Thursday, December 15, 2011

Contrarian 2012 Trends

What won't happen next year?

There are numerous posts and articles on the marketing trends for next year that provide better insights than I ever could; examples include:
  • A collection of Consumer Trends from trendwatching.   
  • The five digital trends from Mashable's presentation at ThinkLA's Trends Breakfast
  • A compendium of Social Marketing thoughts:  with a good summary by Brian Solis
So, I'll take the easier route and think about what won't happen.
  • We won't be able to glean game-changing insights from all the data.  
The data of activity, particularly communal or social, is generated by a sample of our audience.  According to Boston Consulting Group's study it is possible that posters and readers are the same folks.  And with 40% neither posting or reading in the 'past week' there is the risk that this lens into consumer thinking is not very representative.   In addition, as an organization we simply don't have the capacity to look at the world thru an integrated lens if we're not already doing it.  Until the CMO and CIO become either glued at the hip, or one and the same person as noted at the Forrester summit on the topic, the odds of getting to the desired end game this year are as long as winning the lottery. 
  • We won't think or act like consumers.  
Consumers are consumers; nothing more.  They don't think about funnels, being on a journey, or how best to proceed toward their (un)stated goals.   They just do what is easy and interesting for them to do.  While both McKinsey and Forrester have good descriptive observations of what goes on out there they aren't blueprints for execution. We on the other hand have to design campaigns, select media, create content, make choices, etc. all to achieve specific financial objectives.  Thus, until our goals are better aligned with our audience there will always be friction between the company and the audience.   Add to this the historic channel orientation and we've got an organization that is somewhat hand-cuffed in its ability to act and think consumers.

Since companies aren't created equal, some marketers will overcome these two challenges and gain substantive advantage by leveraging the opportunities outlined in the trends.

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