1. Less will get done: until we learn to do more with less.
While the cutbacks may be behind us, those left standing have more work to do, and less time and money to get it done. Small ideas and individual channel tactics often consume more time than their worth. The only way to do more with less is to align remaining resources toward a single and powerful integrated marketing solution.
2. Marketers will mistakenly whack a medium of the marketing mix.
With reduced marketing budgets, something has to give. Unfortunately, marketers are making wholesale cuts to specific channels (i.e., print media). Can we afford to drop a medium from the mix? Does the Internet behave like print? Is the consumer experience the same for both media? Are the message formats the same? The answer is clear. Reduced resources should not come at the expense of an integrated, multichannel mix.
3. Marketers will rush to
employ social networking strategies.
Marketers will mistakenly rush to hire social media "experts" to create social media experiences for brands. They're missing the larger opportunity. Social networking is not a marketing tactic, nor is it a surrogate for the brand's social experience. A brand's social experience cannot be placed; rather, it is earned. Only consumers can decide what is truly "social."
4. We'll have more data and even less "understanding."
We'll have more data from credible sources: set-top boxes, foundations, academics, marketers and the media themselves. And the data will concur: the media world is highly fluid, interactive and quick to change structure and form. We are left with a real data problem: we can't rely on past correlations to drive future decisions. I'd say we're entering a "Wild West" era of integrated channel planning.
5. Lines between media will continue to blur.
In 2010, more prime-time television content will appear in more places than ever before. Fans will have multiple access points: live view, delayed views from a DVR, video on demand, Hulu, the network's own Web sites, and shared distribution deals (i.e., DirecTV and NBC for Friday Night Lights). It is no longer clear where one screen medium ends and another begins. Maybe we're starting to realize -- it's all a screen!
6. Push vs Pull will become less relevant.
While marketers continue to debate the merits of push vs. pull marketing strategies, the issue may resolve itself. Clear lines between push and pull media no longer exist. The best content (both programming and commercial content) will increasingly become "push" and "pull" at the same time. We must refocus our efforts on creating experiences that offer both opportunities: to reach as many people as possible, but in ways that will invite their participation and their desire to share the experience with others.
7. Great content will travel at the "speed of share" while "average" experiences will evaporate.
Great content in any media channel can travel as fast as consumers are willing to share it with others. Consumers are the most powerful accelerant. They move content along with a simple behavior: the click. Their clicks travel at the high speed of broadband or 3G. The "Speed of Share" renders the speed of traditional content distribution obsolete. It's like comparing real-time to slow motion! However, content will only travel at such speed if it's worth sharing in the first place. There will be less tolerance for mediocre content, and consumers will have more means of disposing with, and/or avoiding it.
8. The Adult 18-49 demo will become even less relevant as a target cohort.
The media world for an 18-year-old is vastly different from that of a 49-year-old. Every year, the divide between Internet-raised and television-raised consumers becomes more profound. According to "Media Generations" (Martin Block PhD, Don Schultz PhD, and BIGresearch), today's 18-49 demographic cohort contains four different media generations. We cannot continue to cloud our view of this complex truth by looking through the lens of a demographic that does not hold together.
9. Symbiosis will create interesting -- and at times strange -- partnerships.
The media landscape will be affected more by the laws of symbiosis than the laws of natural selection. Consider the relationship between YouTube and television: these seemingly competing channels quickly evolved into a symbiotic relationship. Just ask Tina Fey or Susan Boyle, and they will speak of the power of one medium to reinforce and amplify the other. We will continue to see emerging relationships among what appear on the surface as competing media channels.
10. The year 2010 will become the year of the "good idea."
In the recent past, our conversations were dominated by media channels. In our hyper-focus on the dynamics of the media world, we may have taken our eye off the ball. Remember, media channels, by definition, serve only as pipeline for content. Without a good idea, content will evaporate. It's that simple! Despite fewer resources, more diversity, and less certainty, I am advocating for good ideas to fuel integrated marketing outcomes in 2010.