The Internet causes us to lose our contemplative thinking skills if we don’t unplug occasionally.
Our Year Preview was a little delayed this year. Hope it still counts.
People like to talk about the death of media channels. Heck, I’ve done it. Death makes for great link bait, so there is bound to be a lot of that kind of talk as digital channels mature. And while different digital media channels are always at risk, (because: Facebook), legacy media still matters because its prestige creates familiarity and lowers purchase risk. Seeing a brand on a broadcast scale demonstrates investment and commitment. Broadcast media investment and commitment gives prospects and consumers more confidence in the strength and success of the offering. Nothing provides that confidence like traditional media. 30 second spots may not ever deliver the quantifiable ROI that SEO does, but they do deliver familiarity and when it comes to purchase risk, familiarity is a soothing balm that is hard to beat. Still spots must be seen to be remembered and there is a lot less opportunity for that- Even in broadcast.
Content marketing is not just for B2B anymore.
Like any new trend, Content Marketing is sometimes derided for being a buzz word– A marketing fad that gets the kids all hot and bothered but rarely delivers sales or revenue bumps to justify the hype. Like any other marketing technique or tactic, content marketing won’t solve a product problem or lousy strategy. That said, I’m a strong advocate of content marketing to drive leads and build prospect confidence. B2B marketers have learned that Case Studies with genuine insight and credible client endorsements build report with remote prospects early in the sales cycle who have little else to go on.
Consumers need stories too. They always have. Now the web gives them access to the stories of their friends, co-workers, and peers. They want to know the experiences of those similar to them to help manage the risk that prevents them from buying your product. This is a case where B2C marketers might learn a bit from B2B marketers- how to tell the story of “challenge, solution and result” to consumers nervous about spending money in a very difficult economy.
Content marketing is tough in paid media–particularly broadcast. 2013 will see it get easier though. I’m looking for more opportunities for long form programming arising out of a glut of channels. I’m also wondering when we’ll see Pandora, Slacker, or Rdio find a way to use long form programming to help labels and other music marketers expose their new artists to audiences with a propensity to be interested in them. I’m expecting to see auto dealerships use long form television to do more than yell deals at channel flippers on Saturday mornings. I expect to see some interesting experimentation this year.
Want a better deal from your vendor? Negotiate a case study. Need to close a deal with a prospect and just can’t come to terms? Negotiate a case study. The Case Study is the magic gap-closer. I expect to see it being used this year to improve net income from both sides of the ledger-revenue and expenses. 2013 is the year to formalize case study agreement from both your vendors AND your prospects. Need help figuring out how to do it?
Ping me. (ok, no more shameless plugs. Sorry.)
If your PR agency isn’t discussing how to place your content into critical traditional media channels, 2013 is the year to find a new PR agency. Your brand story is an essential part of your value proposition. With shrinking staffs, it’s hard to get writers and editors to pay attention. You need to be aware of the pain your offering relieves and the novelty of your approach. Framed broadly and without the hard sell, in 2013, PR efforts will get more traction narrowing the narrative and finding the real value in the learnings of their customers.
Multitasking Effects Communication
How do you get anyone to listen to you if everyone is talking? This is the essence of the communication challenge in 2013. The ill-effects of multitasking are well known. Nowhere are they more apparent than in the communication exchange. Customers are talking more than ever and that is changing the way messaging gets interpreted.
In 2013 I’m looking for both shorter and longer messaging as marketing communication formats continue to propagate. Shorter messaging will particularly effect pre-roll online video advertising. Skip data is more useful than many people realize. And while studies suggest that skippable preroll is not as effective as standard preroll, when you factor in the ability to use skip numbers to measure creative (yea, I went there) you can begin to find messaging and communication methods that resonate more powerfully with customers and prospects. 2013 is the year we stop guessing about what kind of online video ads really work and which ones don’t.
While Content marketing may be on everyone’s lips in 2013, knowing how to do content marketing is a lot easier than knowing what content to actually build and deliver. In 2013, i”m watching for marketing thought-leaders to have more content that matches their prospect’s specific pain points and sales cycle orientation. Prospects need to see themselves in the stories of actual customers and learn something valuable from their experiences. That’s context. It was remarkably lacking even in the best content marketing in 2012. I expect to see much more of it in the coming year.
