Here is our annual take on the year ahead:
Mobile (Smartphone and Tablets) will become main stream and the primary way many consumers interact with brands. Morgan Stanley is projecting that Apple will sell 190 million iPhones and 81 million iPads in 2012. Companies must have a specific mobile strategy with content optimized for the format and integrated with your broader marketing initiatives. Mobile can no longer be treated as an isolated channel or a “nice to have”; it will become a primary way to speak to customers and prospects.
Email marketing will lessen in effectiveness over time as spam and list overuse begins to wear on consumers who have inbox fatigue. Because it can be cheap to deploy, email is often a marketer’s main tool to get out their sales messages. However, many of the messages contain little relevant value for customers.
Consumers’ attention span for content is getting shorter and shorter. This has broad implications for anyone producing online video, webcasts, blog posts and white papers. Content needs to be of high quality and quickly get to the point where it delivers value to the viewer or reader.
Social media content will come under greater scrutiny from companies looking for a tangible financial return. Much effort has been expended distributing content over Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Linked In etc. Companies will be taking a harder look at the payback from these efforts. Managing social media content and engagement will become a more formalized job in many organizations; and social media analytic tools will become more valuable.
Apple will release a TV before the 2012 holidays that will incorporate iTunes and AirPort WiFi and be controlled through your iPhone or iPad. It will be the first step towards reinventing the device. They will need to work with existing cable/satellite providers as they do with the record companies/studios to offer programming.
The war between Google, Apple and Facebook to control the web/mobile experience will heat up even more in 2012. Google will release a Droid version of Siri, and both platforms will not work as well as advertised.
Facebook will start to struggle after their monster IPO as it becomes clear they are a one trick pony in terms of revenue. After much fanfare Google + will become a niche service used by social media “experts” who will use to tell each other how much they love Google +.
So called “new media stocks” will continue to struggle, especially Groupon. The daily deal model will look much less lucrative by the end of 2012. Vendors will grow weary of offing deals and consumers will turn off from offers that are not relevant to them.
Celebrity culture and reality TV shows will only get stronger in 2012 as scripted shows struggle to gain a wide audience. NBC will continue to struggle with the exception of America’s Got Talent. The addition of Howard Stern as a judge will make it a consistent top ten show.
The economy will improve steadily throughout the year with the Dow hitting 13,500 by September, though unemployment will stay above 8%. By mid summer the Occupy movement will be long forgotten though occasional protests may pop up at the national political conventions. The Tea Party will run out of steam and have much less influence in the 2012 elections.
Mitt Romney will win the GOP nomination and beat Pres Obama in a very close election. The Republicans will also win the Senate and hold the House completing a reversal of the 2008 election. After all the bluster about social media, the election will be mostly played out on TV with a barrage of negative and misleading ads from both sides and interest groups. Romney will attack Obama’s record and some of the claims may actually be true, though not many. Obama will blame all ills on the Republican House, rich people (not including those in Hollywood), George Bush and Fox News ignoring the fact he has been President for four years. The final results will closely mirror the 2004 election.
The San Francisco 49ers will win the 2012 Super Bowl in February. They are one of the few teams that still plays defense and that will carry them to an unlikely championship.
Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.