5 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2011

2010 was definitely the year everything went mobile. Smartphone adoption hit an all-time high worldwide and with it came all forms of mobile media: social, entertainment, news, advertising –- everything. From a marketing standpoint, 2011 should have a few surprises, wrote Patricia Odell of PROMO magazine (Dec. 21).

If 2010 led marketers farther into the digital world to wring what they could from Facebook, Twitter, wireless devices and other non-traditional promotional media, 2011 will also deliver its own curveballs,” she wrote.

Odell spoke with Todd Engels of Marketing Drive, who identified the following five marketing trends to watch in 2011:

1. Leveraging the power of social media to drive commerce (Groupon).
Groupon is setting the bar and we’re watching for how its success may fundamentally change distribution, effectiveness and efficiency of promotional value offers to consumers,” Engels said. For example, Groupon recently launched Grouponicus,’ a holiday dedicated to filling your loved ones’ gift buckets with experiences, not gift cards.’ The daily deal shopping website also recently entered into a partnership with eBay to offer incentives to eBay loyalty members who participate in Groupon deals.”

2. Integration of mobile (handheld) into shopping marketing programming.
As marketers and retailers look for new touchpoints along the path-to-purchase, we’re seeing the use of more digital applications, such as QR codes,” Engels said. Interestingly, marketers are trying to the leading edge of the trend and capture the early influencers while driving greater awareness and usage for the majority, versus waiting for overall adoption rates to hit critical mass. Canon was one such brand, testing QR codes in September on its printers in a number of retail stores, including Best Buy.”

3. Marginalization of brand.com” promotional websites.
Virtually all clients are looking to platform their promotions on social networking sites (Facebook), sharing sites (YouTube), or partner with existing content/audience-relevant sites (e.g. WebMD), versus building their own stand-alone sites.”

4. Localization of promotion.
We’re having a lot more discussions about driving promotion down to the local, grassroots level,” Engels added. The web is certainly enabling this but also indicative of a trend toward greater personalization/​customization and a backlash against big, high-profile events, as the economy starts to teeter. We’re seeing this realized often in cause marketing and at retail.” 

5. Continued blurring of the line between content and promotion. 
We’re looking at – (and) our clients are asking for – more content integration opportunities across all platforms (TV, print, digital, social and gaming),” Engels said. Marketers want the promotional message to be almost indistinguishable from the content because of the ability to deliver promotional messages in high-value brand environments. We’re working on a host of videogame integration opportunities right now and traditional CPG (consumer package goods) marketers are seeing that as a new frontier to reach their audience.” 

It’s interesting to note how each of the Engels’ five trends is relevant on the smartphone-as-marketing-tool level. Online/​mobile consumer services like Foursquare and Groupon are still in their infancy, and social networks like Facebook and Twitter continue to evolve, especially in terms of their monetization and marketing potential. It’s an exciting time for marketing and technology, and 2011 will definitely be a year when the two collide in more fascinating ways, on smartphones and tablets alike. If Don Draper were alive today, his head would be spinning.