“In Search of Twenty-Ten Vision”
Marketing Predictions for the year(s) ahead…
By Brett Lloyd Abbott, MYM Austin Inc.
I’m sure you recall that “20-20 vision” is how doctors refer to “normal vision” This means that what you see at 20 feet is the same as what a “normal” person sees at 20 feet. Well, I’m not into “being normal.” I want “20-10 vision.” I want to see at 20 feet what the normal or average person can’t see beyond 10 feet. And that’s where our focus (no pun intended) needs to be right now. In the year of Twenty-Ten, we should all be striving for 20-10 vision.
Naturally, with this new decade upon us, there are plenty of marketing pontificators and prognosticators telling us “what’s changing in 2010 and beyond.” You’re probably hearing about “social media” and “mobile apps” and “Google wave” and “multichannel reach” and the long predicted “demise of the Yellow Pages.” At the risk of sounding like another pontificating prognosticator, let me share with you my vision of 2010. (Again, no pun intended.)
First, let me describe what I see as four major overriding societal trends that are currently driving human attitudes and habits. Then we’ll talk about how your marketing strategies and tactics need to change to deal with these societal changes.
SINCERITY: After 40 years of self-indulgent ad-speak, platitudes, hype and hyperbole, our younger generations (and older generations too) have figured out that when it comes to advertising, “It’s all a bunch of crap. You can’t trust the self promoters, so don’t even bother listening to them.” Would you care to take a wild guess as to why Facebook and the entire field of social networking is so wildly popular today? (If you guessed “Sincerity” and “No ad speak,” then congratulations.) Don’t be fake. People want to know the real you.
DISDAIN: With such a consummate desire and quest for sincerity, our new generations have developed a very low tolerance for B.S. They are highly connected, and when they get the sense they’re being lied to or ripped off, they strike back with a vengeance. On Facebook; on Skype; on Yelp.com; on Twitter; on Angie’s List; on Complaints.com, and about a thousand other places. And now, with the new ‘SideWiki’ from Google, your disillusioned prospects can share their derisive comments about you and your company directly on your own website.. Are we getting nervous yet?
SPEED: Forgive the trite sounding nature of this, but in truth, “everything is getting faster.” The new generation cell phones have brought a world of information and access to our fingertips, no matter where we are, or what time of day or night. These phones are not only faster and more powerful than desktop computers of a few years ago, but they’re also more intelligent. Right now, you can literally point your cell phone at the outside of a storefront, and instantly read on-line reviews of what other people think of that business. (Thank you Google street view.) Talk about instant decision-making ability!
“What’s hot” is changing fast too. MySpace — all the rage just three years ago, is all but dead. And now rumors abound that the demise of Twitter is imminent. (Yes, I know, you haven’t even signed up for your Twitter account yet. Like I said, things are moving fast.) The science and art of Search Engine Optimization is also moving at warp speed. Some of the stuff we were doing a year ago is already obsolete. And some of the stuff you learned in a seminar last month will be obsolete by Christmas. SEO is going to require a substantially larger investment of time and money in order to keep up the pace.
COMPLEXITY: The tragic paradox here is that all these tools and technology that make our life simpler are getting increasingly difficult to implement. Do you recall the pain you had the last time you upgraded your computer? (Perhaps that explains why two generations later, most PC users still prefer Windows XP.) Today, you’ll feel the simple-complexity paradox when you try to initiate your new super-simple Google-based Android smart phone. People are spending days, weeks and even months trying to figure out how to set up their e-mail, calendar and contacts. And there are so many applications available that they now have apps to control and manage your apps. (!!!)
So, with that insight of what’s happening with our society, what does our 20-10 vision tell us we should be doing in the year 2010? Without going into detail, let me share a few guidelines which should help you see the road ahead. (I’ll offer more insight on some of these in a future newsletter.)
Websites – It’s more important than ever. It continues to grow in importance as other media shrink. It’s also an ideal venue to offer simple solutions and demonstrate your sincerity.
Search Engine Optimization – It too is more important than ever. (People want easy successful searches.) And this too will leave you in the dust if you ignore it too long.
Value – As important as ever. No one wants to waste money, regardless of whether the recession is over or not.
Social media – Get on board. It’s changing fast, but the longer you wait, the harder it will be to catch up. Start by creating your own Facebook pages – one for you, and one for your company. Connect with some friends. Then get on Linked-In.
Mobile – People will increasingly communicate with you through their mobile phone, though not by voice. You’ll need to make sure your website and e-mail communications are mobile-phone-friendly.
“Branding” – This old marketing paradigm is not so much “a goal” anymore, as it is a result of the socially connected world around you. Here, the smartest thing you can do is pay close attention to your customers and prospects, and respond overwhelmingly in their favor when something goes wrong. (Otherwise, you will be “flamed.”)
Multi-channel Advertising – All of your advertising efforts should be driving people to your website, where they get all the answers and details they’re looking for, and more.
Direct mail – Still a good medium for reaching targeted prospects, but it needs to be part of a multichannel strategy.
Print advertising – Diminishing effectiveness, as Yellow Pages and even newspapers go the way of the dinosaur. EXCEPTION: Selected magazines such as “Luxury Pools” or “The Home Mag” can still be effective, provided you’re a good fit for that target market.
Ad speak / Platitudes – This is poison. Avoid it at all costs.
So again, if you want to have 20-10 vision for the year 2010, then pay close attention to these unstoppable trends, and let the recommendation above be your guide.
To your success,
2010 Brett Lloyd Abbott / MYM Austin Inc. May not be used without permission.