The Year of SMS, Sort Of -- And Other 2010 Predictions

As we all gear up for the new year, I figured I would join the long list of bloggers making predictions for 2010.  As a courtesy, I am going to keep my positions simple and VERY straightforward, as this will make it easy for each of you to call me out at year's end for any and all completely incorrect calls that I made.


1.     The Year of SMS, Sort of Could it be?  As email marketers, we have heard for years how critical SMS communications would be to brands and consumers.  In fact, I recently heard an analyst joke that we just finished the Decade of SMS Marketing.  It felt like each year would be the year for marketers to invest heavily in mobile programs, but that investment never seemed to become a reality. 

While mobile has become critical for alert and time-sensitive communications, applications for direct marketing have not materialized.  While some brands have leveraged mobile in a meaningful way (to capture off-line options to campaigns, for example), few have committed heavily.  I think 2010 will be the year of mobile - but not from a traditional direct marketing standpoint.  As applications proliferate on mobile devices and further integrate location services, we will see marketers trying to leverage true location marketing. 



I think 2010 is the year for early adopters in location-based marketing.  If you are not the early adopter type, be sure you are using mobile for critical alerts or offline opt-ins while you wait for location-based case studies to hit the street.  Then make sure you have a mobile (iPhone/Android) application ready to go for 2011.

2.     Video (Rich Media) and Email. Many of you remember the early days of rich media, plagued with painfully slow connection speeds, uncertain delivery guidelines, email clients that did not render HTML, etc.  Rich media was expensive to create and difficult to deliver.  With the recent push from GoodMail and others, I think rich media will find its place as a staple in the marketer's arsenal.  

I am most excited about the ability to run JavaScript within the email itself.  For some clients, this is enabling us to create whole new, dynamic experiences within campaigns (including integrating enhanced social media capabilities within the inbox).  Stay tuned for more in this area throughout the year.

3.     Socialization of Direct Marketing. Socializing traditional direct marketing programs will remain a growing trend this year.  Consumers are more networked than ever before, and their access to information about a brand's products and services has never been more transparent.  It is critical that brands embrace word-of-mouth marketing and gain a clear understanding of who influences product purchase decisions and how to engage these "influencers" in a proactive and meaningful way.  We will see a number of new campaign management solutions hit the market to address this need.

4.     Automation. Even though it seems we are taking the initial steps to economic recovery, (please knock on wood now), businesses are still looking to do more with less.  Forrester Research's recently released fourth-quarter 2009 Email Wave report, cited that 20% of marketers surveyed have lost staff in the last year.  Call me crazy, but I think many marketers will look to make up for this loss in personnel by outsourcing or automating processes that deploy email communications. 

I think 2010 will be a busy year for marketers looking to automate personalized communications.  These messages can be triggered by e-commerce systems, CRM applications, Web analytics packages and more.  I predict that the most sophisticated email marketers in the U.S. will implement more and more automation throughout this year and into 2011.

5.     Lifetime Customer Value. Nope, not this year either.  It continues to amaze me that so few organizations can create a meaningful metric around lifetime customer value.  While a number of formulas exist to calculate this most elusive of metrics, I am not confident that the industry at large will figure this one out anytime soon. Especially since the rise of social media has introduced the concept of "referral value," which complicates the calculation of lifetime customer value even more.  

There you have it: my predictions for 2010.  Please use the comments section to agree, disagree or voice your own predictions, and we'll see who's right in a year.

5 comments about "The Year of SMS, Sort Of -- And Other 2010 Predictions".
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  1. Brian Hayashi from ConnectMe 360, January 7, 2010 at 5:52 p.m.

    Ryan, are you suggesting that StrongMail will be offering an email solution that enables Javascript UI elements to be included in the body of the email?

  2. Kurt Johansen from Johansen International, January 7, 2010 at 6:01 p.m.

    Hi Ryan, a great article and time will tell. Firstly I believe the market should be segmented into two broad categories to really see how your predictions will go. They are: 1. Corporations and 2. Small - Medium businesses -the mum and dad businesses (loose interpretation, employing 0-100). My email marketing services best serves the Small-Medium business. In Australia 70% of people are employed within this group. Once this is determined it is ideal to look at who their customers are and the answer is local people. Ok, with in mind what is the quickest, easiest, most economical way to market to this group of people and it is email. It then relies on having 1. A list 2. A relationship with your list and 3. providing them with sound information and give them an offer. SMS is a good tool but limited in file size. Outsourcing is the way to go for these businesses and I am looking forward to the embedding of video (economically for this second group) in email and I believe this will be the wave of new marketing in 2010. Cheers Kurt

  3. Carrie Vawter-yousfi from Crowd Science, January 7, 2010 at 7:38 p.m.

    Like your predictions. This is why Crowd Science will be the choice for audience measurement. Cheers!

  4. Ryan Deutsch, January 8, 2010 at 12:33 p.m.

    Brian, that is correct but let me be clear that the capability is offered via integration with GoodMail's certified video tokens. I would be happy to give you additional detail.

  5. Steve Noble from, January 8, 2010 at 2:48 p.m.

    Good article Ryan. I offer Internet and Mobile video ad services to SMBs and feel you're article could be a road map for SMB success in 2010! You have made some interesting observations and projections that also look like promising guidelines for business owners to stay in tune with this year! Best wishes to you and keep the articles coming.

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