Strategic Objectives’ dear friend Heidi Cohen recently asked us five important questions to summarize 2011 and look forward to 2012. She is sharing the answers on her website alongside other industry leaders. We wanted to share our answers here on our blog.
1] What was the most important marketing (across formats including digital, content, social media and/or mobile) event or campaign of 2011?
2011 was a year full of milestones in the marketing space, from the redesign of Facebook to the unveiling of iPhone 4S, which was swamped by the untimely death of Steve Jobs. The social event of the year for us, at Strategic Objectives, was defined by the launch of Koodonation.com. Canada’s first-ever microvolunteering community, which we created in partnership with Koodo Mobile, a Canadian cell phone carrier.
An entirely new concept in the Canadian space, more than 2000 microvolunteers and 100 Canadian charities signed on with the not-for-profit, grass roots-driven Koodonation in its first two months.
Traditional and social media coverage already exceeds 21 million positive impressions, impressive when you consider that Canada’s population only numbers slightly more than 33 million.
2] What’s your 2012 social media marketing prediction?
We predict that 2012 will, at last, be the year for a mobile marketing breakthrough. According to Pew Research, 35% of Americans own and use a smartphone every day; comScore reports that more than 8 million Canadians use smartphones too. The smartphone-owning market is growing and will change the way we approach and deliver content to the mobile consumer through apps and/or mobile-friendly web pages.
Great examples include Flipboard, an incredibly popular iPad app, that was recently released for the iPhone. Flipboard aggregates news content from sources including FastCompany, CNN, BBC, CBC and all your social networks. The newly-released Google Currents app performs much the same task.
The advent of Instant Review applications like Yelp, FourSquare and TinyReview – that empower consumers to post good, bad or indifferent reviews with impunity – means that marketers will need to be more proactive in engaging and rewarding influencers and extra vigilant in putting out fires, in the future.
Gamification, another key trend, plays hand-in-hand with mobile marketing. Rewarding consumers with special deals, badges and points for checking-in at a business or enterprise entices consumers to become more engaged with a brand than ever before. Gamification paired with mobile can have the power to turn an average consumer into a brand evangelist.
Marketers will also have to beware of being gamed themselves and playing patsy for false standards and benchmarks of influence. Klout played fast and loose with social marketing influencers in 2011 by raising scores to inflated heights then slapping them down without warning. Rule One with gamification should be to AVOID completely alienating your community base.
As to whether QR Codes will gain ubiquity and work their way into the savvy marketer’s toolbox? There is no Quick Response to this question. Will 2012 be the breakthrough year when the average consumer commits, adopts, or continues to reject those tiny black squares? Only the future will tell.
3] What was your favorite blog post of 2011?
It’s almost impossible for me to choose only one of the thousands of blogs I’ve read and RTd through the last year, but the “50 New Rules of Work” by Robin Sharma is absolutely one of my faves.
We business leaders are constantly challenged with motivating and inspiring new and current clients, teammates and industry peers; and Sharma’s 50 New Rules form a basic guide for successful leadership skills and practice, now and in the future.
My other fave blog, is my own, a case study documenting the White Cashmere Collection, a uniquely integrated PR meets Social and IRL program designed to differentiate and elevate a less than glamorous commodity, bathroom tissue, by firmly linking it to #fashion, #socialgood and a powerful brand community of Canadian women. The eight year program, which launched Cashmere in 2004, has contributed to the brand’s position as Canada’s best-selling BT.
4] What book(s) did you think were the best in 2011 for social media and why?
The book that captivated us most in 2011 is The Accidental Creative, by Todd Henry. The book explores how to find inspiration and apply it to any business type; and it’s focus on building relationships and seizing the day to produce great work, serve as a great guide for social media pros. The lightening-fast speed of the social world can oft times prove daunting and an obstacle to creativity, but following Henry’s approach to everyday interaction can help turn the mundane into actionable inspiration.
5] What book(s) did you think were the best in 2011 for marketing in general and why?
There’s nothing quite like an insider’s look at the marketing industry that both fascinates and repels you with its manipulative practices; tremendous power to influence and shape behavior; and the deep pockets needed to sell brands into our hearts, minds and wallets.
Such is the case with Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate our Minds and Persuade us to Buy, by Martin Lindstrom.
A 20 year ad-industry vet, Lindstrom, author of the New York Times best-seller Buyology, uses Brandwashed to reveal the ad industry’s endless quest to press the consumer’s “Buy Button” through the use of deep-dive research and neuroscience.
An investigation of ethics and skullduggery, the book both sounds the warning — Caveat Emptor, let the buyer beware — and serves as a cheat sheet on sneaky new tactics we’ll be seeing more of in the brave new world of social marketing. A must read. Juicy and delicious dish.