By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer
How can advertisers more effectively target key audiences? How can non-profits grow in a time when penny-pinching donors are closing their wallets? These are a few of the many challenges we faced in 2009. In our 2010 Trend Report, we have explored these many other topics to deliver a comprehensive list of key trends, statistics, insights and predictions. We have selected the top 5 predictions that will help you think more strategically and creatively — whether you’re a marketer or non-profit owner — about what we can expect in 2010:
1. Web of Intelligence
Everyday we are bombarded with a seemingly endless stream of information and we need clarity. The average American receives 5,000 advertising messages per day and there are an estimated 200 million blogs. How can brands reach target audiences more effectively and how can consumers find relevant content? We should expect web intelligence tools to enable advertisers to target audiences based on user opinions on particular issues. Based on browsing history, advertisers (think Facebook) could target psychographics and lifestyle, not just demographics. For web users, 2010 should be the year of relevance. With personalized search and Google Magic, technology should adapt to each individual user and learn from their browsing history to deliver highly relevant content.
Often times, large, bureaucratic organizations get too caught up in the process. All thinking and no doing leads to nowhere. Agile development is about innovating on a dime. For industry leaders, it means focusing on product development and implementation over strategy. Google thrives on agile development. The search giant is a strong proponent of alpha and beta testing. They work with the community (whether it’s developers and / or users) mid-stream to refine and perfect the product. Over the past decade, Google has developed over 40 unique products, including Gmail to Blogger to Wave. And the open-source web browser FireFox saw a 40 percent growth in 2009. We should expect more companies to adopt this alpha and beta testing and open-source development method in 2010.
Nobody wants to think of themselves as a lemming or, that their efforts are an inconsequential “drop in the bucket.” With the advent of the internet, though, crowdsourcing has changed the way we look at the “crowd.” The crowd-funding non-profit, Kiva reached the $100 million in 2009 — just four years after its inception. And the crowd built upon discounts, Groupon, boasts over 500,000 members. Dell’s IdeaStorm, GM’s FastLane blog, 99Designs are all leveraging the crowd to innovate and create impact. However, blur Group might have tapped into the next evolution of crowdsourcing — select sourcing. Select sourcing is about hand-picking and curating your crowd members. Moreover, blur Group believes select-sourcing creates transparency by establishing a competitive pricing model, while providing value and perspective that can’t be attained at even the largest agencies. We should anticipate more quality crowds (via select-sourcing) and more crowdsourcing applications.
Customer referrals and word of mouth is one of the most impactful forms of marketing. Marketing Sherpa found in a survey that 87 percent of respondents would trust a friend’s recommendation of a product or service over a review by a critic, while 84 percent said they would trust user reviews over a critic. And JC Williams Group consumer survey found that 91 percent of respondents ranked consumer generated content as the number one aid to a buying decision. We should expect brands to target top digital influencers — such as top bloggers and Tweeters — in an effort to increase WOM and viral advertising efforts. Accordingly, as more dollars work towards targeting influencers, we should expect a slight decline in traditional advertising.
5. Giving is In, Greedy is Out
“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” J.F. Kennedy spoke these words in 1961 and their meaning has not faded since. Today, we face similar challenges to those in the 1960s and it is through volunteerism and altruism that we can move forward into a brighter future. While our wallets might be pinched from the recession, our time is not. A recent survey conducted by MAVA found that unemployed workers are volunteering more frequently. Consequently, 50 percent of non-profits reported an increase in volunteer hours are their organization. Accordingly, we should expect community volunteer organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, to grow significantly due to the increase in local volunteerism and as the economy recovers, there will be a surge in financial donations and volunteerism. Consider, the incredible relief efforts in Haiti. While we might be reluctant to open our wallets for charitable giving, small amounts — around $10 — of money are being sent to help the suffering Haitian population.
Image by Iva Villi from Stock.Xchng