Most predictions claim that Marketing in 2012 will be centered around the growing importance of social influence, personalized messages, measurable metrics, and video. I don’t deny that these trends will grow further, but here’s my list for 2012:
1. Embrace Them All: Devices of all types are now a way of life and consumers need them all in different situations. Betting on one platform or one device is not necessary. Marketers need to accept and “give their best” on every possible device – mobile, smartphone, tablet, and laptop. Don’t stop at providing a mobile-friendly website. Ensure that your e-mail newsletters are mobile-friendly too. Enable consumers to make purchases irrespective of where they find you, whether offline or online.
2. The Squirrel Matters:
“A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa.” – Mark Zuckerberg
There is some truth to the recent buzzword ‘SoLoMo’ which means marketing that combines Social, Local and Mobile strategies; consumers love all three. Every brand manager needs to evolve what ‘Local’ means for her products’ context.
In some cases, Local can mean ‘Niche’. Being #1 in your customer’s niche/location counts more. For startups, this is particularly important. The go-to-market plan should get traction and credibility in a segment that the startup can serve better than others. “We serve 80% of all data-centers in Asia” has more impact than saying “We have 30 customers”.
3. E-mail is Addictive. A newsfeed on a social network is still a broadcast intended for 100+ people, and not a personal message intended for you alone. You may skip several posts and ignore people in your newsfeed but it unlikely that you will ignore an informative e-mail addressed to you.
4. Create not Wait. UGC is a bonus. Meaningful original content will be even more important in our world of cut-&-paste. Brands need to stop waiting for users to give them content. Instead focus on creating real stories that find their way into conversations and get shared widely.
5. My favorite trend for 2012 is the The Return of Simplicity. Simple products, simple pricing, simple benefits, and simple messages will rule this year. People don’t have time to dwell on “smart” (read: complex and confusing) marketing. Simplicity and authenticity will matter even more in 2012 for the overloaded time-starved consumer. To make consumers remember your product, focus on basic emotions in your storytelling – love, aspiration, saving, security, victory, leisure, and happiness.
And finally, all of the above is relevant after you build a fantastic product. That trend will never change.