The 2010 Marketing Landscape – Social Media & Business Predictions for Marketers

Marketing is in a state of change perhaps unmatched since the invention of TV advertising and brand management. As marketers consider how to better utilize the social web to build their brand in this rapidly changing environment, one good read is “17 Visionaries Predict Social Business Impact on the Enterprise.” At the start of 2010, Christopher Rollyson asked his colleagues, including me, from the LinkedIn Group CSRA Innovation Group to contribute their thoughts to this “crystal ball” gazing initiative.   

2010 Web 2.0 Predictions

What were some of the predictions from the group on the impact of web 2.0 on the future of Marketing?   

Marketing — More Real Time and More ROI

  • Marketing Will Become More “Real Time” —  My prediction  focused on a seismic shift in Marketing, with  marketers beginning to view  social networks as a significant marketing contact point with broad implications for how marketing is managed and measured. Dri­ven by dig­i­tal and Web 2.0, Mar­ket­ing will increasingly move from an annual marketing planning exercise focused on one-way communication, to a real-time, dynamically planned function focused on interacting with and responding to consumers in real-time. Mar­ket­ing effec­tive­ness will increas­ingly be mea­sured in real-time, and adjust­ments will be made “on the fly,” based on brand equity and ROI met­rics.
  • “Earned Media” Will Become More Measurable — And More Relatable to Paid Media —  The “greater focus for most com­pa­nies will be on demand creation through use of social media & Web 2.0 tech­nolo­gies,” according to Rob Peters.  Marketers will increasingly focus on the creation of “Earned Media,” and will build their measurement capabilities to better understand factors of success. As well, Marketers will increasingly think of media in a more holistic “Blended Media” framework, e.g. the mix of traditional paid TV, Web, etc. and earned media such as Twitter, blogs, organic search and such. This is important since TV viewership continues to increase, and TV advertising seems to work about as well as ever. Understanding the relationship and interaction of paid and earned media will continue to evolve and become more sophisticated in 2010.

Social Networks Will Become Increasingly…

  • More Able to Drive Relationship Marketing — Christopher Rollyson affirmed the increasingly important role of global social networks in “discovering, building and maintaining relationships.” Network theory shows that the more people who are in a network, the more powerful it becomes for all members. As social networks continue to grow and combine in new forms, this network effect will only increase the potential impact of social networks. And continued social media technical innovation will accelerate brands ability to build new and more interactive relationships with their customers.
  • More Cost Effective — On the topic of the growth of social networks, Suzy Tonini points out that Web 2.0’s “reach and cost-effectiveness have been a huge plus” in the midst of the recession. While not free, social media will continue to offer the potential to drive improved results at lower cost. The key will be for brands to understand what aspects of earned and paid media drive word-of-mouth, viral marketing and create a long tail of positive brand impressions on the web that continue to build the brand long after the initial effort is finished.
  • More Mobile with Greater Ability to Share Trust Based Information — Recommendations from people you know is consistently rated by consumers as a top marketing contact point. The continued adoption of Facebook Connect will drive this to a new level as consumers can increasingly log in to their favorite sites with their Facebook ID, and then access their social networks opinions and recommendations as they traverse the web. 
  • More Location Aware — Alvin Chin poses that “location-aware” geo-social networks will allow the recording of “social interactions in real life.” This will allow Marketers to increasingly “map” consumer engagement by geographic location, serve up relevant content, and interact in novel and interesting ways.

Geo-Social Networks Take Twitter and Facebook to the Next Level

Will the Predictions Become Realities in 2010?

Not every prediction comes true. Social media pundits predicted the death of TV and there’s just no evidence yet that it’s dying. That said, there’s no question that web 2.0 and social media will only expand in 2010.

Any marketer who questions the likelihood that these predictions about information sharing, the expansion of social networks, and brand building should consider the advent of Google Buzz. With the ability to share status updates to selected groups, interact with others via location-based software, and find answers via mobile search engines, Google Buzz takes the offerings of social media players like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare to the next level. And that’s one digital phenomena that started out as a prediction.   

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7 Responses to The 2010 Marketing Landscape – Social Media & Business Predictions for Marketers

  1. […] this article: The 2010 Marketing Landscape – Social Media & Business Predictions … Related Posts:2010 Personal Branding Predictions: Top-10 (A New Decade) | Brand …Friday Roundup: […]

  2. Gail Nelson says:

    Randall, I have no argument with any of these trends – I just wonder how you think they apply to B2B. Given, that recommendations are critically important to B2B buyers, too, and a LinkedIn network was the source of the data for this post, could you comment on how the social media model changes, if at all, for B2B marketers?