Big Data For Everybody
The Big Data hype has been around for years. It was largely spoken of in abstractions, though. People who really knew about it didn’t really share too much. Honestly, it got pretty boring quickly if you didn’t get all frothy about clusters and regression analysis.
Many people know that data is more valuable than money, because data can be used over and over, and money spent only once. If, for some reason, you don’t believe this, seek help immediately. Or don’t, because you will believe it this year. If you have data (a lot of it) and you are unclear how to monetize it, there is no shortage of services to help. Behavioral data from your CRM can be more valuable than traditional opinion research, too. Knowing what people have actually done in the past is often more predictive than knowing what people think they will do in the future. People are, of course, creatures of habit and not as self-aware as they think.
Of course behavioral data really doesn’t tell us why people do what they do. Knowing that is certainly important in figuring out when people might change their behavior.
Battle for the CRM feed
This really is an outgrowth of big data. Your company’s CRM database is the head of the data-well for many businesses. Until recently, in larger enterprises customer service and marketing have had a friendly, if somewhat distant relationship. I’m looking for that to end in 2013. Gloves will come off in the largest enterprises as marketing realizes The big data it needs is coming from the call center. Customer service executives will have a choice to make about how they share in a way that’s bound to frustrate C.O.O.’s. Big Data needs to serve both operations and marketing, but how those constituencies get serviced and how the data turns into meaningful stories is very much up for grabs. Grab it we all will in 2013.
Usability work has to focus on the lowest common denominator– now that is the mobile device. Make sure your stuff works on all three platforms-iOS, Android, and yes even Windows 8. (See platform parity.) The best way for you to think about development for new media is thinking “mobile first”. No the the desktop and lap top are going nowhere, but the growth is all mobile. Remember this when you are reviewing your email and website design changes this year. It matters more than you can imagine. So many missed opportunities when your stuff doesn’t work on the mobile device.
Remember the old platform (Windows vs. Mac) wars? Well, they’re back– only this time they are on the mobile device. And instead of two platforms there are three and none of them are open (I’m waiting until next year to worry about whether Tizen will mater). In 2013, I’m watching for real passions to begin to flare as the platforms become more similar, usability improves (especially on Windows and Android phones) and device competition heats up. The truth is the platforms are becoming more similar and the devices are too. What really matters though is that the device and the platform get used. One of the most fascinating things about the platform wars in 2012 was that more Android devices were activated than any other, but way more iOS web traffic was observed. To me those findings meant that more people had Android devices, but iOS users were more adept at using their mobile device. Remember “follow the money” in the 70’s? no? well, “follow the traffic” is the same thing. While content may be king, the king is naked without usability. Usability is essential to traffic, and traffic is money. Search is money; data is money; traffic is money. There’s a lot of money disguised as other things out there. It gets confusing, but competition helps. Here’s to less confusion in 2013.
With Netflix, Boxee, Amazon, and iTunes all in serious adoption mode, the cable box abandonment trend is nascent. And much like traditional television, cable boxes will not die (remember, we will not fall victim to “death-hype” this year), the cable box will simply have a competitor sitting right next to it. Cable pricing models will begin to change. Customers who are not sports fans will start to figure out a way to end their forced subsidy of football (both professional and college) and baseball. I’m optimistically hoping that in 2013 carriers will need to figure out how to bundle entertainment packages that defend from the dreaded (and highly unlikely) a-la-carte pricing that would ruin their bottom line.
Branding First on Facebook
As a client recently -and quite brilliantly- pointed out to me (hi, Ellen) Facebook is the new “cigarette break”. Brands can get attention on Facebook but its very hard to get real engagement there.
Nobody likes this. Blame EdgeRank. Recent analysis we’ve completed makes it very clear that any attempts you make to send people to sites other than Facebook seem to get handicapped by Facebook’s algorithm. What to do? Create unique, sharable content that keeps people on Facebook. Treated it as the walled-garden it seems to insist on being. By all means, move people to your site with content and offers, but try harder to created a branded experience that can exist on Facebook discreetly. Use email, and Twitter to drive website engagement. You still need to organize your customers and prospects on your website. I look forward to being corrected on this observation in 2013 because Facebook doesn’t immediately strike people as the branding platform it seems to want to be.
