2012 marketing trends – predictions please

2012 is set to be the year of in-depth customer insight, according to econsultancy. While 2011 was characterised by incremental upgrades rather than the introduction of groundbreaking marketing platforms (think of Panda updates and social networking revamps in the form of Facebook’s overhaul, as well as Twitter’s development into a full-blown advertising platform), the next twelve months will apparently see marketers gaze directly into the eyes, thoughts and whims of the customer, and tailor their online strategies accordingly.

While discounting is as important a marketing tool as ever, savvier brands will now endeavour to try and understand at a fundamentally human level what it is that drives consumers to buy their products.

This will be achieved in two ways. The first is that those businesses that have already sought to produce a “single, complete view of their customers” across all operating platforms will collate that data and apply econometric models to it in order to extract a tangible review of real-time sales, and create solutions as seen fit.

The second is that brands will pay more attention to industry level customer research, as well as their own CRM feedback, in order to gain an organic (and therefore more valuable) overview of their customer base.

Tracking consumer behaviour will also be facilitated by new technologies. In theory, the continued economic hardship that’s forecasted for brick-and-mortar stores over the next year will be assuaged by intelligent digital strategising. Near field communication technology now means that brands can gage the effect that their online marketing is directly having on in-store sales.

Moreover, the growth of hyperlocal marketing means that the individual can be targeted on a personal scale in real-life scenarios like never before – in other words, there are incentives to think outside the box.

Meanwhile, the pursuit of alternative online marketing strategies may come about with the prediction that Facebook will fail to fulfil its role as a one-stop-shop-for-everything. The company’s previous dalliance with commerce imploded rather spectacularly (if a little quietly, which characterised the Facebook Deals venture quite succinctly), while it would be dangerous – and lazy – to presume that the recent upgrades announced at F8 and launched at the end of 2011 will automatically engender the opening of significant revenue streams simply because a user can say, “I just bought this product”.

The market for e-commerce businesses, then, is as open as ever. Not only that, online technologies will facilitate a more streamlined business model that should see improved in-store sales as well.

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