Outtakes: What’s the Next Big Thing in Marketing?

In January’s cover story, “The Big Qs of 2011,” 10 of the brightest minds in marketing gave us their take on what’s going on in the industry right now. But the problem with such a wide-ranging article is that we can seldom synthesize all the responses into a coherent article, and good information gets left out. You may have wondered, for example, “Why didn’t they ask any of these prognosticators what will be ‘The Next Big Thing’?”

Many, let’s call them “forward-looking statements,” were made by our panelists, but their visions were so varied that it was impossible to point readers toward any conclusions, or even toward what Big Q they should start asking about the potential next big things.

That doesn’t mean those predictions weren’t interesting. Here are some of the things our experts picked to be game-changers in 2011 and beyond.

Real-Time Marketing
Gary S. Laben, CEO, KBM Group, Dallas, Texas

The combination of interacting with customers through digital and social media channels—which largely happen immediately in real time—combined with using customer insights based on data analytics [that allow us] to forecast when, how and where to deliver what the customer wants, will be the ultimate in providing customers with what they want, when they want it.

The multiple channels of communication now available and how quickly they are emerging and changing presents us, and our clients, with huge opportunities for creative customer engagement. The challenge is to move quickly to test new channels, evaluate their effectiveness and modify marketing plans to include those that work. All digital is direct, and all direct is moving toward digital.

Video Ads for Direct Marketing
Eric Schmitt, executive vice president and senior principle, Allant Professional Services Group, Naperville, Ill.

The most exciting developments in direct marketing right now are happening online, on TV and on your mobile phone … The principles that people like Lester Wunderman and David Ogilvy laid down decades ago are finally beginning to take root in digital media.

Addressable and interactive video advertising will arrive at scale and in spades in 2011. Bringing efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability to video advertising is a good candidate for 2011 focus for many marketing organizations. … Marketers are increasingly looking to bring the principles of direct marketing (measurability, LTV, attribution, data integration, interaction management) to the Internet and TV.

Mobile & Local
Ashley Johnston, vice president of marketing services, Experian Marketing Services Costa Mesa, Calif.

We see mobile marketing at the forefront and will work to help our clients more effectively integrate that channel into the mix.

Keith Goodman, vice president of corporate solutions, Modern Postcard, Carlsbad, Calif.

Mobile marketing: It really is in the hands of the consumer at this point. Either they will or won’t accept it. I believe a significant factor in the acceptance of mobile marketing will have to do with the business models of the telcos and whether they adjust their plans to facilitate cost-free messaging to the consumer. Also, whether or not the consumer sees mobile messaging as a violation of privacy, similar to the reaction to SPAM.

Laben, KBM Group.

Mobile will figure more and more in transactions with customers, and where they are geographically at a given moment of communication–for example, receiving a coupon via a smart-phone app while they’re in a store.

… Think of Facebook or the multitude of phone apps, which connect consumers with businesses in the context of where they are and what they are doing. … Consumers engage and transact locally. What’s relevant is no longer bound by continent, country, ZIP code or block. It’s you–wherever you are at that moment, in that very location, with that very mindset. We can manage customer relationships on a global platform, but they must be activated in the local context. Now THAT is exciting!

Thorin McGee is editor-in-chief and content director of Target Marketing and oversees editorial direction and product development for the magazine, website and other channels.
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