With the year still young, and given some of the blows already dealt to marketers by Ebay, where are the profitable trends in marketing?
Given the recent massive growth in social networking on the internet, always the province of the young and now rapidly spanning the entire generation gap, and the possibility (for those that can afford it) of personalized advertising the individualization of marketing strategies seems key.
It has often been the practice of large business to distance itself from its customer base behind impersonal corporate persona. However, increasingly companies have come to recognize the value of a more individualized approach to marketing and the development of a personal approach. Therefore we are likely to see more and more “corporate bloggers”. Indeed the traditional concept of the niche market may become ever more competitive for the small time entrepreneur as more powerful organisations are able to target ever narrower markets.
It is the potential for marketing via social media that appears to be the underlying trend for most marketers today. The growth in the use of Widget Marketing seems set to continue and the importance of effective SMO (social Media Optimization) will never have been greater for marketing strategists.
Widgets are portable chunks of code that can be installed and executed within any separate html-based web page enabling marketers to export promotions to any other site. The possible benefits for product launches and introductory packages are profound as the marketer will increasingly be able to use partner sites with established traffic volume as a quick boost for there own. Whilst it will be important to carefully monitor where your widgets end up (you might not want them on a porn site) they may well be of use for those offering a quick introduction to a product.
Further more SMO including the use of RSS feeds and, ‘Digg this’ buttons and blogging in general will increasingly be used,. Not only by the smaller niche marketer either, but also by the larger corporations seeking to deliver the “personal touch”. Coupled with the use of widgets and increasingly large traffic exposure SMO could change from simply being a useful element Search Engine Optimization to being a distinct marketing strategy.
Contribution of content to the web, spurred on by the exponential growth of social media, will progressively elevate the importance of human collated searches. Whilst I am not for one moment suggesting that organic searching is redundant the ability of individuals to recommend brands, favourite searches and top rated sites and then to distribute them widely offers the marketer new opportunities.
With increasingly massive volumes of content online, simply creating content sites and then trying to promote using traditional methods is going to become more difficult. Competition in all sectors is set for continued growth. Therefore it is possible to see that broadcasting you content via RSS feeds, video blogs and podcasts will be an ever more valuable asset to the marketer in the future. Individuals are personalizing their searches and subscribing to the feeds they want rather than occasionally chasing content. Regular delivery as well as quality will be important.
On a personal note I have to say that the phenomenal desire for individuals to live out their lives on the internet is beyond me. It seems to me to be an entirely ego driven exercise fraught with the utmost danger. However as a marketer, sites like Facebook, MySpace, Flickr and Second Life clearly present a massive marketing prospect. The online identity is almost a prerequisite for social inclusion theses days and peer groups are formed entirely in cyberspace.
I am in no way suggesting that any marketer should ever consider lying about their identity but certainly developing a varied and rich internet persona could well be a boon to any marketing campaign.
Ian is co-founder and CEO of profitable-niche-marketing-business.com. With a background in financial services, Ian is now a full time internet marketer and lives on the South Coast of England with his wife and two children.