Google+ Mattering to business and Instagram Mattering To Your Kids
There’s really no way around it, so I’ll say it: Google+ is a pain in the ass. Just admit it and get on with it, because search=money. It matters because Google (the almighty) needs corroboration to make its search results better. It doesn’t seem to trust its old simple spidery self. Google+ is the way that Google can improve search relevancy by having peerage into conversations about web content. That’s fine and perfectly understandable. Google faces serious threats. In order to improve search results businesses will need to get into Google+ and that probably means you.
As painful as it is to manage yet another social media platform, Google+ is still pretty good. It’s rather painfully complex because it allows you a lot of control and personalization that Facebook and Twitter really don’t (and aren’t meant to). I’m looking for the Google+ UI to get better and for the API to open up so it can merge into my other social media feeds more simply. If I follow my own Barnes Law of web apps (that states for every app you can think of, at least three have been built already), this app exists too. I just have to set it up… That 2013 punch-list is getting longer by the minute.
Instagram is huge with the kids. It’s Twitter with pictures and it’s Facebook without the emotional baggage. It is the perfect tool for the youngs to define themselves though sharing visual symbols. Can you speak in pictures? I bet you can. If you aren’t already, I watching for you to start in 2013.
Have a great year!
Lots of talk recently about the distinctions between Millennials, digital natives and their older generational counterparts. This is an insider tactic for leveraging fear the olds have about their technological skills. As most people in charge of things are olds, it makes sense that younger or more technically competent people would socially leverage their tech chops to level the playing field. I’ve seen it in full resolution over the past 15 years. It’s nothing new. People use coded terms and words to mark themselves and to suss out new acquaintances. Technical competency does this too.
Facebook has been a key tool in this social manipulation. I’m wondering if it has gone too far. While Kid-King Zuck does his best Steve Jobs impression introducing new features and functionality, KKZ and company has made what I believe to be a fatal UI/UX mistake by finally over-featuring Facebook.
Features that aren’t used are worse than waste. They are obstructions and confusions that cause frustration and internal dissonance in the user–alienating them from the technology. “why did I post that?” “who cares?” and “Ooh did I creepy over-share?” These are not pleasant thoughts. Our brain punishes us for them. As Facebook becomes more sophisticated, it becomes more complex and stressful. People have to budget their time. I’m a big believer that social media is a feature (a means) and not a platform (an end in itself). We don’t Facebook just to Facebook but KKZ&Co. seems intent on making that happen– even though they contend they are not. “Don’t just enjoy–share” seems like a good mantra until you consider the consequences (asymmetric surveillance). Its no “eureka moment” to understand the platform must self-generate useful data. People like things that are easy. The Open Graph does that just dandy.
The data-mining prospects for Facebook are now mindbogglingly rich. Pre-crime is no longer science fiction. It will be absolutely possible- given the size of the dataset- to begin to uncover “Lone Wolves” –to see anger, depression, persecution complexes, and delusions of grander emerge in digital behavior even before they manifest physically. That’s provided, of course, people stay on the platform. They may not but probably will. Sadly I expect to see people who don’t Facebook treated with more than just a little suspicion. That isn’t good. Facebook takes more than it gives.
RWW has pointed out that Facebook’s feature roll out seems a lot like AOLs in the bad ol’ days. Features become just so much bloated code. Isn’t that what happened to Microsoft? Isn’t that the single biggest risk to Apple? Apple’s case is particularly interesting given their success is tied directly to elegant simplicity. Ironically, making things simple is very hard. I think it was too hard for Facebook and it may be too frustrating for users.
That said, power users are building groups and spending a little extra time to shut out the prying eyes. Facebook allows that, and that may explain why IT folks are generally happier with the current changes than Facebook’s core audiences. Google+’s circles accomplish the same thing in fact its built on groups but Google+ demonstrates the high cost of switching. People just aren’t migrating. Yet.
All we need is an api that reports on the behavior we want to merchandise. Everyone has a dataset of behavior that we all would share if the social contract was more fair and more opt-in as opposed to opt out. I forecast an api that allows everyone to strip the interface (Google+ Facebook myspace etc.). The end game is really the sign-in and owning the authentication key. That’s actually the holy grail in all these efforts is and where MSFT and APPL are really missing the money train. Users want to make certain data available on a permissions basis – without the clunky and unnecessary middleman platform.
Personally my Facebook news stream looks more and more like my inbox did in 1999. A stream of business news with jokes and personal stories sprinkled in.
