It has been at least a couple of years since I've done a proper "predictions" post, although last year I contributed to a fantastic 2009 predictions ebook that Peter Kim pulled together. This year I contributed to a similar ebook, but this time with my new best buds at Powered, Drillteam and Stepchange.
The book makes for some interesting reading and will give you a peek into some of the things the new Powered is thinking about right now.
You can download it for free right now but I'd like to give you a little taste. I have just one prediction -- that in 2010, marketers will (have to) stop just messing around and actually get serious about social media. Here's what I had to say...
I think it’s time to admit that for the past couple of years, we’ve had it pretty easy. Before you shout me down, hear me out. I’m well aware that the recession slashed our budgets, hammered our headcount, and applied an almost unprecedented amount of pressure to deliver outsized results with whatever it was we had left. But when it comes to social media marketing in particular, we’ve been getting a bit of a free ride.
In 2009, most companies still looked at social as an inexpensive, experimental nice-to-have tactic. They knew it was no longer a good idea to sit ‘this social media thing’ out, but ticking boxes on an innovation checklist often took the place of rigorous planning and results-oriented thinking. When so-called social media experts weren’t trying to convince one another that now might be a good time to invent some new-but-not-improved definition for the generally accepted success metric ROI, they were chiding naysayers with flippant questions like, ‘What’s the ROI of putting on your pants in the morning?’ If this doesn’t sound like you, congratulate yourself for being ahead of the pack.
But for everyone else, welcome to 2010: the year social media gets down to business.
This year, we’ll see more companies go beyond flavor-of-the-month tactics to approach social from a strategic perspective, considering both where it fits within the integrated marketing mix and (more importantly, from my perspective) how social thinking gets infused into all components of the customer experience – from the first awareness impression through every last post-purchase interaction. We’ll see marketers think about how social can deliver against their company’s key business objectives and then design sound programs that actually do exactly that (hint: ‘get on Twitter’ is not a key business objective unless you’re Biz Stone; increase customer satisfaction, retention and repeat purchase are.) And finally, we’ll see a serious focus on accountability. When social media was on the fringe of the marketing roadmap, we got away with playing around. Now that it sits squarely in the mainstream, it has to work hard.
I’ll admit my prediction isn’t as sexy as others you’re likely to read this time of year (give it up for mobile social, geo-location and augmented reality everybody) but I can guarantee that this is the one that must come true if we all want to be sitting around the table peering into the crystal ball at the start of 2011.
I wrote this prediction back in mid-December (and frankly have been harping on this particular point for a couple of years now) but those of you who follow goings-on in the social media space will notice that in the time between mid-December and now, others (including Forrester Research) have pointed to the very same trend. So that must mean it's true. Right again, Verdino...
Grab your copy and share the love. As always, feel free to chime in with reactions, thinking and snide remarks.