Digital Media Predictions for 2009

  • 07 Apr 2009 00:08
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The Recession Incited Consumers to Use Social Technologies. Humans tend to be social creatures, and they will band together during difficult times. This same behavior can be seen during financial crises: People communicate, share, learn and communicate with one another. With unemployment at record levels, people with internet access have more time and more need to connect with others. This is evident in the 350,000,000 global Facebook users. It's worth noting that Razorfish's study shows that 52% of consumers have written reviews about brands' products or experiences. This is the preferred way of communicating with young people, and it will not change as the recession eases.
 
Some brands followed suit with social marketing. Marketing budgets are squeezed during difficult times. According to eMarketer, companies are cutting print budgets by 37% while TV is down by 21% in response the recession. Marketers know that even tough times can be a catalyst for innovation. They experiment with new mediums like social marketing. Social marketing promises higher returns and lower costs. Word-of-mouth marketing encourages consumers to market the brand on their own. However, despite this opportunity, research by the Altimeter Group and Wetpaint showed that brands such as Starbucks, Dell, eBay, and Google interact with customers more than most. We are still seeing an increase in social media marketing budgets as brands look for innovative marketing strategies.
 
Social networks share data, spreading social influence. Social networks connecting with other systems is a key trend in the technology vendor market for 2009. Many social networks are creating similar programs to Apple's iPhone developer program, which allows third parties to create and modify new apps. LinkedIn is an example of a social network that allows third-party sites to connect to the LinkedIn platform to share data. Facebook Connect also allows users to log in to third-party sites with their Facebook ID. Since last year, there have been more than 80,000 connections. What does all this data availability mean? This means that consumers' social experiences will be spread across sites and that they can access recommendations, opinions, and experiences of their friends wherever they are online and offline.
 
Share real-time data with consumers to help them move faster. Heather Armstrong, a blogger with over a million Twitter followers, was annoyed by a poor customer experience in August 2009 and tweeted about it. Whirlpool responded in a matter of hours but the damage was done. Armstrong's immediate feedback about the experience she had with the company spread quickly through her network. Status updates, which allow customers to share their experiences in real-time, are becoming a popular feature on Twitter and other social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Twitter recently signed a deal with Microsoft's Bing to give Google and Microsoft access to its real-time data. This allows Twitter to display real-time tweets alongside traditional search results. What is the effect of this real-time data increase? This allows consumers to instantly share feedback and recommendations about their product experiences with their friends. It means that brands have to be more responsive to consumers sharing their experiences.
 
Takeaway This year, consumers are faster and more connected than brands. Senior marketers must learn from the past in order to plan for the future. These four trends show that people are sharing and connecting with one another at a faster pace. It is important for brands to have a strategy and plan in place to react to the latest technology. To help you plan your strategy, we'll be discussing the top trends in 2010.

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Joe Dilley By, Joe Dilley
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