Honestly, it is far too easy to extend personal anecdotes about Facebook. It’s a dumb thing to do. People ALWAYS complain loudly when they change it . Still, more features do not make a better experience. Improvements that cause increased complexity are not really improvements as much as they are just changes.
Pre-crime and Gladys Kravitz as Big Brother aside, Facebook isn’t going anywhere. Marketers must adapt. Usage could fall an unimaginable 20-30 % and it wouldn’t matter much. I’m skeptical of more centralization on the web. It rarely works. Something is needed to thread or web presence together but I’m not sure an “entertainment sharing platform” is the thing that will do it. I still expect Yammer and Jive or a competitive equivalent yet to be named to come on strong (because of security) and pull us away from changing our settings on Facebook and put us in control of our communication again. Facebook is an enormous security risk and productivity suck for business. I just can’t see businesses of any size continuing to allow greater access as Facebook grows forward. All that aside, the cost of switching to Google+ is high because the Kid-King has your social record and he’s got no intention of ever giving it back. Migrating your data will be made very difficult. That’s the price of free.
A large, fast migration is unlikely. I anticipate Facebooks demise as death by 1,000 cuts. Slowly, as kids deem Facebook uncool and pick up other tools that are faster, more relevant and more opaque to their parents. That is still at least 5 years away.
For now though, professionally and personally, we’ll suck it up– complain for a few days and then go back to our regularly scheduled posting. I’m looking forward to the next thing.
is bad news for old editors. The kids, however, will love it.
Never the less, I’m willing to give MSFT the benefit of the doubt on W8. Why? Because as both Gruber and Newman point out in their opposing viewpoints, W8’s success or failure is all about what is doing the heavy data lifting. Neither tablet will be doing that “heavy lifting” in OS5 or W8.
Here’s the thing: I think MSFT has a better sense of the cloud than APPL–particularly in the Enterprise environment-(music and entertainment media files aside). If W8 manages data and “heavy lifting” via the cloud in a more elegant way than APPL does via the desktop box or via iCloud, it could well be a winner. That is certainly a possibility (the Ozzy snub not withstanding). Ozzy brought the cloud to MSFT, and he understood its power better that St. Jobs did during those critical years between 2006 and 2009 when all this stuff was getting mapped out.
I will not count MSFT out. Ever. As APPL gets more powerful and the cloud more essential, everyone is now pretty much equally evil. Google can’t keep things screwed down from a security standpoint and Amazon can’t seem to make hardware (sorry the Kindle is just sad now). APPL’s announcement about iCloud will certainly be important– game-changing even, but here’s the thing: APPL’s failed in the cloud over and over. Even if they get it right this time (as it appears), they are only going to get it right for consumers. Sadly, it’s difficult for me to imagine them getting it right for the Enterprise. They don’t even sell their enterprise-grade servers anymore.
Honestly W8 could be a big deal for MSFT and its followers. I still think the UI is ugly, but that doesn’t really matter– elegance and beauty have never mattered to the Enterprise. MSFT’s base is huge and people desperately want a tablet for work. While Keynote is ok, Numbers is a joke (really? no pane freezing?). Office still rules. Does anyone seriously predict “Office for iCloud”? APPL can’t seem to write applications worth a hoot, and I have always been compelled by the haters arguement that Apple’s OS is just Unix in a nice UI wrapper. APPL is an amazing hardware company. Always has been. The genius of the APPL strategy was its ability to master hardware AND distribution (iTunes). MSFT is a software company as is GOOG. AMZN is a distribution company. We will continue to watch power cycle from software to hardware to distribution. Look at the power that T NFLX and CMCSA have now. This may well be the the resurgence of MSFT if GOOG doesn’t get in the way. Android is a huge disappointment from the functionality and security side, it’s market share, however is enviable.
It pains me a little to say it, but this might be MSFT’s comeback if they aren’t too big to fix.
Regardless, I won’t be buying any W8 devices anytime soon.
1. Facebook’s Temporary Web Dominance
This is the Big Trend next year as the new-new Facebook rolls out. The Olds will protest, while the kids couldn’t care less. In the middle though, a notable number of regular people will love having all their communication content in one place. This will create an enormous opportunity for marketers and hackers alike. More than half of whom will completely screw it up. That’s OK. We all learn from our mistakes. You can avoid a few by working extra hard to narrow your focus and segment your audience so that you don’t get stuck in the bottom bin. Relevancy and immediacy are your best shots at earning attention on Facebook.
