In identifying 11 trends for 2011 for this series, I am directly tapping my professional experiences of the last year. These include discussions with customers, prospects, partners and peers, and my own research and analysis. I may have also consulted the Internet for its wisdom. These are 11 areas of addressable interactive marketing that I will be monitoring, in which I will be expanding my knowledge, and creating strategic plans for in the coming year. These 11 trends are essentially my crib notes for 2011. And if you think I’m wrong, remember these are not predictions, so don’t include me in your “worst of 2011” recap column.
1. Mobile’s impact on everything: Over-cited but under-appreciated stat of the year: Morgan Stanley Global Technology Research projects that sometime in 2013, the number of consumers globally using the Internet through mobile devices will exceed the number using the Internet through desktop devices. Mobile devices will be the lens through which The World experiences the world very soon… if not already. Consider an entire generation of consumers (let’s say 25 and under, today) tethered to mobile devices day and night. Consider how this group interacts with media, marketing – and their friends and family – with an aversion to long form content. How are you planning for a mass consumer audience that is perpetually distracted, seeks convenience first, and makes many of its decisions based on real-time access to peer influence? The manner in which consumers engage with humans and brands is changing forever and in front of our eyes. Convenience, immediacy and multitasking are the traits that will have to apply, not just to mobile marketing but to nearly every connected media channel, from the wired web to TV.
2. Tablets take over: Headline from WSJ.com on 12/29/10: Entrants Flood Race to Rival iPad. Analysts predict as many as 50 manufacturers will be showing off their tablet devices at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, each in an attempt to claim their sliver of market share from Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy. Make no mistake: tablets are hot, consumers are snatching them up, and just about every CE manufacturer sees dollars to be made even as an “also ran” in the tablet market. And tablets represent a nexus of traditionally distinct consumer engagement types: watching video, gaming, browsing, social networking, emailing, and multitasking (doing all the above while also text messaging and watching a TV). Tablets, in a fashion distinct from mobile devices (smart phones), are changing how consumers engage with media and marketing. This leads me to the next trend to watch…
3. Tablets are not mobile: Media reporting firms like Nielsen and ComScore bundle their consumer behavior and consumption data for tablets and smart phones under the heading “mobile.” This is simply because smart phones and tablets share a common attribute of wirelessness, and “wireless” is really what they mean when they say “mobile.” In truth, wirelessness is one of the only commonalities between smart phones and tablets. In every other meaningful way, tablet users and smart phone users exhibit far different traits. Users are consciously investing time in media consumption through tablets. It is deliberate, functional, and has a high leisure factor. Rolling up tablet and smart phone activity data together obscures the consumer use distinctions. Both smart phones and tablets have established clear and distinct niches for use by consumers, which impacts how marketers should engage with consumers across these devices. To make sense of these niches, better data is necessary and marketers will push for this.
4. Four screens and counting: When I hear the term “third screen,” I think of mobile. However, Wikipedia tells me mobile can be either the third or fourth screen. And “Digital Out Of Home” is the fifth screen… really? To me there are 4 screens and each is critically important in 2011: TV (1), desktop/wired devices (2), mobile and smart phone devices (3), and tablets (4). As argued in Trend Three, tablets are a new creature altogether deserving its own set of disciplines and practices for consumer engagement. But let’s go to the top of the list and realize that TV is quickly becoming a newly dynamic platform for addressable marketing, whether through web-enabled services like Google TV or Apple TV, or through your cable provider’s set-top box. Even as marketers clearly struggle with the basics of mobile (Screen 3, if you’re keeping track), it’s clear that responsibility for tablets (4) and interactive TV (1) will be heaped onto the plates of overwhelmed interactive marketers globally. The important challenge for brands everywhere: Maintain holistic and consistent brand experiences across channels while creating nuanced marketing messages that capitalize on the strengths of each screen. Are marketers prepared in 2011 to invest money and resources to answer this challenge?
The list of 11 Direct Digital Marketing Trends In 2011 will continue. Stay tuned!