Continue our move towards cloud computing
Ever since the introduction of Google Apps, we’ve seen more and more of a move towards cloud computing. Everything from our documents being stored remotely, to whole applications being stored elsewhere and accessed from our browser, we are seeing this move take place. 2010 will continue this inclination, not to its extreme yet – but in the next few years we’ll see computers simply being the way to access all our applications and date remotely, as they will be in “the cloud”!
Tablets (led by Apple)
If the rumoured Apple tablet computer does make an appearance next year, as is widely expected, there’s a good chance that it will transform the market in the same way that the iPhone has done.
We can’t be sure that the tablet even exists because Apple never comments on rumours but there is good reason to suspect that the device will feature a 10” LCD screen and resemble a large iPhone. It seems to be the established rumour – that Apple will announce this some time this year!
Apple are not alone in the tablet computing space, of course. Microsoft’s Courier tablet - another device that exists only in rumour - looks promising and offers two screens, making it more like a giant Nintendo DS. Budget computer maker Asustek are thought to be working on a tablet and so are Dell.
Not all tablets are mythical, however. You can buy an Archos 9 for £449 and be working on one right away. Tablets offer the advantage of a netbook-sized screen but are far lighter. The major disadvantage is the lack of a physical keyboard. Many people find a touchscreen keyboard difficult to use for long periods. Still, tablets are great for video, internet use and, if and when publishers get their act together, could offer an innovative way of reading newspapers and magazines. The latter possibility makes them a real threat to the growing e-book reader market.
Twitter has been the single biggest technology story of 2009 – now the micro-blogging site is beginning to charge businesses for using it and Google and Bing are starting to include tweets in their search results. Those two facts mean that any doubter can be sure that “real-time” social websites such as Facebook and Twitter are here to stay. But the big question has to be how to gather their short-form contents together in such a way that it becomes genuinely useful – at the moment, the wisdom of Twitter is hard to revisit. The solution is far from obvious, however: even more so than the internet in general, Twitter especially is full of other people’s opinions, and so presenting them in such a way that their relative merits are obvious is almost impossible. What does seem certain to continue, however, is the continued predominance of individual influencers, from Stephen Fry to Ashton Kutcher. And more and more pieces of data are likely to become available instantly – the Conservative Party’s Shadow Cabinet expenses are already available on Google Docs, for instance, as soon as they’re submitted. As the real-time web becomes home to information as well as opinion, it will become even more influential.
Analytics will become more important
As we get more and more data on everything, analytics will play a larger role, because we’ll have the data to support the success / failure of marketing campaigns.
As online video consumption continues to rise, advertisers increasingly value viral viewings as a clear and visible sign that their campaigns are engaging audiences.
This information will fuel a more scientific approach to viral campaign planning. Rather than just place videos online and hope an audience will come, advertisers will invest in viral seeding strategies. They'll promote their videos via online influencers, Facebook video-sharing applications and targeted, paid placements. Advertisers will also become smarter about developing and selecting ads with the most viral video potential before they employ the seeding.
While there are likely to still be more misses than hits in the viral space, the opportunity of being next year's T-Mobile "Dance" or Evian's roller babies is something many marketers will plan for.
Online display: Don't be blinded by the shiny and new.
In 2010, advertisers will experiment with new, larger ad formats. These formats may be initially attractive because they are different, but the basics of brand building beyond awareness shouldn't be ignored. Most of the new formats perform very well in the short term. Dynamic Logic has previously reported the high performance (brand impact) of video ads when they were first introduced. They found that video ad performance, relative to average ad performance, declined over a two year period following introduction as the novelty wore off. We'd expect this to be true for most of the new, larger ad formats and their progeny.
Ultimately, over the next several years only the fittest for these larger formats will survive. If they prove too intrusive, they may make people less favorable toward the advertised brand or the website on which they are served. Other advertisers and agencies will use these formats more cautiously, taking note of creative best practices gleaned from prior work.
Maps and location based technology / augmented reality
Google street map made news early last year with its controversial drive-by views of people’s front doors and people themselves. But, other innovative mappers also are emerging. Openstreetmap.org is about people mapping everything worldwide from great hiking routes to ski runs or and wine tours. Gatt describes it as a kind of wiki of special interest maps.
As more people invest in iPhones and other smartphones with geo-locational hardware incorporated, we can expect this to play a larger role in people lives.
Remember the digital screens that overlapped the physical world in the Steven Spielberg film “Minority Report”? Soon, you may be able to point your camera phone at a restaurant and have the view overlapped with user reviews.
With smart phones integrating all forms of digital media, augmented reality is the next step in bringing the virtual and the real together in one experience. “It’s a part of a larger goal – how do you make marketing useful? That’s the holy grail for everyone,” he says.
People are already using programs like FourSquare, Loopt and route planner software to plan their journeys on the go, when delays / breakdowns occur. And although this might only be the realm of the geek at the moment, you can be sure that it will become the norm sooner rather than later. 2010 will be the year for brands to figure out how to market to them. Local bars/restaurants have been the main advertisers. However, opportunities shouldn't be limited to food. For example, luxury retailers could target consumers checking in at upscale restaurants and invite them to sample sales or give discounts.
