Claire Cooper

2010 Digital Predictions

Just in case you haven't read enough predictions for 2010, here are some more to whet your digital palette. But unlike the others, this features the opinions of some of my tweeps'; top people in the industry that I am lucky enough to follow and collaborate with on Twitter.

Twitter seemed to be a sensible and fertile place to start my research, since it was indeed the digital darling of 2009.

The question is who and what will be the shining stars of 2010?

@MarkPollard's (Mark Pollard, Strategy Director at McCann Sydney) is excited about the development of personal network recommendations that he believes ‘lie in waiting'.

"I'm really interested in the changing face of recommendation. A few years ago, a visit to eBay or TripAdvisor would see you quickly getting a feel for the types of feedback people left and, more or less, accepting a lot of stranger recommendations, feedback and suggestions at face value. But, now, if you visit those websites, you may need to trawl through not only a lot of stuff, but a lot of crap stuff to work out your own opinion on something. I went through this recently trying to plan a trip to Hawaii. There was just so much 'consumer review' noise, and a lot of websites haven't built in clear, compelling status systems that show which members' opinions are typically worth more than others in certain contexts. So, if you're like me, you get that 'decision inertia'."

"Contrast this noise with my recent experience on Foursquare," says Pollard, "and I'm actually really excited about personal network recommendations. If I'm in a particular area or at a certain cafe, then I can check into Foursquare and see a friend's recommendation about what to do or eat. That recommendation is worth more than anything a stranger (online or offline) or a waiter could tell me. Yes, I can ask opinions via Twitter, email, phone or Facebook, but the serendipity and trustworthiness of a system that tells me something before I need to ask, is a beautiful thing."

"Foursquare will get noisier", he predicts, "but hopefully they will create tools to segment or decrease the noise".

@darrenwhitelaw (Darren Whitelaw, General Manager, (Corporate Communication at Department of Justice Victoria) predicts that Foursquare is actually likely to fall by the wayside.  

"2010 will see a further explosion in mobile computing, and a jostling for top place on the location-aware social applications. Despite the hype, FourSquare will fail to earn mainstream acceptance. Early adopters will embrace GraffitiGeo - an app for people to write a virtual "tag" about their favourite restaurant, cafe or bar - and this user generated content will be the seed for the roll-out of augmented reality apps in major cities of Melbourne, Sydney and later Brisbane."

@jasondavey (Jason Davey, Managing Director of Bullseye), agrees. "Augmented reality will take off: the overlay of user-generated (social) information with spatial data will spark lots of new applications and services. Walking down the supermarket aisle will never be the same again! Poor products will struggle to hide as consumer reviews on products and their prices will mean shoppers will become collectively smarter at the point of purchase".

 

@Brandamentalist (who is David Ansett, Founder and Creative Director of Storm Design) sees the overarching theme for digital in 2010 as Engagement.

"We believe there is huge potential for brands to engage their communities of customers and other associated tribe members at a much more conversational and intimate level than they currently do. We believe brands should be shifting their paradigm from 'One Way Messaging' such as TV, print and press ads, billboards, direct mail and even PR, to 'Two Way Communication', through opening channels to build relationships with their communities. The channels that stand out for us with the greatest potential are either on-line social networks or online social network-related."

Ansett continues, "We see companies engaging brand communications specialists to establish customer relationship interfaces, where the company builds a new level of relationship by speaking at a personal level to their customers. With a primary focus of relationship building, the interface will also help the company to gain a richer understanding of the people who make up their community or tribe, and use that knowledge to create better product and service offerings".

New Zealand Social Media Guru @audaciousgloop (Simon Young of SY Engage) has shared ten excellent thoughts, which tap into the ownership of data and the development of communities and social engagement on mobile:

  1. We will continue to see the push towards data portability and consumers owning their own data. (Although maybe not so much of that last one, the Facebooks and Twitters of the world will try to make it so ridiculously easy to roam around the web using their IDs that people won't be so concerned with ownership - but any failure by these companies will bring the issue up again)
  2. Businesses based purely on advertising will see a decline, as people trust ads less and less and other people more and more. In response, advertising will try different ways to become more social.
  3. Mobile web will become normal and widespread; services like Foursquare will be the new secret weapon for local businesses in the know. Marketing will become about being useful to the customer, combining commercial messages with public service. 
  4. Simplicity and aggregation will be a key playing field. Any service that brings together all your other services or networks - and looks great, and is easy to use - will be popular. Of course it will be a crowded field, and there will be many players that do it technically well but neglect the usability.
  5. Social media will stop being a newsworthy marketing ploy in its own right, as more businesses get on board and start connecting to their audiences. Businesses will need to find something intrinsically interesting about themselves, rather than just the fact that they're on Twitter (and that their product is great, of course).
  6. Consumers will be even more wary of businesses engaging with them via social media. The stakes will be very high for being interesting and relevant.
  7. Tools will arise that allow social media to be more like email marketing - allowing for smart segmentation, personalisation etc. However, just as many marketers haven't taken email marketing to its full potential, they won't take advantage of these either - and they'll continue delivering slightly crappy customer experience.

Combining the thoughts of @markpollard, @Brandamentalist, @darrenwhitelaw, @jasondavey and @audaciousgloop, we can see some clear themes emerge.  

Firstly, digital personalisation and relevance will be the key to influencing consumer behaviour. Mobile platforms, such as Foursquare and GraffitiGeo, will be the drivers behind this, but many more applications will enter the market. And, as we heard from @darrenwhitelaw and @jasondavey, the content generated by the users of these location-based social networks will be used to realise the full potential of augmented reality.

Secondly, consumers will become more socially savvy. They will become even more wary of brands contacting them via social networks, so marketers will need to work smarter. As @audaciousgloop says, they will need to find something "intrinsically interesting' about themselves to be players in the digital space.

Judging by the predictions of my ‘Tweeps', word-of-mouth has never been more important, our networks have never been larger and consumers have never been more cynical.

The message is clear. In 2010 (and beyond), marketers will need to be increasingly willing to trade reach for deeper engagement. Consumers are out there talking about brands (loudly, on the street, and via their mobiles!). As this noise gets louder, we will need to get smarter, more personalised, more filtered and more relevant. If you haven't already, be prepared to combine your real and virtual worlds, because they are merging fast.


COMMENTS

Posted by Cameron Reilly, 12 January 2010

I love how these predictions tendto be incremental developments on what happened last year. If we've learned anything over the last 15 years, it should be that the web is never predictable. The services and apps that were popular last year are rarely a guide to what will happen next year. Twitter is four years old this year. We're overdue for the new new thing. And I don't think it's Foursquare. I predict there's something out there that has 5 users in alpha testing at the moment but by the end of the year we'll all be buzzing about and it will shake things up. Again.


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Claire Cooper BULLSEYE Claire Cooper
Company: BULLSEYE
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Claire is responsible for driving Bullseye's digital offering in New Zealand with a specific focus on developing new client opportunities. Claire is presently doing a lot of work in the social space. Guiding clients on how to get ROI from social campaigns and how to engage and respond using social media monitoring.

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