Facebook will not meet disruptive competition in 2011. Ubiquity is not going to serve them in the long run, however.
2. Communication Fatigue
Facebook, Twitter, and all the other new ways of receiving communications has driven many to overload. Last year I mentioned going off-the-grid as a major trend, and it continues in earnest during 2011. We see it manifesting in a number of other trends that are worth paying attention to.
Much like our indifference to other drivers when we are wrapped in gleaming steel and chrome, our digital indifference to “the other” grows. This seems ironic in light of our own growing number of machine-mediated personal contacts and social-graph. On-line bullying will continue to shock us in 2011 as more and more people distance themselves from each other with technology. This creates a specific problem for customer service managers as human-to-human contact becomes potentially more confrontational. This is important to marketers as social customer services (SCRM) becomes more integral to the marketing process.
Location Services were all the rage in 2010, but now as the mobile device gets more sophisticated, location services will go into the background. Despite their best efforts, Foursquare and Gowalla and their kin will slow their uptake. Location services will work in the background as more people check in with out “checking-in”. The key to success with check-in services is meaningful reward. Until that arrives in the form of more sophisticated couponing, there is too much risk in announcing yourself.
2. A Social Media Dip ?
The global uptake of social media will continue to mask the real story in 2011.
Managing information flows and trying to teach machines what is and isn’t relevant really is fatiguing. Maintaining attention is getting tougher. The loss of efficiency is enormous but just as attention wanes from friends, it gets more and more commercialized. Social media becomes a highly effective collaborative tool (with it’s own social codes and cues) inside the enterprise as collaborative software hits mainstream adoption this year. Yes. If you want to make someone hate what they love, pay them to do it. In 2011, social media grows up and becomes work – just like in real life.
We watched this trend closely last year and see it only heating up further. In 2011 enterprise communication tools get simpler to use, more focused in their application, and more easily integrated into Business Intelligence reporting.
3. IPTV and On-Demand Programming
If you have kids, you already see this trend emerging. For those who don’t run a cable company’s head-end– or have kids– the impact of NetFlix has yet to be felt. It is very real though– even if you don’t watch TV on a PC, iPad, or other device. Heavy users of IPTV are hogging your bandwidth, ISP’s claim, and scaring the crap out of everyone in the content business. Now, there is real competition for the set top box. If you have fallen in love with all-you-can-watch programming for 7 dollars a month (plus broadband) be prepared to be frustrated as the war for on-demand TV programming heats up to uncomfortable levels for everyone.
In my eyes the most important story for 2011– that came in 2010 –was the peering dispute between Level 3 and Comcast and its implications for net neutrality. When you couple that debate with FCC and FTC approval of the Comcast’s merger with Universal, it’s clear that consumer content and marketing communication strategies must adapt in 2011. Key to adaption is finding programs that integrate content and brand. With attention at an all time premium, segregating content from advertising is more risky than ever.
4. Improved Legacy Media Advertising Revenue
The economy is turning around and advertising revenue is a great indicator that the world is not ending. While election and issue advertising over-stated revenue growth in the 3rd quarter, year-over-year things should look much better. The Recession is over and inflation is just around the corner. Meanwhile for many re-emerging businesses, investment in marketing communications will look smart again. With all the digital distractions, simple advertising will feel right– even with unmeasurable results. Still it will be hard to find an ad that isn’t somehow tied back to a digital element. That is where the value will be claimed.
5. Crowd sourced programming for radio
Jelli and Listener Driven Radio are only the beginning of this trend. Technology gives radio stations new abilities to turn programming over to the listeners in a way that makes the once-derogatory term “jukebox” an antique. These services- and those that follow- are destined to grow in popularity at a very rapid pace. Now if radio can only figure out how to monetize it, it could be a very big deal for the once-beleaguered legacy media channel
6. Print’s Migration to Digital
As tablets grow in popularity, print has an opportunity to recast itself. Corroboration is an essential part of the new media landscape and truly effective content strategies from trusted content brands will help people will find their way out of an ever more sticky echo chamber.
I think the most important thing to remember is something Fred Wilson said at the end of 2010 “Restricting access to content doesn’t work. Someone else’s content will get filtered and curated instead of yours”.
