Key marketing trends forecast for 2010
The trends that will govern marketing over the next 12 months focus on more effective ways to engage and communicate with customers, as well as the importance of measurement of and accountability for marketing spend, according to marketing platform provider Alterian.
The firm's forecast of the ten key marketing trends over the next 12 months and beyond also highlight that social media monitoring and web analytics are likely to be critical in measuring the ROI of relationship-based online strategies:
- Social media will move toward ubiquity IDC survey data shows more than 50% of worldwide workers are leveraging the free, public social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for business today. Rather than being hype it will simply become normal and part of the everyday mix that works alongside email as a principle form of communication online.
- Companies will have a social media policy As social media continues to integrate into the marketing and business mix, formal rules of engagement will become more widespread. Many companies are likely to come up against conflict when they try to extend their social media efforts across the board. There will be a need for a significant culture shift in order to overcome these barriers. As social media continues to raise its profile amongst corporate divisions, more companies will invest in Social Media specialists to guide their efforts both internally and externally.
- Doing more with less This has been the mantra for all businesses throughout 2009 but will continue through the adoption of analytics and marketing software. Marketing departments are under increasing pressure to improve effectiveness and efficiencies with marketing campaigns, and also to achieve more, all with decreased budgets. 2009 was about how to make your business machine run harder and faster in a bid to stay competitive in a downturn, where consumer spending is in decline or being replaced by reason to buy at all. This will now convert into the need to not only prove the value of your products to consumers but also the value of your marketing strategies as a whole.
- Data analysts will become hot property Introducing analytics, or better analytics means empowering marketing with intelligence about their customers and prospects, so they can more rapidly, and more accurately, identify the hidden value in their customer and prospect databases. Analysing the operational efficiency of every marketing department and taking action as required also means a marketing dividend can be realised. This can either be used to increase marketing spend or to maintain marketing spend if budgets are reduced; in essence, do more with less.
- Marketing measurability & ROI At a time of economic uncertainty, more companies look to uncover cost savings or serve customers more effectively through leveraging social technology. However, the increased pressure from the boardroom to justify marketing spend, or time investment, means that marketing departments have to show value by measuring ROI.
- Better access to customer data This has become more possible with the introduction of social media platforms, but gaining access to the right data, the right channels and the key sentiments about your brand requires effective online monitoring software. Social Media offers the perfect opportunity to revolutionise CRM tools and build true customer engagement programmes that are bespoke for each individual consumer, thereby helping to deliver ROI.
- Metrics and analytics become essential tools Companies without the right monitoring, reporting, analytics and execution software are companies without a future. With the increasing importance of the internet for businesses, online marketing and monitoring allow effective one on one engagement that shape successful and focused marketing campaigns.
- Integration of platforms and processes becomes critical There is a proliferation of things to monitor, measure and manage, making it very difficult and time consuming for marketers to pull together the overall picture for integrated campaigns. There will therefore be a move toward single integrated software platforms so that campaign planning and management are integrated with web and email.
- Recalibrating marketing for engagement Brands focus on content but with publishers desperate to protect revenues by charging for content, brands will increasingly look to develop content strategies that bring value to their customers. Social Media Monitoring will be the key weapon for brands building these strategies.
- Consumer empowerment Brand value will be influenced more and more by the consumer, making it more important than ever for a brand to have measures of authenticity that will aid in brand differentiation and consumer engagement - you can no longer rely on your brand name as you once did. Organisations are being increasingly judged by their actions and willingness to involve customers, visibly.
According to David Eldridge, CEO for Alterian, "The recession has been the catalyst for highlighting the importance of online monitoring and analytics for marketers. More and more consumers are sharing information about brands online so, while an unsatisfied customer used to simply tell their neighbour, now they can tell the whole world in seconds. Advancements in technology have turned consumers from passive observers of brands into active participants who are shaping brands."
Another challenge for marketers, Eldridge warned, is an ever deepening consumer cynicism toward corporate behaviour and messaging, and both these factors are reshaping the role of the marketer. Smart businesses are listening to the conversations their customers are having, where they are happening, and then engaging in conversations with consumers on an individual level to add relationship value in real time.