There’s three certainties in life: death, taxes and eventually everything will be on the web. In 2011, we will take one step closer to the latter becoming a reality. The rate of change and adoption surrounding the web will continue it’s exponential growth and our access to it will continue crossing into previously offline aspects of our lives. So, with that said I’m going to put my neck out and predict what I believe will be the major digital marketing trends in 2011.
Social Media Marketing Becomes Regular Marketing
Does anybody remember there being such a fuss over a new medium of marketing prior to social media? It seems the world has gone cuckoo for cocoa puffs where social media is concerned. I’m not discounting the importance of social media channels by any means, but I don’t recall print, radio, telephones, or television receiving the same fanaticism in regards to their impact on marketing. The difference with social media is everybody questioning it’s applicability and effective utilization. It’s here to stay. Get used to it.
From a marketing perspective social media networks are undoubtedly powerful so considering them as part of your marketing strategy should be a given. However, social media needs to be considered as “with” and not “instead of” (Mitch Joel). In 2011 social media and digital marketing tactics will become mainstream and yet another tool in the toolkit of marketers. Please use them responsibly.
Convergence of Online and Offline
Somewhat related to the previous prediction, I believe 2011 will see an integration of online tactics with offline activities. Things like augmented reality, the merging of telephones, TV, and the internet into single devices, and use of physical displays exhibiting user-specific messages will be used increasingly in marketing tactics. In other words, online activities will have offline effects and vice versa.
A friend of mine and fellow marketer, Mike Klein, told me a story about a Coke campaign that gave out bracelets at an amusement park with radio frequency identification (RFID) transmitters so that after participants got off a sponsored ride they could pass by a sensor and by simply giving it the thumbs up it would update their Facebook status with a “Like” and post a message on their “Wall” that “Jane Doe likes the Coke Ride of Thrills. Click here to win free tickets”. That’s pretty cool. As web access and connectivity proliferates get ready for a world where online and offline become increasingly intertwined.
Mobile Hits The Big Time
I’ve been hearing it’s gonna be the “year of mobile” since 2005. But, aside from text messaging and email most mobile phones were pretty limited in their capabilities so I never took the hoopla too seriously. Until now. In the last two years smartphones have exploded to the point they are the fastest growing consumer electronic item in history. Half the world, 3.4 billion people, currently have mobile devices and by 2011 50% of those devices will be smart phones (iPhone, Blackberry, Android, PalmOs, WindowsMobile). The number of people with smartphones will be roughly equal to the number of people with personal computers!
Web 3.0 will be the mobile web. As a result, 2011 will be witness to marketers putting their mobile strategy first as opposed to treating it as a nice-to-have-if there’s-budget-left. The growth of mobile apps, location based services, and the extension of eCommerce onto mobile devices is something to be keenly aware of. Let’s also not forget about the barrage of tablet computers about to hit shelves. The iPad has already had an impact on laptop and netbook sales so just imagine what will happen when we see ten or more new tablet computers hit the market in 2011.
Websites Lose Market Share
Have I gone crazy?! Why would a guy who offers website development predict a waning of their importance? Well, there will always be a need for websites and a glut of suppliers who will program one for you. However, what that website necessarily is will change from what we conventionally think of it as. For many companies having an “online strategy” usually meant building a new website and pouring thousands of dollars into development and design for what would ultimately become a pretty billboard in an online dessert that people rarely found. A website is useless if it doesn’t get traffic and convert that traffic to leads or action. To do so, you need online activities that are guiding people to your site.
In 2011, the affordable access to social media tools like Facebook, eMail marketing software, WordPress, Twitter, YouTube, and Mobile will encourage more marketers to utilize a hub and spoke model of online activities to engage people online in various places and guide them back to their site. If you would like to learn more about utilizing a hub and spoke model website strategy please read the case study regarding the award winning website for Lexis Developments. So, in 2011 look for marketers to be spending more time on the activities surrounding their website as opposed to the website itself. Did I mention I also offer digital marketing services? :-)
What are your thoughts? Please comment below OR send me an email OR give me a call at 306 229 9437. I’m interested to hear your predictions.