2010, Year of the geek?

Its customary at this time of year for folks to publish predictions, so, not to be left out here are mine.

The fundamental changes that have come about in everybody’s lives in the last year and which continue to some extent, have demanded a new approach to marketing – “New Model Marketing” – and for a few years now I have been just one of many people propagating four mutually-dependant ideas that are at the heart of this new Paradigm.

  1. While short term benefits can be gained by a tactical approach, the evidence proves that sustainable growth and long-term success is dependent upon a strong brand community.
  2. We’ve focussed for too long on making promises to consumers through beautifully-crafted, compelling marketing communications, but all too often organisations have failed to deliver and customers have been disappointed.  Its time to walk the talk and deliver those promises.
  3. Marketing is the process of matching an organisation’s resources to customer needs. That means its involved in everything an organisation does at every level. Marketing is not a separate department and it isn’t communications (although communications are involved)
  4. Efficient businesses are successful businesses.  With the performance bar forever rising and every organisation looking to reduce its costs, the only hope an organisation has to gain ground is to achieve more with its investment.  That means eliminating inconsistency at every level and ensuring that every element of a business works together to achieve synergy.  That’s “integrated marketing”.

Insights and new kinds  of data management and analysis are essential if we are to achieve the necessary levels of efficiency and new ways of communicating with members of our brand community – that’s employees, investors and partners as well as customers – will be essential to the development of these relationships and the growth of any business.  I have always included IT people in my Full Effect project teams, but until recently we have been struggling like everyone else with Heath Robinson adaptations of tools designed for accounting purposes.  Now, at last there are early signs that the IT guys are on-board and applying their skills to the kind of solutions we need.

My predictions for 2010 are:

1 – 2010 will herald the arrival of the first of a new generation of data management tools that will really make a difference.  Its not that the nerds have been slow to do their job, but that marketers failed to get their brief in on time and the direction that the treadmill has taken ever since was dictated by the bean-counters who beat us to the draw.  However, the computer guys have hung around their new marketing mates for long enough now, the penny has dropped, they’re on the job and the potential of the great hardware that we have been developing in recent years will finally be realised with the emergence of a new kind of software that will bring us closer to the reality of delivering unique and compelling messages to individual customers rather than bludgeoning (and frequently pissing-off) broad segments.

I’m not one of those people who believes that there are aspects of marketing that cannot be measured.  I’m looking for a return on every dime my clients invest, which means I don’t get a lot of Xmas cards from the old PR school that seems to me to exist in a kind of mystical, non-accountable fug. This year I’m counting on the arrival of tools that will enable me and other marketers to more clearly understand the influence of every communications tool in our integrated strategies.

2 – This year we’ll see someone new step in and show us what “new media” is really all about. I despair at the failure of traditional media to respond to the opportunities (yes I did say opportunities!) presented by the arrival of on-line.  The paid for v. free debate continues, but we are still at the starting blocks as far as either option is concerned.  Steve Davies’ Skiddmark looks like a promising model, but there’s more out there and the race is on.  Hold on to your hats!

3 – Someone is about to get their act together and deliver a real user-driven experience that combines attractive programming, quality production and quality delivery. I have been very disappointed recently by a few mobile content providers.  Perform Group look as though they might be getting there, but where are the others?.  Let’s see who turns up for the party.

4 – Social networking will come into its own with the first of a new generation of communities driven by intuitive computing that more closely reflects the kind of judgements we all make about the people we mix with – another step closer to the deep and meaningful “Brandships” that have been at the heart of Full Effect Marketing for years.  I  don’t belive that FaceBook is a panacea.  I’m all for social networking (Its what my Brand Discovery programme is all about), but there are millions of businesses for whom the current social networking venues and resources don’t add up to anything, but a distraction from the real game.  Web 2.0 is a blunt instrument, but if you aren’t already involved you’ll not be ready to make the transition to WEb 3.0 which is where the real benefits will emerge.

2010 – new levels of accountability, relevant media, the content we want and real understanding of our customers. – Bring it on!

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