    • beardrs says:

      Gail — Thanks for reading the blog and commenting. Great question. Like you, I’ve spent some time in B2B and my experience tells me that referrals, expert recommendations, and word of mouth are even more important for B2B than consumer focused businesses. Social media and web 2.0 capabilities are making it easier for people, including B2B prospects and clients, to share their opinions and thoughts about companies with people they know. So, it’s logical to assume that the impact could be potentially bigger in B2B than B2C. Also, some of the viral marketing learnings I’ve seen recently suggest that viral networks tend to build most effectively within groups with common interests. So, you would think that buyers and prospects with common professional interests would be more likely, not less, to share professional information. Lastly, a real world example: one of the professional marketing organizations I’m a member of recently had a member ask the group as a whole to evaluate Nielsen (where I work) vs. IRI. While this might be a narrow view of todays Nielsen, the collected responses were published to the group at large, indicating the potential for social or business networks to impact buyer perceptions. Thanks again for reading the blog. Randall

    • Gail, thanks for posing a question that’s in so many senior marketers’ minds, but it’s a paper tiger based on perceptual biases about the social web. The media hype around (first) Friendster and MySpace, then Facebook, Twitter and YouTube has been focused on uberthin, hype-ridden value props, but it’s made a lot of noise. What’s rarely mentioned in the broad conversation is that all the social web does is accelerate the discovery, creation and maintenance of relationships. But since the hype has been so consumer-focused, it’s been distracting to B2B marketers.

      As Randall writes, B2B decision makers depend on their contacts to aid in their (relatively) higher ticket decisions. Being conservative and rightly skeptical about tech hype, they are always late adopters. However, adopt they do once they discover that, for one example, LinkedIn enables them to:
      -Find people with highly specific common interests (i.e. reverse logistics in Korea)
      -Reach out and engage (i.e. answering Korean contact’s question in LinkedIn Answers and starting an in-context, value added conversation)
      -Maintain the relationship by connecting and seeing each other’s update stream over a period of time.
      -At the appropriate time, pick up the phone to deepen the relationship along a traditional path.
      -Savings ramp strongly the minute you increase connections. Let’s say Asia market entry for global e-commerce firm; you want to have conversations with logistics execs in Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, PRC…

      Another factor that causes B2B (and B2C) adoption to lag is that most people are not aware of how they create and build relationships. Whenever you do something digitally, it forces you to make the implicit explicit. Most execs are painfully unaware of squishy people issues like relationships. And they are not aware of the dynamics of interaction in transparent settings that social networks represent.

      B2C has a far lower expectation level that B2B, so people are approaching it more playfully, but they’re hardly more aware of how they develop relationships.

      Serious business players can create a ton of value now–by approaching social networks as an opportunity to accelerate all phases of the relationship life cycle. If this is interesting, here is a more in-depth treatment.

  3. […] The 2010 Marketing Landscape – Social Media & Business Predictions … […]

  4. Randall, thanks again for participating in 17 Visionaries. I approached it as a bit of an experiment, and I’m really excited by your and our compatriots’ insights, so will definitely be doing more this year.

    To me, once we realize that social networks lower the cost of relationships, and we can therefore have more relationships, it becomes ridiculous to question whether they will “make it” – but that’s rarely included in the public discourse at this point. As my review of Robin Dunbar’s “Gossip, Grooming, and the Evolution of Language” points out, humans’ whole evolutionary strategy is based on sociality; we owe the shape of our bodies and our brains to group dynamics.

    Therefore, the only questions in my mind are how and when, not if.

    You can check out my take on Dunbar’s groundbreaking work here.

    • beardrs says:

      Chris — Thanks for the comments and also for inviting me to participate in you “17 Visionaries” experiment. I agree with your points; human beings are by nature social, and the rise of digital social networks makes it infinitely easier and simpler to stay in touch and socialize with people. Facebooks rise to 400 million+ users in just a few years, despite a somewhat clunky platform (imo), is testament to the instrinsic value people get out of social networks. Thanks also for the recommendation on “Gossip, Grooming…” which I will definitely check out. Randall

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