10 Marketing Tech Predictions for 2010

2010-PredictionsI’m a total nut for tech predictions. Love ’em. Not only does it get me excited about the future of technology, it warms my marketer’s heart. Every new tech channel represents a new way for marketers to communicate with their target audience. And for people to discover brands and solutions that they actually want.

Since I primarily write about tech trends that affect marketers, here are my:

The Words + Pictures = Web
10 Marketing | Tech Predictions for 2010

1. Widgets and Apps Will Explode
Yes, we saw a pretty big year for Apps, thanks to the iTunes store servicing the iPhone and iTouch. But with Android and Kindle and even HP having stores, we’re going to see a big, fast expansion of useful apps. And people will want these apps to synchronize across devices and platforms.
What it means for marketers: A lot. Brands that create useful apps will see adoption rates soar. It doesn’t matter if it’s branded. If people need something, they will use it. If it happens to keep your brand top of mind, well, then good for you.

2. Web Analytics Will Improve
Every marketing initiative needs to have some sort of measurable ROI. Without a strong analytic package, you can’t tell what works and what doesn’t. The tools that we use are probably (hopefully) going to get better now that Adobe owns Omniture. Even free packages like Google Analytics are getting better, which pushes paid solutions like WebTrend and Omniture to innovate to remain competitive. Expect to see better tools for measuring Flash.
What it means for marketers: Good news for marketers who like numbers. Now, you will have even more numbers.

3. Microsoft Will Strike Back
Signs of life are bubbling up again from Redmond. Microsoft took a beating from Google, which has reinvigorated their competitive spirit. Bing is turning out to be a pretty decent search engine, which is encouraging for search marketers.
What it means for marketers: Microsoft is serious about making money in search, so they are actively courting search marketers. We’re already seeing them push Google to release new features, which is good for everyone. If you are using search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns, you can expect more options from Bing. And from Google, who will continue to maintain their lead.

4. Tech Will Move Off the Desktop
In recent years, everything has been focused on the desktop. But powerful mobile tools have changed the way we interact with websites. The traditional desktop will survive 2010, but it won’t be the only way people interact with the web.
What it means for marketers: It means that every new device — from the Kindle to the television — is now a new channel to communicate with customers. Smart marketers will be putting messages everywhere.

5. Newspapers Will Slip Further
Okay, this one is almost a little mean. Like teasing the short fat kid in school for being, well, short and fat. But newspapers are going to slip even more rapidly than they did in 2009. In the end, it’s likely that we’ll end up with a few national papers (like USA Today), a few regional papers (like New York Times), and maybe a few weekly local papers.
What it means for marketers: It’s a mixed bag. If you have a good PR team, you can get a story on the wires and have it syndicate to a lot of readers. That’s very encouraging. But with fewer reporters and papers, it’s going to get harder to get some ink. With less print out there, it will get a little more challenging to communicate with older demographics.

6. Mobile Marketing Will Get Sophisticated
We’ve been marketing to mobile devices for years now. Some agencies are quite good at it, but sadly, many more are not. Most mobile marketing is pretty lame. This year we’ll see the good agencies roll out marketing campaigns that make full use of mobile devices. Right now, mobile marketing is still rather simple. Look for more sophisticated and personalized applications.
What it means to marketers: It means that mobile content and incentives will need to be formatted for multiple screens. Don’t expect users to wait for your massive homepage to load.

7. Electronic Coupons Will Become Location Aware
Everybody loves a good discount. But if you forget your coupon at home, you may wait until the next trip to the store before you make a purchase. That’s a missed opportunity for brands. Many new devices have location-based software, so more marketers will figure out how to use this for offering coupons and incentives at just the right moment….like when they’re in close proximity to a store.
What it means for marketers: More sales and happier customers. Also, brick and mortar stores will star to win back customers from online shoppers.

8. Content Marketing Will Matter Again
Traditional media is slipping fast. That doesn’t mean people don’t need content. People want to know more about the product you sell, but also about how your product compares in the category. Content marketing will mean that your content must be fresh and vital for your target. Set it and forget it? Forget that. Write more content and make sure it’s formatted properly for the channel.
What it means for marketers: Make friends with a good copywriter. Try to tap them for ideas on how to update websites and other resources, so that your are providing proactive content for your audience.

9. Social Media Marketing Will Mature
Over the last few years, social media channels have become an effective way to connect people and products. But as the audience grows and diversifies, Facebook (and other social channels) will offer more mature and measurable ways to talk to targets. Banner ads? Sure, for certain awareness campaigns. But also look for more powerful fan-page types of services that give more flexibility and power to the brand.
What it means for marketers: Social media is probably going to get more expensive, but you’ll get more for your dollars.

10. New Hardware Will Change Brand Messaging
Kindles, iPhones, and the eagerly anticipated Apple tablet will give us new and interesting ways to tell people about our brands. But as the hardware becomes more powerful, it takes longer to figure out how to truly use it effectively. Initially, we just mash up existing technologies with new technologies (look it’s video…and now it’s on an iPhone!). New hardware will give us some immediate and measurable ways to deliver messages. But this year we’re going to peel back another layer to these devices, and discover new applications and opportunities.
What it means for marketers: Figure out how your message scales to new hardware before the competition figures it out first.

