Will 2009 be the big year for corporate transparency, for a global conversation - perhaps for bargain basement online marketing tactics instead of old-school huge commercial campaigns?
Peter Kim, a former Forrester analyst now working on stealth enterprise software company, recently polled 14 of the most high-profile thinkers about social media marketing and asked them what they expected to see 2009 bring. The end product was an attractive 23 page PDF that we've embedded below, but we thought we'd pull out some of the thoughts we found most interesting for all you skimmers out there.
"Now with connective technologies like Facebook Connect, Google FriendConnect, and OpenID, consumers will now be able to see reviews, experiences, and critiques from people they actually know and trust." - Jeremiah Owyang, Forrester Research
Our take: Much as we are concerned about the proprietary nature of Facebook Connect in particular, the ease with which people are able to see feedback left by people they know, with confirmed identities, really could be a game changer.
Scott Monty, Ford Motor Company (Photo, right, by Wendy Piersall)"Twitter will continue to achieve legitimacy. But more than any push-channel, Twitter will give customers, advocates and critics unprecedented access to corporate personnel and vice versa." -
Our take: This makes sense, and it's pretty funny to think about. Even the biggest cynics often have a dramatic turn around about Twitter once they start using it, and the intimacy that develops is remarkable. We agree with Monty that this will become increasingly difficult to resist.
Measuring the success of social networks
Rohit Bhargava, Ogilvy (Photo by Shashi Bellamkonda)"Implement listening programs through social media to get real time authentic knowledge that is actionable... Measure with customer service metrics like retention/ satisfaction & social metrics like engagement." -
"Slowly but surely, we're going to develop a set of better metrics to help guide, direct and validate 'commitment'-based marketing and yes, Mr Kim....they will extend beyond the rather short term, blunt metric called ROI". - Joseph Jaffe, Crayon
Our take: Good luck with that, we're not optimistic. This is soft stuff and though clear success speaks for itself, all the gradations between success and failure are going to be very hard to quantify.
Quality vs Quantity in Social Media
"I believe we'll have more focused velvet-rope social networks in 2009 where the tools and the goals match verticals of interest instead of the general commons of Facebook." - Chris Brogan, New Marketing Labs
Charlene Li, Altimeter Group (Photo by deneyterrio on Flickr)"Exclusivity trumps accessibility. Having thousands of friends becomes 'so 2008' and defriending becomes the hot new trend, driven by overwhelming rivers of newsfeeds." -
Our take: Maybe, for some people and in some circumstances this will be the case. We expect most people to find a middle ground between the whole sale slow-down that some seem to expect and an evolutionary adjustment to vastly increased data input.
Making the most of limited budgets
"Dwindling budgets suddenly make low-cost social media look like the pretty girl at the ball. " - Ann Handley, Marketing Profs
"Companies will struggle with how to control who says what -- but will increasingly realize that in an economic downturn, they need all the marketing muscle and leverage they can get and actively encourage." - Charlene Li
Our take: This makes a lot of sense to us, but we expect that it will be tempered by the fear of totally blowing it. Getting into the social media space and doing it wrong is something that a lot of companies fear getting blown apart for. We expect that to change slowly and only for a limited number of companies.
Here's the full document embedded below - what do you think of these predictions?