As 2009 hurtles to a close and marketers gear up for an undoubtedly leaner and meaner year in 2010, they will need to be increasingly vigilant about managing integrated programs with fewer resources, more diversity and less certainty, according to Judy Franks, founder and president of The Marketing Democracy.
Despite these constraints, Franks still believes that if the industry can begin to look at the media landscape as a whole and less at its parts, and understand the ways in which it is changing, 2010 can still be the “year of the good idea.”
Using data and observations gleaned from recent consulting projects and a extensive industry-watching, Franks compiled the following top 10 trends to help integrated marketers navigate the choppy waters she expects to see in 2010.
The top 10 trends for integrated marketers:
- Less will get done until we learn to do more with less: While the year 2009 was marked by extreme economic turmoil, the marketing industry won’t feel its full effects until 2010. Right now, marketers and their agency partners are focused on simply “getting work out the door,” with? reduced headcounts and budgets. However, if they learn to align resources with more singular and powerful integrated marketing programs – at the perhaps necessary expense of? individual marketing tactics -? the breakthrough ideas and greater productivity will be the norm again.
- Marketers will mistakenly ‘whack’ a medium of the marketing mix: With reduced marketing budgets, Franks said, “something has to give.”? Unfortunately, marketers are making wholesale cuts to specific marketing/media channels in the process. Though the most dramatic cuts have occurred this year in newspapers and magazines, she cautions marketers to carefully consider if other media in the marketing mix can really compensate for these cuts, especially in terms of the consumer behavior.? Though Franks believes that reduced resources should not affect a well-crafted, integrated, multi-channel mix, she does expect that such blunders may occur in 2010.
- Marketers rush to employ ‘social networking’ strategies: Marketers are in what Franks calls “a mad rush” to enter the social networking space with ‘tweets’, ‘widgets’, ‘apps’ and ‘fan pages’. However, she asserts that social networking is not, in itself, a marketing tactic; nor is it a surrogate for a brand’s social experience or a line item on a marketing plan, a specific channel, or a form of content. In Franks’s view, social media is an outcome, and no single channel has a lock on the ‘social’ nature of content. Rather than scrambling for social media programs, Franks cautions marketers to step back and realize that “most any medium can serve as the ‘originating’ medium in a journey that can take a great piece of content across channels and into vast networks of hearts and minds.”
- More data but even less ‘understanding’: Web analytics are making online campaigns easier to measure, while more studies are emerging from more sources – including media measurement companies, foundations, academics, marketers and the media themselves. While all this data clearly point to a highly fluid, highly interactive and mercurial media landscape, these data sets are – at the same time – less projective when the media world changes so quickly. So, while marketers may have a better understanding of what happened last week, last month or yesterday, they cannot take this understanding too far into the future. In this respect, Franks likens today’s environment to? a “Wild West” era of integrated channel planning.
- Lines between media will continue to blur: In the coming year, more prime-time TV content will show up in more places than ever before. Fans will have multiple access points into shows that used to be an ‘appointment view’ controlled by network programming executives. Such models as live view, live+3 day views from a DVR, video on demand, Hulu, network owned websites, and shared distribution deals (ala DirecTV and NBC for Friday Night Lights) it is no longer clear as to where one screen medium ends and another begins. Marketers will do best to understand that “it’s all a screen,” and plan accordingly, Franks said.
- Push vs. pull will become less relevant: In 2010, the classification of marketing experiences into ‘push’ vs. ‘pull’ will become less relevant because the best content (both programming and commercial content) will increasingly become ‘push’ and ‘pull’ at the same time. For example,? American Idol is both a ‘push’ medium because it’s broadcast during primetime on Fox, and a ‘pull’ medium because of the plethora of votes, downloads, and chats which result from the broadcast.? The reverse is also true. Given the vast reach of social networks, a viral experience that is pulled along by a small group of fans will quickly amass reach without too much effort on the part of the original sender.
- Great content will travel at the ‘speed of share’? while ‘average’ experiences will evaporate: In 2010, marketers will continue to wrestle with a sense of time because messages can travel at ‘the speed of share’ which renders the speed of traditional content distribution obsolete. With the click of a mouse, or a mobile phone, consumers can advance a great story/ad/video/picture/newsbite to vast, ‘networked’ communities of hearts and minds. However, content will only travel at the ‘speed of share’ if it is worth sharing in the first place. There now is much lower tolerance for mediocre content, and consumers in 2010 will have even more means of disposing of, and/or avoiding it.
- The adult 18-49 demo will become even less relevant as a target cohort: Though the diversity within the 18-49 adult demographic isn’t new, the dramatic differences in media use and consumption for an 18 year-old relative to a 49 year-old are becoming increasingly pronounced.? The great divide between internet-raised and television-raised consumers may indeed become big enough in 2010 for integrated marketers to finally realize that this broad and unrealistic target cohort doesn’t hold up.
- Symbiosis will create interesting and – at times strange – partnerships: Though many forecasters are predicting wholesale collapses in media channels, Franks believes that the media and marketing landscape will be affected more by the laws of symbiosis than the laws of natural selection. As an example, the relationship between YouTube and TV – which at first appeared on the surface as a competing interest – continues to evolve into a symbiotic relationship. These emerging relationships will continue to develop among what appear on the surface as competing media channels.
- 2010 will become the year of the good idea:? The recent past suggests that integrated marketing, as an industry, has become hyper- focused on the dynamics of channels to such an extreme that it has taken its eye off the ball. However, when a collective realization is made that marketing channels serve only as pipelines for content and that only great content can be both ‘pushed’ and ‘pulled’ along at the new ‘ speed of share’, the good ideas will begin to flow again. Without a good idea, the content will simply evaporate.