So there you go. Those are some of the tech trends that I believe will affect marketers in 2010. I’m sure I’ve missed a few things, but now you know what sort of stuff I’ll be working on this year.

Did I miss anything? Let me know your thoughts.

Auto-Tuning the News

Latest ‘Net rage: Auto-tuning.

It’s goofy stuff. But it shows how the age of mashups and sharing has enabled some small, random audio technique to explode into a pop culture sensation.

If you’re a marketer or advertiser, you should be asking yourself how you can leverage this temporary fad.

If you look at the embedded video, you’ll see that Progressive Insurance is placing a pre-roll ad (at least they were when I posted this).

I don’t know if the Progressive ad drives clicks and conversions to their website, but at least they were quick enough (and smart enough) to jump into this early. You don’t necessarily have to create the next Internet viral video (you would if you could), but sometimes you can just leverage the opportunity to tap into those eyeballs.

McCloud Talks Tech on TED

Scott McCloud is a comic book creator who wrote a brilliant book called “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art,” which is an amazing read, even if you don’t like comics. He masterfully breaks down the medium so that it becomes clear why comics connect with the brain to communicate stories.

A few years back, McCloud gave a talk at TED (Technology Entertainment Design), which is an annual conference in California. Not only is McCloud a smart guy who knows a lot about comics, technology, and science…he’s a terrific presenter.

Check out this video as he discusses how comic books and computers are evolving to leverage new technology. Good stuff. It’s especially compelling considering the implosion of traditional print publishing.

Funemployment – Fun for the unemployed

As the recession drags on, more people I know are losing their jobs. It’s sad and scary, especially for people who have children to support.

But apparently, it’s not all gloom and doom for the unemployed. Some people are calling themselves “funemployed.” That is, if they’re going to be unemployed, they’re still going to have some fun.

Here’s an quote from the LA Times:
For the ‘funemployed,’ unemployment is welcome
These jobless folks, usually singles in their 20s and 30s, find that life without work agrees with them. Instead of punching the clock, they’re hitting the beach.

I have a friend who has been out of work for two months now. He’s single with no kids,  a low mortgage, and COBRA benefits. He saved his money carefully and plans to take his time looking for work…after the summer. He looks relaxed and happy for someone without a job.

So, even though a lay off can be difficult, I hope that people can still manage to have a good summer and enjoy the time off. Have some fun, you’ll be back to work soon.

LINKS, NOT NECESSARILY ENDORSEMENTS:

The Funemployment Blog
Get Funemployed!

LeapFrog PDA – Stress Training for Tots

Attention, Parents!

Mildly disturbing, totally logical, and unbelievably cheap. It’s…the LeapFrog PDA.

LeapFrog PDA for Kids

LeapFrog PDA for Kids

Yup. Now you’re kid can have that same “I’m here, but I also have one eye on email” type of tortured always-on-call existence. Just like you.

In fact, when you whip our your Blackberry to respond to an email, now you can feel better saying, “well, she checked her LeapFrog first…”

This summer, your child’s last carefree moments are now as doomed as analog televisions. And not a minute too soon. It’s about time your three-year-old starts to deal with work-related stress. Starting…now.

If you’re a good parent, you’ll subscribe him to RSS feeds (including my blog). Never too soon to start the child on a path of non-stop media consumption and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Better yet, your child can begin practicing valuable Blackberry skills including:

  • Half listening & nodding
  • Speed scrolling
  • Thumb typing
  • Sneak-peeking at incoming messages (at meetings and red lights, only!)

Hurry. Act now. Don’t let your child to fall behind on a single email message!

LINKS, NOT NECESSARILY ENDORSEMENTS:

My Dear John to Kindle 2

Dear Kindle 2,

Hey, baby, I love you, you know that right? So as I write this, please know that my love for you is undying. You were my first eBook reader, and everyone remembers their “first.”

I am in love with another. And like a bad romance novel…I love your sister, Kindle DX.

Now, before you freak out and delete all my eBooks, I want you to remember that I DO love you. (And, quite frankly, I paid for those books and I am planning to transfer them to DX as soon as she’s available this summer.)

Kindle DXYour sister Kindle DX…where do I start? I fell in love the first time her picture was leaked on CNet.

She’s thin and white, just like you. I can see the family resemblance. But she’s tall and really easy on the eyes, if you know what I mean.

And compared to your perfectly acceptable QWERTY keyboard, her ergonomically cute button keyboard seems so…I don’t know…futuristically relevant? Is futuristically even a word? I will have to check my Kindlictionary. Yes, good. Words matter.

Anyway, DX does things for me that you just refuse to do. And I have needs.

For example, DX supports PDF right out of the box. You may not think it’s a big deal to convert to PDF, but…she just knows how to do it automatically. I don’t even have to ask.