Fewer Registrations - One Sign-in Fits All
As consumers grow increasingly frustrated and resentful about registering yet again on another website, juggling different IDs and remembering a dizzying array of passwords, information-managing services such as Facebook Connect and OpenID will becoming even more useful and will continue to be adopted at great speed through 2010.
More Flash, Not Less
Outside of the obvious brand sites, micro-sites and media sites (video, games, etc.) where it appears absolutely necessary, Flash has often been looked down upon if not completely discounted by both techies and search engine optimizers. It seemed to face an uncertain future as a viable tool for serious websites and applications such as eCommerce tools and corporate websites. However, Adobe's rich media tool has enjoyed the grit and determination of its advocates and external development community. Now, several tricks, authoring tools and server side scripting workarounds have meant that Flash-built websites no longer serve up a single, impenetrable page. They offer deep, searchable, indexable sites that will allow acute, detailed traffic and behavioural analytics and search engine optimization.
As websites continue to increase in their importance as a company's storefront, the demand for rich, brand-extending experiences will also increase. Further proliferation of fast broadband will reduce download issues while the adoption of Flash on mobile devices will dramatically increase and fuel reach and the desire/need for highly usable, brand transporting, conversion oriented experiences
Also the introduction of Flash to many TV sets and set-top boxes will proliferate Flash even further.
The year that people get to grips with marketing on social networks
2009 has been the year that a few brands and agencies have produced stand out work that properly leverages the scale and features of social networks and utilities such as facebook and twitter.
'Tag a sofa' campaign for Ikea by Forsman and Bodenfors, Whopper Sacrifice by Crispin Porter + Bogusky and the awesomely popular 4320:LA for V Austrailia by Droga5 are beginning to show people that you can have product relevant, powerful and spreadable ideas that exist in these previously hard to tame media spaces.
These campaigns have opened people's mind to a new way of thinking about this sphere that is much more focused on the individual functionality of the platform. Finally, people are recognising that for an idea to work, it must be landed in an existing behaviour.
Brands that haven't embraced the medium will understand that social media marketing is not about slapping a brand page on Facebook and hoping for the best. Efforts will start with a sound strategy, a commitment to participate, and a willingness to listen and respond. This may seem obvious, but there are brands that still aren't fully engaged. As more brands like Ford and Pepsi hire heads of social media to lead the charge, 2010 will be the year that brands realize that social media is no longer a novelty; it's serious business.
The internet will bleed into reality
People will sort of cut up the internet and use bits of it to augment the real world. It's a hard thing to explain, but you can see a nice example of what I'm talking about here http://www.pokelondon.com/story/project-launch/mmmm-doughnuts-arduino-style-/ where Poke London built, using Arduino technology http://www.arduino.cc/ a device that lets the baker tweet out his freshest produce to the surrounding shoreditch ad-men and fancily sneakered designers so they can take a break from Powerpoint and flash coding to gobble a pain au chocolat and a double espresso.
Devices like the Nabaztag http://www.nabaztag.com/en/index.html (Armenian for 'rabbit) were way ahead of their time, this was an internet/real world crossover device that launched in 2006...expect to see more of these in 2010.
Now this is nothing new, if you remember the classic coffee cam from 1991 http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/coffee/qsf/coffee.html , which became a popular press story in the 90s. However it’s taking this things to a new more practical level. A service which informs you – rather than you having to check a photo of a coffee mug.
The Android is nigh
2010 will be the year that Android grows and grows. It was released early to fanfare amongst geeks and not much noise elsewhere, Android 2.0 is being released as we speak and it will mean that the various devices that run it will get a worthy, mass market, operating system.
For all the talk of the size and popularity of the iPhone app store, iPhones are still and will remain a minority. Android will become the mass platform of choice and the integration it offers between cameras, microphones, maps, social networks and GPS will mean that there's potential for brands to release some killer applications
These ideas need continuing investment and can often have an impact on the structure of a business. Walkers managed to get involved to great success with 'Do us a flavour' but opportunities to ask a client to hinge it's whole budget on a crowdsourcing idea that requires above-the-line support don't come up that often.
Expect to see smaller initiatives coming out, in CSR, product development and marketing development. This is one of the small fires that Marketing Directors should be very keen to begin starting.
Social media is typically thought of as a vehicle for branding and relationship marketing, but there are direct sales opportunities. For example, Best Buy celebrated opening day for the movie New Moon by asking its Facebook fans what their favourite vampire-themed films and books were. They put 50 of those items on sale on BestBuy.com. Many fans thanked Best Buy for listening to them and readily purchased the products.
The most important thing for brands to remember is that we should spend less of our efforts trying to predict "what's next for 2010" and focus on adapting quickly to changes in consumer behaviour and technology. The one certainty is that social marketing strategies will have to evolve with whatever comes our way next year.
Note. Some contents of this may be taken from other websites.