The coming year will be a year of evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, change for digital marketers. While we don’t foresee any big bangs coming in 2011, the impact of ongoing systemic change will force digital marketers to move quickly to adapt their toolsets. For our clients – whether in education, consumer packaged goods, financial services or personal insurance – the focus has shifted from simply reaching customers to maintaining and nurturing a relationship, across all available platforms.
We’re betting on these five trends in 2011:
Fewer players, better leads: With legislation under consideration to more closely regulate the for-profit education lead generation space, the number of viable lead generators will shrink, leading to more qualified leads being generated by fewer players. This change in the education vertical will ripple across other industries, with the elimination of deceptive marketing tactics making more room for companies that are honestly generating leads. DMi Partners has already noticed this contraction with some of its education clients, who have noted that they are scaling back the quantity of lead partners they are working with in order to take a more streamlined and protected approach to lead generation.
Google will own search engine marketing for good: Yahoo and MSN’s search merger in 2010 was a last ditch effort to take on Google, the long-time bully of the pay-per-click space. Unfortunately for them, it’s proving to not be enough, and 2011 will be the year in which Yahoo and MSN finally bow out of the PPC game. After making a splash at launch, Bing failed to capture the market share Microsoft was hoping for, and with Google continuing to improve its search product with developments such as Google Instant, this is a race that Yahoo and MSN can’t win.
The death of Flash: Much like Google vs. Yahoo/MSN, Apple vs. Adobe is not quite a fair fight. With Apple rejecting Flash on its mobile platforms, Adobe’s Flash is taking a serious hit. To compound this blow, the release of HTML 5 is providing an alternative that many creative types are discovering makes Flash even more irrelevant. Flash’s last hope is as a video content delivery medium, and unless they make nice with Apple, that might not be enough to hang on.
Call-verified leads on the rise: Telemarketing has been around almost as long as telephony, and it’s not going anywhere. In fact, it has recently experienced a resurgence as a verification tool for online leads – a space in which DMi Partners has emerged as a market leader. Leads that are verified by phone are worth more than raw online leads, and the technology to verify these leads is getting cheaper by the day. On top of this, the mobile phone market grows everyday as the younger generation abandons landlines. The result is more people having their phone on them at all times, increasing contact and verification rates.
Apps, apps, everywhere: Apps are becoming a big business, and 2011 will be the Year of the App. The smartphone market is surging with strong sales of the iPhone and Android-equipped phones, but apps aren’t just for phones anymore. Apple is bringing the immensely popular App Store to Macs, making it possible to buy apps developed by the massive pool of third party developers on laptops and desktops, not just iPhones and iPods. And as Google continues to penetrate the software and OS market with Android and Chrome, their app downloads will continue to swell in 2011. In addition, the popularity of more location-aware applications represents the ultimate coup for retail marketers. That dream of your phone being pinged with coupons as you walk past a business’ storefront will finally become a reality in 2011 – customer, retailer, and marketer win!
Patrick McKenna, is CEO of DMi Partners. Founded in 2003, DMi Partners is a Performance Marketing Agency that delivers real, tangible results for clients through the development and implementation of digital marketing programs.