Not every trend turns out to be a hit, but even this "misses" can inspire. From Foursquare and Google+ to digital media and mobile money apps, 2011 was good for brands and marketers.
Deeper discounts, QR codes, web video. Many of the trends that emerged this year will continue to bewitch consumers and inspire marketers in 2012, while many we’ll be happy to take a break from (fingers crossed) in the coming weeks and new year. At the top of that list is Facebook, the social networking party that’s become so big it can no longer be described as one party, but rather several miniature mixers inside one gigantic rec room, albeit a virtual one. Google+ continues to attract consumer attention; Google boasts that its social media answer to Facebook attracted more followers this year than LinkedIn and Twitter combined, which sounds more impressive than it is. At press time, user numbers looked like this: Facebook: 800 million, Google+: 43.3 million (as of mid-October), LinkedIn: 135 million, and Twitter: 380 million. For my colleagues and me at Vertical Marketing Network, a little competition is a good thing, and no matter the social network, brands and businesses will continue to log on and engage. After all, it seems engagement is the marketing buzzword of the moment. Whether it’s in stores, online or via television, marketers are forever challenged to connect with their brand demographic in meaningful and authentic ways. And with so many tools at our disposal, we have plenty to look forward to.
Maybe I’m just blogging out loud, but it seems like yesterday’s micro trends are tomorrow’s everyday occurrences. Marketers can learn plenty from cultural hits and misses, and possibly influence a little sway.
Below, Blogging Out Loud’s Top 5 Marketing Hits & Misses from 2011 (OK, maybe not misses, but we’ve certainly had our fill):
Hit: Foursquare — The darling of the location-based social networking scene has redefined what is means to “check-in” and check businesses out. More than 10 million users can’t be wrong.
Miss: Google+ — No matter that they say (see above), the little social network that could has a long way to go before playing with the big boys.
Hit: Digital Media — Television may still be the preferred medium for old school adverts, but this year saw online advertising outnumber print for the first time ever. And it’s going to continue.
Miss: Augmented Reality — Not so much a miss, but rather: Let’s stop predicting its future and make AR what it’s going to be — not just the Next Big Thing, but the future.
Hit: Mobile Money — New mobile apps enable consumers to shop with ease and empower small businesses to operate like big ones with little to no cost. Will mobile money render the paper stuff a thing of the past?
Miss: Recession Marketing — Since we’re in the midst of the biggest holiday shopping season in recent memory, let’s stop talking “recession” and adopt a new and necessary sensitivity to the needs of average consumers.
Hit: QR Codes — Since we explored their potential a mere 3 months ago, Quick Response codes have gone from being “those bar code thing-ys” consumers barely understand, to stand-alone advertisements that connect brands and consumers on multiple levels, all with the help of a smartphone.
Miss: QR Codes — Still, has anyone seen a campaign that really truly works? And, more importantly, just how many consumers are using them?
Hit: Crowdsourcing — Thanks to the Internet and social media, never before have consumers had so much influence over brands and businesses. The trend will surely continue, but how will it shift?
Miss: Green Marketing — Everybody wants to save the planet, but we still have a long way to go in reducing media waste. Have any green campaigns caught your eye?
Blogging Out Loud will return Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012. From our family to yours, happy holidays and best wishes for a safe and prosperous 2012.