Trend #1: Recession Marketing
Expect a lot of marketing messaging related to the recession. Don’t be surprised to see lots of offers that “save you money” throughout the year. With fewer purchasing dollars available, how will your marketing message be distinctive and stand out?
Trend #2: Internet Marketing-palooza
Due to its cost-effectiveness and inherent measurability, expect many more small businesses to take Internet marketing seriously in 2009. This includes everything from email marketing, pay-per-click advertising and social networking, to increased investment in websites, micro sites and custom landing pages.
Trend #3: The Customer Voice
Customers are demanding a voice in your business, or they will seek alternative solutions. Think forums, blogs, crowd sourcing, feedback forms, etc. Want proof? Whereas in Q2 of 2007, 25 percent of the online audience called themselves “critics” contributing to the social media discussion, a year later this number jumped to 37 percent (Source: Forrester).
Trend #4: Video Marketing
Many studies show that adding videos to a website increases traffic and time-on-site. Look for a major increase in online videos in 2009. If your website does not yet have any videos, look to add them this year, but be sure that they are relevant and useful to your target audience. Look for interactive video technology in 2009, through which users can click on elements within the videos to be taken to associated content, micro sites and shopping carts.
Trend #5: Blogging
Look for blogging to continue its growth in 2009. The barriers to entry in blogging are so low, expect many more small businesses to launch their own blogs in the coming year.
Trend #6: Social Marketing
Small businesses have been relatively slow overall to embrace social marketing. With greater virtualization of social media and social networking websites, expect more small businesses to get involved in targeted environments where ROI will be easier to achieve.
Trend #7: Mobile Marketing
It feels like everyone has an iPhone or other similar type of digital mobile device these days. According to Nielsen, nearly 40 million people in the US access email on a mobile device. Mobile marketing will finally realize its potential in 2009, especially for local businesses such as restaurants, movie theaters and just about anyone targeting Generation Y.
Trend #8: Behavioral Targeting
Expect online ads to become behaviorally based. Many new behavioral advertising networks will become available in 2009, some serving dynamically generated images and messages based on each user’s online behavior.
Trend #9: Behavioral Analytics
Complementary to Trend #8, expect the world of measurement and web analytics to take a behavioral turn as well. This means measuring not only which pages people visit on your website, but more importantly why they do so.
Trend #10: Widget Marketing
Widgets (tiny, interactive Web applications) are relatively inexpensive to develop, and they can be an effective way to ensure that your customers spend more time with your brand on an ongoing basis. What widgets will you deploy in 2009 that will save your clients time, help them get things done, or simply provide them with useful information?
Trend #11: Innovation
With the recession will come a greater intensity of competition for the fewer available purchasing dollars. With this will bring a surge of creativity and innovation in the online marketing world. Do not let your competition out-innovate you.
Trend #12: Back-to-Basics Marketing
Expect less fluff in 2009, and more marketing messages about how companies solve problems for their customers. Be sure that you understand how your business solves real-world problems, and then clarify that in your marketing messaging.
Trend #13: Relationship Marketing
Companies will move towards a relationship-building model with their customers. The downturn in the economy means fewer new customers for a business. To address this, companies are going to need to focus on thrilling their existing customers and building longer-term relationships.
Trend #14: Verticalization
Verticalization is the natural progression of many marketing channels, providing marketers an opportunity to communicate with a highly targeted audience. For example, if you are a shoe designer or retailer, think ShoeTube.tv instead of YouTube.com. Expect verticalization in the online space in 2009.
Trend #15: Personalization
What customer wouldn’t prefer a customized product or solution vs. a generic, cookie-cutter version?
Trend #16: Multicultural Marketing
In the effort to uncover new audiences, many small businesses are going to realize the untapped potential of the Spanish-speaking market right here in the US.
Trend #17: Mixing Display Ads & Search Marketing
Multiple studies have found that by adding an online display ad campaign to a pay-per-click advertising campaign on the search engines, website traffic can double and conversions can increase significantly. This type of ROI cannot be ignored.
Trend #18: The Long Long Long Tail
Chris Anderson coined the phrase “The Long Tail” to describe the strategy of businesses (e.g., Netflix) that sell a large number of items, each in relatively small quantities. The long tail represents an opportunity for small businesses to capture segments and sub-segments of any market. With the economic downturn, expect the long tail to get much longer as small businesses go after narrower and narrower niches towards the end of the tail.
Trend #19: There’s No Place Like Home
With the growing unemployment numbers, expect a surge in home-based businesses and in mom entrepreneurs in 2009. Correspondingly, expect a surge in marketing directed at this segment of the market. If you can help these individuals be successful, start getting the word out now.
Trend #20: Speed
With the growth in entrepreneurship and home-based businesses, we can expect the speed at which these businesses respond to prospective customer inquiries to be fast. As such, small businesses that want to thrive in 2009 need to operate at lightning speeds and to have websites that fully serve the needs of their customers.
Is your business ready? Based on the above Internet marketing trends, explore and define ways that your small business can leverage the opportunities in the upcoming marketing landscape so that your company grows and you achieve your 2009 business objectives.