It’s all about a better ad model for legacy media. Accountability is essential if print can find pricing models that help advertisers justify costs revenue will return, even if margins take a little longer.
With the debate over the long tail all but over the new debate centers around curation or the collection of meaningful relevant content ordered in a creative way that brings value to each element collected. Facebook will become a center of curation in 2011. Measuring that curation will have marketers awash in data that could provide astounding customer insight. Will we get that? Will we be able to afford it? Those are essential questions for 2011.
For businesses and individuals just becoming social, Curation is a useful short-cut content strategy almost anyone can use to increase attention. the keys: get good at sourcing and get narrow. “Narrow your focus and broaden your appeal” was never truer than it is in effective content curation.
Good curation seeks authority. Authority has become the ultimate attention economy status symbol. in 2011 people go beyond seeking just an answer or a point of view but the correct answer and the best-informed (or most similar) point of view. Authority becomes the holy grail for the search engines and content providers. Trouble is, machines still can’t understand the words and content as well as they can scan it. Not even close. This metric will improve as we roll through 2011, but it is hard to know how useful it will really be; as issues like sentiment and context elude machine-driven analysis.
Authority is the win for legacy media in 2011. It is at the center of its value proposition. To leverage, legacy media needs to crank out more content–open up the firehose all the way. Get it branded and get it out there– but avoid the temptation to seize the browser . If you can’t void using stumbleupon or ow.ly take great pains to find a new method of measurement and avoid caging your audience with frames.
With so many sources of information how do you know who to trust–particularly when all the sources you read are biased at best and partisan at worst?
A few years ago I worked on a study at the CDC to understand public perceptions of “Public Health”. Part of that research was understanding how people internalized information as true. One thing we learned was that most people need to corroborate information. They need to see the information repeated in multiple places–not just a single source–regardless of the expertise or credibility associated with first source. That’s one reason curation matters.
News– Content is tough. Speed and accuracy win. News organizations need to learn how to sell speed and authority to their sponsors. these things matter. People like to be believe they are the first to know things. but even more importantly they want to fell right about what they have learned.
Shopping– Purchase dissonance hurts everybody’s business. There is always risk associated with converting cash to goods or services. For the past 100 years branding helped reduce that risk by giving the buyer the sense that they knew the good or service though recognition of the brand. Now, in addition to branding buyers have the ability to corroborate pricing and performance to reduce purchase dissonance even further with collaborative buying.
Announced at Salesforce’s dreamforce this year, this tool is going to drive small and mid-sized businesses to the cloud in ways no one could have predicted.
This is one of the more elegant and profitable use of the cloud. Salesforce stock shot up in 2010 for good reason. Getting data in a universal and easily accessed state is the goal for technology over the next 5 years at least (if not forever). That’s why Database.com was- IMO- the single biggest product launch announcement in 2010. In 2011 I think we’ll see lots of examples why.
Adobe air and its spawn have been way underrated in their importance. As Facebook becomes more important to most people’s everyday lives, ways of navigating through the noise of pointless status updates and marketing incompetence become essential.
Further, enterprise IT has to recognize the threat and value of Facebook to the business. Apps to the rescue. With irreversible trend of a mobile workforce and the work / personal digital identity conflicts in full reveal the only solution in the near term is a fat (local) client. Developers rejoice: you really can commit to building for the box again. Just make sure the box can move.
If this sounds more like a 2009 forecast to you, you’re caught up in the hype. Apps have yet to really penetrate the enterprise. Legacy software is a big reason for the slow uptake. That roadblock will start to come down this year.
12 Outlawing Anonymity
What good is looking into the future without a scary part?
While the debate about wikileaks continues into 2011 the lesson for our dear leaders is clear: End Anonymity Now . In return for the ability to keep ourselves insulated and entertained we seem to gladly trust huge amounts of personal data to the providers that be (regardless of their political affiliation). This is disturbing to a few of us, but not disturbing enough to most of us. Those with nothing to hide may have a lot to lose.
Of course we know anonymity is a thing of the past . It’s also different from privacy. But there is an important difference between anonymity being difficult and being illegal. Everyone will begin to understand that difference in 2011.
There will be clamoring for a clearer definition of journalist. For the last decade bloggers have been able to get press credentials with relative ease, that won’t be the case going forward. Consider that Universal/Comcast merger mentioned earlier, and the threat of investigative blogging and leaking to the legacy media. Conspiracy is hard, but shared interest is easy. In 2011 we’ll be asking “who benefits” a bit more often.
