Here are some predictions of the top-10 marketing trends for 2008:
In 2008 marketers should avoid over-hyped opportunities and focus
instead on measuring their campaigns’ success, one satisfied customer
at a time, according to Drew Neisser, CEO for US-based experiential
marketing agency Renegade.
Neisser has published a ‘top ten’ of marketing industry trends that will be worth considering during the coming year, including:
- Time to go green
A “green” plan is no longer a luxury, or an option. Every day, another
venerable brand commits to a sustainable future. While there is much
“green washing”, rating services such as B Corporation
will set standards that will have major companies fighting to prove
their greenness. Expect to find a new seat being formed in the
boardroom: Chief Green Officer (CGO).
- Ads in the great outdoors
This year’s surprise was the rebound of out-of-home advertising,
growing faster than any channel except the internet. Outdoor reinvented
itself as a technology-rich means of engaging, entertaining and
educating commuters. Mini Cooper tested RFID-activated billboards with
personalised messages aimed at Mini drivers, a customised approach that
linked old (outdoor) with new (online) transforming an integrated media
platform into a cult-building club. So called “narrowcasting” video
networks continue to sprout, enabling marketers to put their messages
in front of selective targets – from health clubbers, to deli shoppers,
movie-goers and pet owners to elevator riders. Innovations like these
will drive out-of-home advertising to new heights.
- Getting in on the game
Gaming now permeates just about all of society, creating fresh ways for
marketers to connect. Millions of non-golfers are swinging virtual
clubs as Nintendo’s Wii transformed video games. Senior citizen centres
bought Wiis to entertain guests and connect with grandkids. MTV
invested US$500 million in online games, on top of the millions it
spent for AddictingGames. Even B2B marketers will be smart to give
gaming a fresh look while blending in messaging, training or recruiting.
- Mobile: I can hear you now!
This may be the year in which mobile deserves a closer look as
technology improvements create new opportunities. Bluetooth-enabled
phones have made it easier for marketers to provide contextually
relevant information; the Air Force set up Bluetooth transmitters at
racetracks to reach potential recruits. Apple’s iPhone partnered with
Google and Yahoo to enable ad-supported programming. Cellfire enlisted
a million people to receive coupons for anything from burgers to
videos. Mobile marketing can deliver highly personalised, and useful,
information when and where needed and as long as marketers don’t spam,
mobile marketing may be the missing link in personalised communications.
- Join the club
Wise marketers will capitalise on the growing appeal of social
networks. Besides the obvious market leaders (MySpace and Facebook),
social networks exist in niches from teens (e.g. Pizco and Tagged) to
seniors (e.g. Eons) to photographers (e.g. Flickr), do-gooders (e.g.
AllDayBuffet) and even B2B (e.g. LinkedIn and Plaxo). This list is
almost endless. Chase’s partnership with Facebook has helped make its
“+1” credit card the card of choice among college students. Marketers
will be smart to create a social network, or take an existing one and
make it physical (for example, Second Life held its first offline
convention in 2007).
- Rise of the widget
Mini software applications (known as “widgets”) can provide
unprecedented access to hard-to-reach targets, as Facebook and MySpace
can attest. Even Microsoft’s Windows Vista supports user-written
widgets natively. According to ComScore, some 220+ million consumers
were using widgets as of May 2007. For example, iLike, which allows
Facebook users to share iTunes playlists, grew to over 10 million users
in only 10 months. Slide, which creates slideshows and embeds them in
social network homepages, claims to be the largest personal media
network in the world, reaching 120 million viewers monthly. That’s just
the beginning of the widget avalanche.
- Roll the video
With 70% or more in broadband penetration in the US, streaming video is
a “must” marketing tool. eMarketer reported that 123 million Americans
watch a video at least monthly, and three-quarters tell a friend about
them. Whether a B2B or B2C marketer, video is an enormous opportunity
to engage, educate and entertain (those being the new “Three Es” of
successful marketing). Lots of brands are producing instructional
videos to help customers install or use their product or service.
Others create pure entertainment, hoping to build brand affinity or
drive traffic. But the ubiquity of video is not without its challenges:
With 7 million hours of video online, getting through to the right
consumers requires high quality storytelling and judicious editing.
- From behavioural to contextual
Marketers will add behavioural targeting to their contextual search
efforts. AOL believes in the future of behavioural targeting, having
spent some US$275 million on Tacoda Systems, which claims to reach 120
million people in 31 discrete audience segments each month. eMarketer
predicted that behavioural targeting will increase ten-fold over the
next five years, growing from US$350 million to US$3.8 billion in
advertising spend. A test that Renegade ran for Panasonic yielded 50%
more imminent buyers of a particular consumer electronics product,
making it far better than a simple search-driven strategy.
- Focus on the experience
The need to focus on integrated marketing approaches is not new, but
what will be new next year is how brand experiences will move to the
top of the integration priorities list, becoming the driving force of
marketing communications. Events and online initiatives were once
treated as below-the-line after thoughts, but marketers increasingly
realise that interactive brand experiences can be far more effective
than advertising and should be the starting point of a customer
- Marketing as a service
For years, marketers have been more concerned with what they say than
what their target hears, resulting in seemingly endless monologues.
Those marketers who continually support their customers, providing
actual value through each communication, will be the most successful in
2008. The value exchange can take many forms, but only if the marketer
understands the needs and aspirations of the customer – and then
commits to a genuine dialogue at every point of contact. The HSBC
BankCab, which provides free rides to HSBC customers in New York City,
is one example of marketing as service, transforming customers into
brand evangelists with every free ride. Marketers who treat marketing
as a service and deliver real value to customers and prospects alike
will undoubtedly triumph.
Neisser notes that, while his golf scores are thoroughly unpredictable,
his annual predictions have been far above par for the past five years.