Consumer addiction to all things interactive will create strong opportunities for marketers
Daniel Stephenson, senior director of category development at Specific Media, discusses what he thinks will be the key trends that will dominate the marketing industry this year.
As we know, the economy drives the agenda for all industries but businesses that remember the most basic of golden rules - work out what the customer wants and give it to them better than anyone else - will always flourish.
The economic climate shows little sign of improvement in 2012, but let's not forget that some of the greatest brands in the world from Apple to Disney were founded during recessionary periods. True to form, while shoppers in 2011 tightened their belts round the world on essentials such as food and clothing, the launch of a certain new tablet still caused mass hysteria and queues camping out overnight.
With this in mind, when identifying what I believe will be the key trends for 2012 I have chosen to focus on those trends which we, as marketers, can capitalise on, rather than those over which we have little control.
Marketers will fuel consumer desire for little luxuries
To begin with, I believe consumers are fed up of constantly watching their spending and will be looking for bursts of cheer wherever they can find and afford them. Indulging, splurging and escaping from today’s pressures – albeit on a shoestring – will be pivotal in 2012 and little luxuries and treats will be essential for those seeking the ‘feel good factor’. These may involve increased consumption of online video and music and even purchasing the occasional ‘feel good’ treat around key events of national pride, such as the Olympics and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Much like the Royal Wedding in 2011, there will be street parties and a general enthusiasm around the ‘Best of British’ theme. Grocery retailers will naturally be the biggest beneficiaries as party food comes back into favour. Sporting goods retailers, however, should also do well as the London 2012 effect kicks in and encourages people to play more sport.
Interactivity will throw all conceivable surfaces into the marketing mix
Interactivity will also play a big role with consumers over the next 12 months – so expect to see more touching, tapping and swiping. Every conceivable flat surface from walls and windows to outdoor ads and restaurant menus will come alive to enable consumer interaction. To aid this, screens will become even more mobile, cheap and ‘always on’ – creating an interface to everything. This will deepen consumer and brand engagement creating enormous opportunities for marketers to build increased loyalty among their customer base.
Online video to become a mass market channel in its own right
Online video viewing figures are at an all-time high and it looks as though consumption is going to evolve further in 2012. We will see online video being used as a channel in its own right, as it becomes known as digital video, rather than TV online. Brand owners will continue their attempts at building the bridge between the internet, the living room and the mobile phone or companion device, as they hope to break down the barriers that currently prevent widespread adoption.
Marketers to look beyond the click at more rounded measures
Some might say this has been a long time coming but I believe this year will see online marketers looking beyond the click as a success metric in display advertising and focus on more rounded measures of quality and value, such as the importance of branding and post-impression attribution. I hope marketers everywhere finally realise that high click-through rates do not generally correlate to the most qualified leads and it will be interesting to see how the digital marketing industry reacts to the increase in demand for insightful measurement. With developments this year from the NRS (joint print and digital) and BARB (cross platform TV) 2012 will surely deliver similar advancements in what is measured and how.
Exciting evolution in digital music
Consumers’ desire for access to and consumption of music content is growing. 2011 has already seen the music industry leap forward in terms of working alongside the digital world, rather than fighting against it. 2012, however, will be the year that the music industry really finds its feet in this space. With the growth and success of Vevo, Spotify, Sound Cloud, the resurrection of Myspace and the birth of Google Music, the focus this year will be on exciting developments as we see these key players in the market move from strength to strength.
Daniel Stephenson is senior director of category development at Specific Media, responsible for developing the business planning and marketing strategy to extend Specific Media’s relationships with Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 clients across key vertical industries. Prior to joining Specific Media in January 201, Stephenson spent nine years at COI, progressing to head of digital marketing and working on campaigns including Armed Forces Recruitment, Swine Flu, FRANK and Knife Crime.
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