Fortunately, leaks will be impossible to contain and secrets tougher to keep. New sites will emerge and old ones become more well-known. My bet is that in 2011 the government will continue to embarrass itself with Assange and others who would take his place. Transparency wins. Let’s hope that’s more than rhetoric in 2011.
13. What’s Next–
If you were in early-in to social media you are a winner– if you weren’t, you’ll find the value of your social media efforts dubious at best.
Novelty wins the digital marketing ROI war– plain and simple.
Here’s the secret to burn on your frontal lobe: If you are early to adopt a communications method or channel, you win because there is less noise and less expense– even though the perceived risk is higher. Remember that when you are reviewing mobile marketing strategies or thinking about QR code promotions this year.
Trends I’m not watching in 2011: 3DTV (gamers only– bigger next year), “augmented reality”(not till 2015 at least), and the ever-escalating mobile device feature/benefit claims war (yawn).
Read more social media predictions here
People don’t buy what you make they buy why you make them. Simon Sinek has a model for inspirational leadership starting with the question “Why?”. He discusses the diffusion of innovation model that I’m a big fan of Thanks to Jon Sinton for the link.
Small is the new big– The Artisan Movement
In a attempt to get “authentic” Starbucks is “de-branding“. consumers want artisanal zeal from their brands. Wall mart has the price position– every other brand position up for grabs next year. The recession kicked the chessboard.
People talk about “authentic” but words matter, and authentic is the wrong word. “Authentic” is defined by what it isn’t. In a culture full of pre-fab formula, finding something made with passion more than margin becomes more valuable as we value care over quantity. In all things I’m looking for consumers to look for “signs of the hand” to communicate value.
Social Media in the Enterprise
“e-mail is the new snail mail”. It’s really not about Twitter and Facebook in the office. It’s about MindTouch, Yammer and Openfire. In 2010 your employees will do whatever it takes to work faster and smarter. If you don’t provide the tools, your employees will find their own. This creates all kinds of problems, not the least of which is Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. I’m looking at you IT department.
Social Media in Marketing Communications
That’s not to say the marketing department won’t continue to be obsessed with consumers in the social media space. Listening is the new speaking. This is the most radical mindset whipsaw ever. Quit worrying about what to say in social media and start learning to listen and share. Consumers expect you to be as accessible as their friends, but not as chatty. Say something useful, or don’t say anything at all. Advertising better have a call to action or it will be skipped faster than a pizza delivery scene.
Search, groups and filters are critical for listening. Computers still won’t be able to get sentiment. You have to do that work yourself. Saddle up.
Customer collaboration– Everything is beta.
Related to social CRM, ya gotta give to get. The responsibility of prototyping still rests on the enterprise. Customers don’t invent–they react. Test test test. Know that failure is the price of innovation. To get the profit from Innovation as a noun you need to realize the expense of innovation as a verb. You can’t have one without the other. This is a lesson for many wining companies next year
The Cloud –and the Backlash
“The Cloud” is big and with the advent of netbooks and smarter smart phones the cloud is where people are released from the confines of the desk. Cloud apps fail occasionally though, and users REALLY hate that. Business disruption is a cost of entry. The cloud is cheap and smart–it’s not going away despite inevitable setbacks.
SAAS and all it permutations will be all over the news– they have been for years. The difference in 2010 is that small and mid-sized companies will be reliant on them and some robust cloud services will fail for short excruciating bursts of inactivity.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water though. Many of us remember email failure in years past. The cloud is here to stay and it will make many knowledge workers more liberated than ever.
The Beginning of Going off the Grid
Just as corporations embrace the social web people will begin to disconnect because it will feel less like fun and more like work. This disconnection will happen slowly and it will be costly and thus an air of snobbery will come with this uncoupling. The exodus will be slow and mostly unnoticed, but it will be happening. MarComm with people that you have no relationship will get even tougher, and metrics even more unreliable as people block behavioral analytics scripts and begin to spend less time on Facebook
This is good news for big/legacy media. Cheap entertainment continues to be useful even as people pay for more content. There will be stimulus for small biz but hiring won’t start until Q4. We’ve had record increases in productivity. It’s easier to invest in productivity technology than people. Count on it.