Trends and Technologies to Watch in 2011

Posted by Kate Jurras on Tue, Dec 21, 2010

Guest post by Larry Weber, Chairman of W2 Group, globally respected marketing expert, and an original MITX founder! Larry has written several books, which you should read, read, and read. This is one of several guest posts in the MITX 2011 Perspectives Blog Series. Stay tuned for many more posts by Boston's most influential thought leaders.

Instead of getting into the obvious predictions for 2011, like using social media to engage external audiences or the growth of mobile apps (which I think will take off because how many companies can have a good app?) here are a few of my top picks for trends and technologies marketers should be on the lookout for in next year.

The Rise of Employee Engagement

One key way in which brands will distinguish themselves from competitors in 2011 will be how they use social media to activate their own internal audience. Companies must build social strategies that leverage their most important asset – their employees. Engaged employees are more productive, innovative, loyal and help recruit new talent. McDonald’s, for example, has set up communities for crew members where can gather, share information and talk. As a result, 70% of the employees said it made them feel better about the company and motivated them to come up with new ways to improve operations.  WOW – that’s employee engagement having a true business impact.

Digital Couponing will Skyrocket

With Google recently offering $6 billion for Groupon, it’s clear that digital couponing is hot. Groupon has close to 40 million subscribers just waiting to tell their friends about the latest local promotions. For the consumer packaged goods industry, digital coupons are providing significantly higher redemption rates and the ability to connect with their customers when and where they want to be met. Customers can quickly and easily redeem digital coupons using their mobile devices or by simply printing them out online. No more clipping and fuss – just satisfied customers that are more likely to keep coming back for more. If you’re a CPG marketer working to increase sales and loyalty or integrate mobile into your 2011 plans, a digital couponing strategy is a no-brainer.

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Moving Beyond Measuring Social ROI and Focusing on Real-Time Analytics

Marketers have been asking “how do I measure social media ROI?” for years while still applying traditional ad models to their reporting. But it’s not about CPC or the number of followers on Twitter – it’s about CPE (cost-per-engagement) and how you interact with followers to ultimately drive sales and influence brand reputation.

Since there’s no industry standard for measuring social ROI, organizations must set their own goals based on the specific business outcomes they want to achieve and then analyze progress in real time. The world of social moves fast – monthly analysis alone won’t cut it. Business intelligence and analytics solutions from companies like Radian6, Sysomos, or Crowd Factory can help marketers measure the real-time impact and make course corrections. In 2011, organizations that invest in these solutions will set the pace in their industries as competitors measuring results on a quarterly basis struggle to keep up and figure out what went wrong and why.

The Decline of Print Leads to the Rise of Corporate Journalists

If you’ve come across sites like Paper Cuts or my good friend Paul Gillin’s blog Newspaper Death Watch it’s pretty astounding to see the hits that the print industry has been taking over the past few years. Archaic business models have led to nearly 200 newspaper closings and buyouts and more than 20,000 newsroom employees being laid off since 2008.

But there’s hope for these journalists yet. I’ve been seeing more and more former reporters getting scooped up by big brands and agencies and put to work as content creators. With built-in readerships and unrivalled industry insights, I think 2011 will be the year of “corporate journalists” as organizations realize just how much of an impact these ex-journos can have on their brand reputation and industry thought leadership.

That’s my list – but now I’m interested in hearing from you. I hope you’ll connect with me on Twitter so we can talk about any of the unique opportunities or challenges you’ve faced in your industry. What are the trends and technologies on your mind?

Did you just discover this series? Don't worry! You can check out our last post, by Mike Troiano, here!