Huffington Post published an article predicting some of the future trends of marketing in 2012. It is no surprise that the predictions fall on smartphones and social media. But the innovation is not the technology itself, the innovation is how businesses utilize the technology to connect to their customers.
Yesterday, a Huffington Post article written by contributor Jeffrey Hayzlett predicts three trends that we should implement into our businesses if we hope to stay competitive in the world of marketing. He goes as far as to suggest: “Business leaders and employees know when their old ways of doing business must change or their business will die; they need to step out of their old ways of marketing and start to act like an agent of change.”
A bit grandiose of an assumption, especially considering this list could have been published any of the last two to three years. But there are a few nuances of his predictions that may be important these next 12 months.
Hayzlett’s first prediction, “Mobile, Mobile, Mobile” is a bit of a yawn; a given. But a closer look shows his specifics may not be so obvious, specifically: “the mobile wallet will be the next big thing. With more and more online companies like eBay, Amazon.com and PayPal, using the mobile device as a platform to make instant online purchases, we’re now seeing technology built into smartphones that allows customers to swipe their phones rather than their credit cards at retail outlets.”
And he is correct, banks are already using the smartphone wallet to their advantage, publishing apps for Android and Apple OS’s. This is cheap and efficient marketing, because once the app is developed, it’s on the consumer to buy the smartphone and use it. In an increasingly hedonistic market, people are buying things with their Christmas gift cards right through their iPhones before even leaving grandma’s house.
Hayzlett’s second prediction, “Social – Crowdsourcing vs. Friendsourcing,” placed more weight on the latter: “friendsourcing is about trust: reaching out your most valued advisers—the people you really know—and finding out what they think. These people can be your close friends, colleagues, or mentors. However, they can also be your brand ambassadors—the social media friends and followers you’ve built those relationships of trust with over your social media network.”
Crowdsourcing (mass, impersonal, social media networking) has been effective in the past, but it has its limits. Friendsourcing has a double advantage, not only can a company communicate with “friend” companies via twitter and facebook (hey, corporations are people too, right?), but they can also interact personally with their customers. For example, it is not at all unrealistic to expect a scotch lover to “follow” his favorite scotch company, tweet them at the scotch convention, and meet up for a glass of scotch! This type of interaction is what new social media outlets make a reality.
Hayzlett’s last prediction is more of an interpretation than a prediction, as developments in this field are already underway, that is, “On-Line Qualitative Market Research.” He goes into detail: “It is clear that the shift to on-line qualitative research has begun and likely to accelerate in the coming year. The need for deeper and richer insights to support making better marketing and business decisions is critical. This category is rapidly growing and the corporate researchers that make the move will be best positioned to be the winners in this new game.”
This “prediction” is not so omniscient as the author makes it seem, as it bites at the heels of Walmart’s recent purchase of software development company KOSMIX, with the purpose of compiling social network data from consumers and predicting popular items in the future market. Hayzlett pronounces: “You can either choose to adapt, or die.” I don’t think that this statement is quite true, at the very least it is exaggerated. And all and all, Hayzlett’s predictions may seem a bit “duh”, but there are certainly some points that will be valuable to marketeers in 2012.