Speaking of needs, she can rotate my images just like my Apple iTouch. And while you hold an impressive 1,500 books…she’s deep enough to accommodate 3,500 books. I don’t know why that matters…since I don’t even have that many books…but I guess I am just impressed by girth.

Well, that’s it. Please don’t hate me. I do not hate you. I just found someone I like better. Don’t dwell on the fact that she’s younger than you.

There are so many things I will cherish about our relationship. And until DX comes out, I’d like us to remain “friends with benefits” okay?

Fondly forever,

Buddy Scalera
http://www.buddyscalera.com

More Kindle blogging by me:

LINKS, NOT NECESSARILY ENDORSEMENTS

2001: Meet Dave – Video Remix

In a recent post, I offered up a video that showed how you can re-edit a movie like Mary Poppins into a trailer for a horror movie.

Well, one eagle-eyed blog reader sent me a link for the mashup remix video “2001: Meet Dave.”

Specifically, someone remixed 2001: A Space Odyssey into a trailer for a comedy film. They had to dub in some dialogue from “Dave,” an actual comedy flick, to make it work. But it really does look like a lightweight slapstick comedy that you might rent on DVD.

It illustrates how music is essential for setting tone and mood in a creative work.

Check it out:

2001: Meet Dave from Bastetta on Vimeo.

Links…Not Necessarily Endorsements:

Scary Mary Movie Trailer

One of the most effective forms of promotion is the movie trailer. It’s played to the target audience (moviegoers) in the perfect arena (the theater) to tease and excite them to return next week for more fun.

Most trailers are pretty clear, right? Music and visuals pull together a one to two minute preview of the kind of flick opening next week.

Some creative folks have taken a slightly different approach. They’ve remixed classic movies to appear like totally different films…all based on the trailer.

My favorite is this remix of “Mary Poppins” called, you guessed it, “Scary Mary.” Check it out and see how small changes to text and music completely change this G-rated Disney classic into something ominous and tense.

Creative mashups like this are all over YouTube. If you’re a professional marketer, check ’em out and see how little tweaks to your campaign can have a major effect.

Interesting Links….Not Necessarily Endorsements:

Don’t Sue Me, I’m Just a Blogger

Some day, I may write a scathing, irony-laced blog posting that draws the ire and fury of some individual or business. It’s not likely, mind you, but it could happen.

Maybe I need MediaGuard blog insurance, which is now being offered by Chubb Specialty Insurance. Nope, I’m not making this up. This, my dear readers, is a sign of modern times.

Y’see, community generated content doesn’t have a big corporate sponsor backing it up. So if a politician is angry at how an article was written, there are ways to address those concerns. The political party can threaten to pull their advertising from a newspaper…but that’s not really going to scare a blogger. Or they can threaten to sue the media organization.

Right now, here in North Jersey, we’re watching a blog-saga unfold in real time, as a prominent political figure is suing a citizen for things that she’s written in her blog. Check out: Free speech, thin skin and cyberspace and 80 take speech fight to streets from our daily newspaper, the Record.

In the case of a newspaper or media outlet, they may have lawyers on staff. If not, there are plenty of corporate lawyers in the yellow pages. Media moguls have a budget and can fight a lawsuit, if they so choose.

But what if you blogged something that someone didn’t like? Do you have the funds to defend yourself against a lawsuit?

Which, of course, brings us to our MediaGuard insurance.

Nowadays, bloggers are no longer just technogeeks who have the ability to understand web development. Nope, blogging takes little technical ability to get started. As a result, there are lots of really influential and important blogs out there that generate lots of traffic and attention. Blogs like the Huffington Post and Perez Hilton get more traffic than some newspapers have readers.

A mention on one of those sites…good or bad…can have a effect on someone’s career. And, of course, that alone could make someone want to sue them. Or you.

Blogger insurance. It sounds funny today, but will you need it tomorrow?

My First Self-Published eBook for Kindle

I’ve officially entered the eBook age. As an author, I have published my first eBook for the Kindle. Gimme a big “whoo hoo!”

To explore the technology, I wanted to get something up there on the Kindle store. So I took the complete scripts for my comic book series “7 Days to Fame,” reformatted it, created a Kindle account, and published it on Amazon.com.

7 Days to Fame eBook cover

7 Days to Fame eBook cover

Check out my 7 Days to Fame – The Complete Scripts eBook for the Kindle. It sells for a whopping 99 cents.

To be honest, it wasn’t very hard to reformat for the Kindle. Mostly it just came down to reformatting for the smaller screen and checking for bad line breaks and hiccups in the code. Just a few hours of work and now it’s done.

This isn’t the first time I was part of an eBook. There’s a transcript of a podcast interview that I did a few years ago with Paula Berinstein called Writing Comic Books: A Writing Show Interview and I was a technical consultant on the photo book Artist’s Digital Photo Reference – Landscapes.

But for me, this is much more fun, since I actually did the reformatting myself and published it. It’s…addictive.