2010 is going to be an incredible year for marketing. Now, of course I don’t have a crystal ball (or do I…insert creepy music here) but the shift is unmistakable and can’t be ignored.
The days of hit and miss expensive marketing and advertising are OVER. I’ll pause for a moment of silence. But with this big change, comes a tremendous creative opportunity for small and big businesses alike.
Big brands, niche brands and entrepreneurs that survived the storm of 2009 are in an exciting position for 2010. It is going to be a time where innovative and change in marketing is going to flourish. Marketing is going to be cheaper, faster and smarter.
The following predictions aren’t made by simply throwing mama’s spaghetti at the wall and hoping a few pieces stick. The data and ideas come from:
A: Being in the trenches building my brand to become the number #1 resource for young and young-at-heart entrepreneurs and trying everything under the sun which includes big successes, big failures, incredible learning experiences, and tons of takeaways.
B: Interviewing 40+ experts (for some reason the conversation ALWAYS turns to marketing one way or another) including Wine Library’s Gary Vaynerchuk Author of Crush It, Trust Agents Author and Blogging Thought Leader Chris Brogan, The Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger, The founder of 3 billion dollar-plus World Wide Technology Dave Steward, Sarah Evans aka PRSarahEvans, Click To Client’s Shama Kabani, The Chief Executive Bear of Build-A-Bear Workshops Maxine Clark, Author of Never Eat Alone Keith Ferrazzi, Founder of Help A Reporter Peter Shankman, Former Creative head of Anheuser Busch Bob Lachky…and many others (which you can check out right here).
C: Consulting with big brands and entrepreneurs on their marketing challenges and adapting to this quickly changing world.
D: Thousands of conversations in person, online and at speaking events with marketers, big brands, niche brands, entrepreneurs, and business owners.
The bottom line is you, your consumers, clients, customers and friends are all smart.
In 2010, smart and creative marketing is going to win. Here (in no weighted order) are my 10 Big Marketing Predictions For 2010.
1. Big Brands Will Learn From Entrepreneurs, Small Businesses and Niche Brands.
In this case size doesn’t matter.
For entrepreneurs, especially those that have bootstrapped their companies with their own money and your little sister Lilly’s savings (or whatever), big budgets didn’t disappear due to the recession, they never existed.
Without big budgets, us entrepreneurs have always had to turn to whatever valuable (and relatively cheap) resources we could including opening our big mouths, forming amazing relationships on social media sites and in the real world, blogging, and straight up hustling.
Also, without a team of lawyers, accountants and a 224.3 person Board Of Directors, entrepreneurs move quickly, fail fast, recover faster, and try something else. One idea for a blog doesn’t work? Try another. One idea to draw traffic or sell a product doesn’t work? Try another.
These elements of cheap, fast and experimental are going to finally catch the attention of big brands in 2010. Instead of ignoring the little guys, a painful realization to many larger companies when 2009 ripped apart their business, is going to lead to entrepreneurs being a trusted resource and strong case studies.
2. Digital Schmoozing: Networking Online
My favorite phrase. Call it networking. Call it relationship building. Call it whatever you want. Bottom line is being able to network online is going to be a HUGE element of marketing in 2010.
Is networking also marketing? You better believe it is. Being able to market yourself and your business in the digital world is one of the most overlooked aspects of effective marketing.
Sure, this isn’t a revolutionary concept. But, why are many so bad at it?
Simple. While the principles of online and offline networking are extremely similar, the online world is a different animal.
Many people have mastered or are trying to master the tools (as basic as email all the way to Twitter, Facebook, etc.), but have lacked the online etiquette and understanding of the digital world.
Corporate-speak doesn’t fly. BS doesn’t fly. Forming genuine relationships and partnerships with a real interest in the other person/business? That DOES fly.
In 2010, the world will continue to get smaller and more connected. Will you be able to adapt and market knowing that in most cases you can connect to almost anyone you want to with a little effort?
3. Death Of The One-Way Website
The corporate-speak, one-way website is dead. It has always been boring, but now it is really on its death bed. Your website is like your clothes and smile. It will be the first thing people notice when they find you and see you. Your website could be your greatest marketing asset.
What is wrong with the one-way “traditional” website?
Customers want companies to be more human. Interactive. Social. Sure, your advertising agency charged you your first born child for that fancy flash intro and cool graphics, but are people buying from you? Can they give feedback? Can they easily connect with you on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn? Is there a COMPELLING reason I should sign up for your email list?
Is your website you on the top of the mountain yelling with a huge horn (Honnnnnkkkk!) or at the bottom listening to your customers and clients?
How do you listen?
Simple. A well-designed blog plus encouraging comments, creating content, adding video (more on all those in a minute). Listening and caring win in 2010.
An extremely well-designed blog optimized for search engines and easy-to-use even for the least technical amongst us costs a tiny fraction of a full fledged outdated website. Sorry web companies and agencies trying to charge an arm and a leg, you know it is true *wink*.
