1. Skip mobile apps for "mobile-friendly" websites
Every brand wants an iPhone app, but consumers do not. Only 5% of apps are still used one month after downloading, according to a 2009 study by Pinch Media.
Healthcare brands have, thankfully, not jumped on the app bandwagon and there is an opportunity for generation-skipping. Instead of using an app, users will visit your brand's website using their mobile browser. Our audit of 46 pharma websites revealed that only 19% are mobile-friendly. Will your website be ready?
2011 To-do: Test sites across a range of mobile devices. Avoid locking your content in Adobe Flash as it is not compatible with Apple devices.
2. Companies move to standardized marketing platforms
As companies seek to cut costs, they are turning to internal IT groups to standardize digital marketing platforms. The trend will accelerate in 2011.
But internal IT teams do not always understand digital marketing requirements. The platforms and processes that host the corporate web site are not the same as those needed to support multi-channel campaigns. A content management solution with templates, distributed security, and complex workflow will actually a hinder a brand needing unique creative, edited by a single group, updated only as often as the Federal Drug Administration's Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising and Communications will allow.
2011 To-do: Talk to IT about your needs now to avoid incompatible solutions later. Beware of inflexible CMS platforms (which are most of them); push for a flexible services layer instead.
3. Multi-channel marketing hits its stride
To apply multi-channel strategies effectively, brands should learn something at every touch-point. An "awareness" campaign that saturates a channel but has no feedback mechanism is a missed opportunity. In 2011, look for print ads with QR Codes that drive mobile engagement, websites with coordinated social sharing, and relationship management programs that span all channels, not just email. The technology for this integration is available now and analytics tools can track measurable value beyond just impressions.
2011 To-do: Plan multi-channel from the beginning, not after the fact, and ensure your creative works on all channels. The real strength of a multi-channel campaign is integration, and the value of the whole is greater than the sum of the impressions.
4. Advertising privacy will be scrutinized
There were (and still are) serious privacy exploits utilized by unscrupulous ad networks to gather personally identifiable information without users' knowledge or consent. Some ad networks used "history sniffing" to surreptitiously track users through a browser security hole, and iPhone apps can leak personally identifiable data to ad networks. Companies that used these ad networks are being already being sued, even if they likely had little knowledge of the exploit.
2011 To-do: Know the privacy policies of the ad networks your brand uses. No personally identifiable information should be gathered by ad networks without explicit consent from users, and pay special attention to claims of behavioral or individual targeting.
5. Brands finally drop support for Internet Explorer 6
IE6 is 10 years old. Consider the opportunity cost of retrofitting websites to work on IE6, money that could be used to innovate instead. Twelve percent of e-Pharma physicians already own iPads, according to Manhattan Research; shouldn't we be supporting them?
No brand can be serious about any mobile or multi-channel initiatives AND still require IE6 support. It is like requiring that all your VHS tapes also be hi-def.
2011 To-do: Do you want to support the growing number of users on iPads, tablets, and mobile devices or the minority of Luddites that still use IE6? You can't do both.