Over the last several weeks I've stumbled across a lot of 2011 lists ranging from "Where to Expand Globally in 2011" to "Consumer Behavior Trends in 2011" to "SEO tips for 2011". I'm sure you have too. These lists, of course, are in addition to all the other great things that stream through our feeds every day...
But it's a lot to sort through and remember, isn't it?
So I started to make my own list of the key thoughts that stood out most to me from all the 2011 lists and recently published material. Which was helpful.
But then I thought it might be nice to share that list in the event that others might find the same culling helpful too... So I did just that below. 10 things. One fellow's opinion of some of the key marketing thoughts to consider as we enter 2011. I hope you find them helpful and inspiring as well.
1. Study the Consumer Problem First
Faris Yakob over at TIGS recently posted a great presentation about the importance of emotion in advertising. He also talked about how marketers must allow gaps in communication that consumers can fill and participate in. John Steel mentioned once that Rich Silverstein has approached his work in this manner for years. So that's good. But my favorite thought in Faris' presentation is on slide 59 (above). Solve the consumer problem which, in turn, solves the brand problem. It's a great starting point for the year. In 2011, let's study the consumer problem first. (How? See #7.)
2. Brands On the Go.
David Armano always has great stuff to say. And his list of 2011 Social Media Trends is excellent. Out of this list my favorite was Ubiquitous Social Computing... Gartner had similar thoughts. Here's why: US Smartphone penetration currently sits around 27%. Add to this a strong holiday selling season, several million tablets now on the market, increasing hardware affordablity, expected network carrier changes and this market will grow significantly in 2011. So Q1/Q2 should be about refining or creating an easy and helpful "On the Go" digital experience.
When customers search on the go does the brand return well? Function well? Is there a way to help customers get information better on the go and encourage extra sales? I like the idea of coming out swinging here in 2011...
MediaPost had their seven 2011 trends for online video and #2 really stood out. Things that are well produced and pleasant to watch will be viewed more than those that aren't. If the goal is large viewership, unless we're breaking news or capturing something rare, quality does matter. This applies to everything, even popular home-produced stuff. JK Wedding Dance (above) is surely lo-fi but note how crisp the sound is and the excellent camera placement. Without those things I doubt this video would have hit 59 million views. Quality isn't big $$$, just good planning.
4. Think About Post Digital
I love this. Russell Davies has been talking about Post Digital since mid 2009. In summary, Post Digital considers both online and offline. It's taking things from our online worlds and making them into tangible items in the physical world. It's mighty interesting and a cool way to think. Beyond that, I'll just link to this from Russell...
5. Practice Purpose Driven Marketing
It was, indeed, all the rage at the ANA in October. And for good reason. Long has the marketing, advertising and branding industries talked about the "brand positioning"--that one key idea that an organization stands for. Which is great for a one way dialog: We stand for THIS! But now we have two way dialogs with active participation and I believe we need to start articulating an organization's purpose. Why does the organization exist? What value does it provide? How does it make the world better? At the next strategy meeting perhaps try and articulate the purpose of the organization instead of "brand" discussions. I, for one, am finding it to be more actionable.
6. Create Opportunities for Random Acts of Kindness
Trendwatching.com always does a great job reporting consumer trends. Their free monthly briefings are always a treat and this month they released their Key Consumer Trends of 2011. Within it Trendwatching talks about Random Acts of Kindness...
"Consumers' cravings for realness, for the human touch, ensure that everything from brands randomly picking up the tab to sending a surprise gift will be one of the most effective ways to connect with (potential) customers in 2011 - especially beleaguered consumers in North America, Europe and Japan."
I hope we see more of this next year. Kindness breeds kindness. And always-connected technology makes it so that others can partake too. So while random acts of kindness goes about making the world a better place it's also good for business.
7. Design Thinking
Design is commonly thought of as simply making something beautiful. But Design Thinking is a way to solve problems and discover new opportunities. Like this. And it's done through correct definition of the problem, typically revealed through observation.
During the last few years it's been challenging for many organizations to allocate the budget or the resources to significantly observe customer behavior. But I think 2011 will once again enable this ability. So let's not squander it. What key problems have arisen in the last few years? Let's get out there and observe behavior in order to design the right solutions.
8. Apply Technology and Innovation to Current Ideas
Kevin Kelly's new book, What Technology Wants is terrific. It's a journey that explores how techonology is its own living thing. In the end what I took away is that what techonolgy ultimately wants is to help enable us to be our best selves. And an ever growing 'technium' creates new opportunities for more talents to be realized. This applies to organizations too. Where marketing and innovation come together is what helps build the best customer.
We often look for that new, killer idea. But often the best ideas are already on the table. Perhaps they're just not attached to the right technology yet, or need a bit more innovation to maximize their potential.
VC activity is predicted to be high this next year. Before going back to the drawing board for new ideas, let's revisit some ideas from the past and see if there's a way to apply new techonology and innovation to help bring them to life.
9. Create Collaborative Systems
I really like what Co: is doing. After departing JWT this year Rosemarie Ryan and Ty Montague went off on their own and started Co:. The idea is to bring together best of breed, discipline-specific players to solve a marketing problem. What we can all learn: Don't try to take it all on yourself or BS your way into mediocre performance. When confronted with a challenge, ask first, "Who's the best to solve this"? If it's you, terrific. But if it's not, reach out, partner and lead the entire process.
10. Don't Hate On Reach and Frequency (Even Though It May Seem Cool To Do So)
Seth wrote a post last week about the importance of repetition. Right around the same time PsyBlog published a study on the effectiveness of frequency. Add to this the life span of a tweet is only 60 minutes. We must think frequency. But it's not the same message a bunch of times. It's variations of that message multiple times presented in context-relevant situations. It's what Target has been doing with their 70, :15 spots. It's what Zappos does everyday. But frequency without mass reach rarely enable ideas to create big change. These companies understand this. As does Ford.
So there they are... 10 interesting ways to think as we head into 2011. I encourage you to dig through the links and read the details of all this stuff from their original authors.