4. Content Marketing: Brands As Media Sources And Publishers
Never before has the barrier of entry been so low to create your own content. A plan, a blog and a few pieces of equipment if you want to do video or audio is all you need (or of course text).
In the old marketing world, you had to get in the press to get to consumers or buy expensive ads.
That was the only way unless your best customer Rose told twenty of her friends at a luncheon while schmoozing (good old fashioned word-of-mouth).
Instead of a multi-million dollar marketing plan, now YOU THE BRAND can create, promote, syndicate, share and market using content.
Sure, it is has to be good but not earth shattering. Consistency is key. Biggest tip from personal experience is make sure you KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER and what they will find interesting and what they are looking for. Would they prefer video? audio? text? a mix? Knowing your audience and marketing like a publisher is going to absolutely dominate marketing-speak in 2010.
5. Online Video: Forget Viral Focus On Function
Everyone wants to create a “viral” video. Sure, a viral video is a marketing weapon if you can do it, but the real benefit of video to marketers in 2010 is content.
As mentioned above, as a marketer and brand, you have the opportunity to publish content and market/interact with new and existing customers.
The price of video? Way down. No, you don’t need a 20 person crew and $15,000 camera.
The Flip Mino HD and Kodak Zi8 are both under $200 and painfully simple to use.
Sure, the videos have to be good, but they don’t have to be masterpieces to be effective marketing weapons. The good news is video can be used for almost ANY business big or small (with a few regulatory issues of course for our good friends in the financial sector but we still love you financial sector…sort of).
For example (I have about 3 million of these ideas but here are three):
1. If you are a grocery store, why not film the butcher talking about meats or talk about the best deals? Then, market it towards your shoppers.
2. If you are a gas station, why not film a quick special on drinks delivered by the employee-of-the-month. and send it to your best customers.
3. If you are an entrepreneur launching a product, why not show yourself using it and one of your best customers and simply tell us why it rocks and why we would want to use it.
Best practices with video are vast, but some quick advice is just be 100% honest, authentic and have some fun. Personality shines through more on video than literally anything else besides face-to-face.
Oh and did I mention that people love video? Youtube is now the #2 search engine to Google.
6. Death Of The 30-Second Ad: Rise Of Creative Paid Content
I may get in trouble for this one. My team and have sold plenty of 30-second ads. We have run testing, data, and every type of metric measurable.
Is the 30-second ad dead? Short answer: Pretty much. Why? Customers had to be interrupted and everyone hates interruptions especially when the company is essentially guessing that I might like something because I like something else. Does it still work for mass marketing? Sure, to some extent…but make no mistake, it is dying.
For example. I like watching hockey but I don’t like beer. Beer companies are told hockey fans are males who like beer. Therefore, they run beer commercials during games. Simple. But I don’t like it and they made an ASSUMPTION.
Now with tons of niche shows (as opposed to mass marketing), marketers have the opportunity to be a lot more creative.
Here is a creative alternative and how I see things happening in 2010:
For example: The same beer company discovers 5 well-known niche beer blogs and 1 Beer Online TV show. They approach the blog owners and show owners and come up with this creative strategy:
1. The beer company will write three guest blog posts (or monthly posts) for each Beer Blog and will pay the blogger similar to paying a TV station to run ads (of course this relationship has to be disclosed) and creates valuable content agreed upon between the beer company and blogger.
2. The beer company pays the online TV show in two ways:
A: They give beer to the host and tell him or her that if he or she doesn’t like it, they don’t have to market it. But if they do like it, they will pay X dollars (or % of sales affiliate-style) to have a host mention in each episode. “Today’s Beer TV is brought to you by Example Beer. I’ve tried, liked it and won’t promote crap on the show. Head to examplebeer.com for 10% a case and try it today.”
Important note for content creators: Host/show and viewer relationship should be treated like sacred gold. When we launch our new show in 2010, we continue to live by this rule and ONLY promote and take dollars from products we like, trust and feel comfortable promoting no matter what their budget is. No need to bash products that don’t work for you, but certainly don’t take their money and promote them.
B: The show can have a person from the beer company come on the show and offer valuable content to the viewers and market the beer company for a charge. This is a pay-to-play model that we use for our TV Tip Experts (more on that next year of how/why we do this). For example, the host interviews a person from the beer company who offers “5 Tips For Avoiding Going To The Bathroom Too Much When Drinking Beer.” The beer company is promoted, valuable content is given to the viewers and everyone wins.
Again, the key in all of this is integrity. Disclose sponsorships and remember the audience comes first. Keeping those things in mind, marketing through paid content in 2010 is going to be a BIG PLAY for marketers.
7. Reputation Marketing: Customer Service And Caring
Innovative customer service and caring has always been one of the best ways to market and will become even more prevalent in 2010.
Why? Companies with poor customer service got bombed by word of mouth in 2009. On the other hand companies built around customer service in 2009, flourished such as Zappos.
A recession tends to weed out the really bad companies, don’t you think?
