I meant to do a post like this last year, but never got ‘round to it. So this year, I’m determined to write something – even if it’s to look back next year and see how spectacularly wrong I was.
Let’s kick off with politics…
I don’t know if I’m being a tad paranoid, but politicians and bureaucrats are taking an unhealthy interest in the internet. And I’m not talking about deviant smut they may enjoy in their spare time either.
Whether you agree with these proposals or not, one thing is certain. There’s a battle for online privacy and freedom brewing – and it may come to a head in 2010.
Remove the tin-foil hat and get back to business. The mobile marketing business.
I reckon the mobile phone will be the next big thing in marketing next year, although the medium won’t mature for a few years yet. Not exactly original, I know, but still important if you’re running a business.
Mobile phones are getting more powerful. The iPhone 3GS for instance has a high quality camera, full web browser, wifi, video players, compass and GPS – all of which can be utilised by marketers. Even on its own, the falling cost and rapid growth of smart phone use is enough to justify my prediction. But wait, there’s more…
And in the same month, Swindon Borough Council announced free wifi for all their residents. Digital City, the company involved in rolling out the wifi, is planning to do the same thing in other boroughs.
What does it all mean? In 2010 & 2011 a fair chunk of the population will own powerful, location aware smart phones and have access to decent wifi. And “GoogMob”, I am sure, will do all they can to help marketers target users of these handsets.
The possibilities are very exciting indeed.
Another dreary social media prediction…
Or maybe not? I don’t think social media will save the world in 2010. In fact, I think it’ll struggle to save itself.
To me, social media like Facebook and Twitter is still in its infancy. These businesses remind me of the dot com boom from 10 years ago: trendy, VC funded and pretty much unprofitable – with all the investment capital based on vague predictions.
We all know what happened to these businesses back then, and I think something similar will happen again in the coming year or two. But something better will come out of the wreckage.
(I’ve written about this before, so forgive me if I’m repeating myself.) The problem with all social sites is the user is conditioned to expect the services to be free and ad-free from the beginning. Then any attempt to “monetize” (I hate that word) the site and modify the user’s behaviour results in fierce resistance.
I don’t know if Facebook or Twitter are going to be able to pull off monetization and keep their users happy. My money’s on a new emerging network – possibly based on Google’s Wave infrastructure – that’ll be profitable from the start.
(EDIT: That doesn’t mean it’s not worth testing Facebook PPC advertising. I think it’s pretty good for the right kind if businesses. I just can’t see it being another Adwords.)
The return of direct mail…
It’s never really been away; just out of fashion. But with rising bid prices for pay per click traffic, and the coming demise of objective SEO with personalised search results skewed to individuals, the smarter money will be spent on direct mail.
Targeting and fulfilling has never been so easy. Self service list brokers like Selectabase and cheap DIY print and postage with CFH Docmail makes direct mail a serious alternative to pay per click in tougher markets.
Why pay £3 for a single website visitor when the same money could hit a similar prospect 3 times with a 4 page colour mail pack – and there are no minimum order quantities?
So 2010 will be the year politicians smear our lovely internet with their oily little fingers, mobile marketing gets serious attention, the Web 2.0 crash (and recovery), and the resurrection of direct mail – even though it wasn’t really dead.
I’ll revisit this post next year and see how right (or wrong) I was.
Let me know what you think in the comments. Do you agree? Disagree? Think I’m insane? All thoughts welcome.
Enjoy Christmas and good luck for the New Year!
(Picture courtesy of David Sifry via Flickr)
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