or Fashion have already found these niches sites that are right for some brands but not for others – sites like Food Gawker and Tumblr. Most brands will have to be on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and probably Google+, but increasingly brands will find the niche sites where they can speak directly to their core target market.
3. The day of the “instant social media maven” is over. Brands will look for solid marketing experience for in house and agency managers. Digital will be the way brands really engage with consumers and this will mean that consumers will continue to have more say in the products and promotions companies develop. Hopefully that means fewer product failures and better value for moms.