Especially with social media, customers have a lot of power and they are NOT shy. Good customer service spreads, which is great for marketers. Bad customer services spreads faster which is a nightmare.
How can you successfully promote or sell a product (without lying) when everyone is ripping it shreds online and off?
A little caring can go a long way even before there is a problem. Example of caring:
On a recent trip to Chicago with my girlfriend (now fiancee), we were meeting a family member for dinner. Riveting, I know. He emailed us the name of the restaurant and the website. In the olden days (last year?) I would have probably peeked at the menu and that would be about it. However, this pretty fancy restaurant Piccolo Sogno had a button to follow them on Twitter.
And they quickly replied: PiccoloSogno: @TheRiseToTheTop Looking forward to having you!
Earth shattering? Maybe not. However, I felt a quick connection with the brand that was personal. When we went to the restaurant (which was great), I got the share the experience with the owner.
“That is why we are using social media,” he said.
Don’t care? Then you could be the next victim of a video like this from Gary Vaynerchuk.
8. Event Marketing
You can do all the online marketing in the world, but face-to-face is vitally important and nothing really replaces it.
As Chris Brogan told me (paraphrased), we may not be able to see each other in person for a year, and we can use social media to keep in touch, but nothing replaces the face-to-face interaction.
In terms of marketing, holding a unique event has numerous big effects for your company including:
-Word-Of-Mouth: “Where were you last night, Joe?” “At Company X’s Coffee and Cliff diving Event.” “Wow, that sounds interesting…”
-During The Event: Attendees will most likely be posting to Twitter and Facebook where they are. If the event is truly remarkable and different, they will let people know. Lots of people.
-After The Event: Photos can be posted, tagged, and more for a lasting effect.
A few tips:
-Make sure to have a photographer
–Underground video: Encourage people to bring Flip Cameras or Kodak Zi8’s or equip people with them. Post videos on your blog, website and a video site or two after. People love seeing themselves.
-Delivery is everything: I personally hosted 10 events in 2010 and if you over deliver you will be loved and if you underwhelm…well you know what happens…bad marketing.
-Be different: There are way too many happy hours and coffees. Why is your event unique?
2010 is going to be the year of fantastic events. Is your company on board?
9. Social Media: No Longer A Buzzword In Marketing
I feel like social media is like the word “blog” in 1998. There is a guy sitting in the corner office telling the corporate team that we need a blog and get the youngest person in the office on it. He doesn’t know why, he just heard the word.
Social media is going to be like that in 2010. More and more users and brands will pop up, but without real “rules of engagement” many will not be maximizing the potential and need a little help (many of my consulting clients fall into this boat).
The key to marketing on social media in 2010 in my opinion is going to be three-fold:
1. Strategy: What are the concrete goals? No, not amount of followers. Hard analytics: Increase sales, amount of business partnerships, amount of leads, % increase to email list. ROI can measured by Pre-Social Media vs. Engaging In Social Media. No, I don’t recommend using social media for direct sales, but instead forming relationships for all businesses, quality customer service, personal touch and more. If you do all that, the sales will happen if you have the right strategy.
2. Technology: Understanding the technology and using the key tools is a no- brainer. But I’m talking about REALLY understanding the functionality, how to build relationships, and what sites are correct for your company and situation.
3. Key Resources: I’ll repeat this twice. NOTHING replaces human interaction (#1). NOTHING replaces human interaction (#2). Engaging, replying, etc. is key to marketing success on social media. In fact, not doing it will cause a backlash: “Company X doesn’t “get” social media.” It is called social for a reason.
That being said, there are some incredible tools that continue to emerge to help you with the marketing side of things on social media. Meaning analyzing data, understanding relationships, making sure content you create is pushed onto the sites correctly without being annoying and many other goodies. Does this replace interaction? Absolutely not. Does it help market on social media? Absolutely.
One company I’m loving right now is Objective Marketer. I’ll be testing their product over the next couple of months and let you know the ins and outs and why it could be killer for you as a marketer.
10. Relationships, Relationships, Relationships.
Treat your customers (potential and current) like gold online and off and you will win the 2010 marketing game.
While the online world has changed the ease of communication, word of mouth marketing and lots of other things, good old fashioned rules will be as important as always in 2010.
For example: Do you send thank you’s to customers via snail mail? Handwritten cards? Since everyone is pretty much using email these days, you will stick out if you send a card or package.
We use Send Out Cards to keep up with current customers and clients and also as a marketing tool to stay in touch with customers and clients. It is an online system that sends a REAL card and gift if you choose. You can check it out here (affiliate link: Send Out Cards) if you want to learn more watch the video.
It is cliche but people really do business with those they like and trust. Creating a personal bond in a world where everyone is more connected but busier, can only lead to good things.
Wrapping It Up:
And that is it. 2010 is going to be an incredible year. I know I’m excited for it and am interested to hear your thoughts. What do you think? Any of the above points you would like me to go more in depth on? Should I turn this into an E-book or Video Book?