As promised yesterday in my meta round-up of predictions, Marketing Mag was kind enough to run the following article in the Jan 18 edition (available on all good news stands now!). Much smarter, more experienced and visionary people also contributed their thoughts here and here.
As always, your thoughts are welcomed in the comments section. What technologies/trends would you have included? Which calls do you disagree with? Why?
THE UPs AND DOWNs OF 2010
2009 was a big year for technology as geek continued to become chic. Barack Obama couldn’t live without his BlackBerry. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg made the cover of Fortune magazine and millions of people downloaded applications to their mobile devices. ED LEE looks at both new and established technologies and decides what’s “up” and “down” for 2010:
Despite huge VC investment, Twitter’s greatest innovation continues to be generated from outside the organization, which is both a strength and a weakness. While it has a large, and growing, user base, the fact that 60% of users do not return after registering (according to Nielsen) has to be worrying. The surrounding ecosystem of services means outright failure is unlikely but I see Twitter as being unable to monetize itself enough to live up to the billion dollar promise it has made to investors, even after lucrative traffic deals with Google. In the medium term, Twitter’s future is as an acquisition target for an established company (such as Google) with deep pockets to shore up its real time search technology.
The development of Facebook Connect, which allows users to use their logins on third-party websites and take their profile information, friends and privacy preferences to their favourite sites, was a great strategic play which continues to enhance adoption of the platform by marketers. Coupled with the ability to tightly target an audience with advertising messages, Facebook is fast becoming a must-have for every marketer’s tool box.
The location-based game is white hot right now but with just 100,000 users worldwide, it must be running out of exhibitionists who want to broadcast their every move. However, if Foursquare has the foresight to develop into a social mapping utility, I see the user generated recommendation component being a huge hit with the more mainstream, less exhibitionist crowd.
Mobile marketing [up]
The software available on the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry handsets is making it easier for users to personalize their mobile devices. In turn, this is forcing marketers to realize that we need to provide real value to consumers if we are to be allowed into their pockets. The mobile market isn’t about advertising; it’s about engagement and utility.
E-mail marketing [sideways]
While its effectiveness will continue to decline in 2010, it will still provide one of the highest ROIs of any marketing channel. That said, I believe it will be incrementally harder to persuade consumers to sign up for e-mail campaigns. E-mail will also need to be integrated into other marketing channels such as social media. We need to figure out how the content we create is truly distributed and how many times our targets see our messages.
Social media as customer service [down]
Having an organization’s internal social media specialists answering a customer’s complaint on why the widget doesn’t connect with the what’s-it-called will not scale efficiently. However social media will continue to play an invaluable role in customer support. In short, look away from the “superstar social media” employees like “RichardAtDell” (blog | Twitter) and towards a highly trained support staff modeled after Best Buy’s “TwelpForce”.
Augmented Reality [up]
AR is the merging of the digital world with the real world either through a camera and web browser. The shiniest technology on this list is also the one with the most real world potential. We’re already seeing companies such as Lego and Pepsi (disclosure: com.motion/Veritas works with Canada Dry Motts) use AR to deepen their engagement with their customers. I’m going out on a limb to say this will be the breakthrough technology of 2010.