Marketing Predictions for 2012
It’s January and time for the year-end lists and New Year predictions. I would like to say that this is tired and lame, but the truth is, from best songs to current event recaps, people enjoy reflecting on the past and anticipating the future. It’s no different here at The Zeus and, in fact, it is very exciting to get projections in the evolving and ever-expanding world of digital marketing.
My quick predictions for 2012:
- The expansion of Pinterest use by businesses
- Google+ being realized for its SEO implications and becoming a largely content-driven channel for business
- WordPress will gain even wider notoriety and acceptance due to its ease of use and scalability
- Continuing growth in mobile content and access
- Refining of augmented reality technology
I see augmented reality becoming a household name with the discovery of really great uses in the way of finding information (imagine holding your phone up on a crowded street, busy mall, or college university and getting area directions and purchasing insights?) and product demos (like scanning a printer with your phone to get a 3-D how-to on changing the ink cartridge). This new app from AllPosters allows shoppers to virtually view products in their home before purchasing:
Now, back to mobile. I know— every year, mobile leads the predictions, but every year, it is true. As smartphone ownership proliferates and mobile browsing and applications become more second nature to American consumers, it is inevitable that this will make the list and continue making the list. I can see this growth in my own work as mobile analytics reveal numbers that nearly double from month to month.
I also spoke with some of the Orlando-area thought leaders in digital marketing and web development to get the pulse of the industry from the trenches.
User Experience (UX) guru and VP of Digital Strategy at Mauiva Justin Delabar expands on my mobile prediction by highlighting contextual functionality in mobile applications for Android and iPhone. “By contextual, I mean both geographically and situational. We’re seeing an increasing number of mobile applications hitting the market, and the ones that surpass simple novelty status will embrace offering contextual options to users.”
Justin’s situational example is one that directly impacts his industry— travel— while the geographical predictions could have broader implications for small business.
“As far as geographical, Foursquare asks you if you want to check-in to a certain spot when you’re nearby — which is neat — but take Oink, a new application from Kevin Rose’s latest company Milk, which pushes suggestions for things to try in the area that match your taste profile. Brick and mortar stores can utilize this sort of functionality to push targeted deals to potential customers when they’re in the area.”
Justin foresees this application gaining strength with both business owners and the general public because it goes beyond the passive, “look where I am” to “help me find something that I may enjoy in the area.”
When I asked Orlando web design innovator and UX expert in his own right, Frank Candamil, “Do you have anything in mind that will impact business owners as far as innovation and trends on the web?” he responded with his take on businesses seeking to optimize their presence for new devices.
“Two huge books came out on the topic this year, Responsive Web Design and Adaptive Web Design. A lot of business owners see this as a great way to produce a quick mobile solution, but in reality, it’s a means by which to focus on content and accessibility for the web. Assuring that no matter what the screen size, platform, or other limitation that impedes how a visitor may get to a website’s most valuable information quickly and easily.” Responsive design is not a solution for just mobile or tablet it’s one that can scale up as much as it can down.
Digital marketing revolutionary and host of Orlando’s Digital Marketing Bistro, Shawn Vincent, takes a new twist on this year’s predictions while maintaining the thread of mobile proliferation: “I don’t think we’re going to see any new extraordinary technology break loose in 2012, but I think we’re going to see wider adoption and integration of existing technologies that are going to allow for some spectacular things.”
Shawn goes on to say, “In 2012, it will be safe to say that most people who have cell phones have smartphones. And since we can count on that, consumer electronics and appliances (and cars) should soon start coming ready to connect with you phone, so that your phone becomes a control panel for the device.” This is of significant importance to SMBs as the seamless integration of mobile devices into our everyday lives becomes more apparent. Bottom line: find ways to engage via mobile.
As we move our focus away from mobile, Shawn imparts that he feels on-demand, subscription-based content will find it’s footing. “As content providers are becoming comfortable providing their content online (or in app form) for a reasonable subscription fee (think Spotify for music, New York Times for news, Netflix and Hulu for movies), consumers are becoming more willing to pay for it— especially if it is conveniently packaged for my TV or mobile device. This, too, could become a revenue stream for businesses in the coming years.”
Justin Ramb of Orlando web agency, Big Eye Creative sees YouTube analytics enhancements as a game changer in 2012. “YouTube Insight is so 2011, and now it’s all about YouTube Analytics. Analytics is easier to use and has far more tricks up its sleeve. Easily learn the ins and outs of your target demographic. Find out who’s watching what and why, what websites are driving audiences to your content and even estimate your earnings. The more you know, the more you’ll grow… your bank, that is. “
Video is growing popularity because of its SEO implications and the demand from users, so it makes sense to seek a better understanding of how people are viewing your content.
From this field of experts, look for the continued spread of smartphone usage and associated technology to reach your audience. On the tech side of your business, it will be important to understand adaptive frameworks for your digital efforts because as the landscape shifts, your technology will need to as well. None of this matters if you can’t measure performance, so take advantage of YouTube’s more robust analytics suite. And finally, be real. Connect your business with the public via compelling narratives and remain transparent in your online presence.
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