Top 10 online marketing technology trends for 2011

As the year comes to a close, and a new one begins, I reflect on the typical questions and trends I’ve seen and think about how best to advise our clients for 2011.

Top 10 Trends of 2011:

Online Marketing Predictions for 2011

10.  Facebook’s Online Marketing Platform

The adoption of Facebook’s advertising capabilities and ability to target specific segments by smaller and mid-sized firms.  While Facebook has done little this year to improve the features in its advertising portal, the business community is beginning to adopt the platform en mass.  If you haven’t heard of, you might want to review the international levels of adoption of Facebook as a global advertising player.

9.  Privacy Showdown becomes a major news topic in 2011

Digital marketers had a lot of press coverage on their tactics in the last half of 2011.  We’ll see public debates, but I don’t think that there will be any major changes this year in the law.  However, I do believe that we’ll see some innovations coming in the way of online reputation managers allowing both sellers and regular folks to create digital reputation management badge that can be taken with them across all websites.

8.  Smartphones for everyone.

No longer reserved for the traveling elite, smartphones have found their way into the hands of soccer moms, teenagers, tweeners, and even children.  The 7-12 year olds at church were asking for the “itouch” on their holiday gift list.  Digital cameras are going away, and devices that double as cam-corders and “The Jetsons” video telephones are coming to a hand near you.  Droid, Blackberry and Apple will fight and Blackberry will become a distant third because they haven’t catered to the all-powerful Apps content the way Droid and Apple have.  See #4 for more on this topic.

7.   Software as a Service

Major software industries are being consolidated from the traditional client / server model.  Companies such as NetSuite, Salesforce, Omniture, Rackspace, and others are finally making it possible to enjoy the benefits of the internet without having to be a propeller-headed, geek.  This is our hope and Lima Consulting Group continues to position itself to help companies benefit from these trends by integrating these software solutions for our clients.  We believe there are three “i’s” in technology Innovators (the manufacturers of software), Implementers (the installers) and Integrators (consulting companies that implement two or more of the innovators solutions).  We’ll continue to see increased competition from new entrants who present themselves as “cloud computing”, “Software as a Service” consulting companies.

Open Source software will continue to gain widespread adoption.  Drupal, Joomla, Mambo, Typo3, WordPress, and even xMod are solid tools depending on the job you’re asking them to do.  But the real innovation here will come from systems integrators that offer these solutions as a service.  Companies that allow you to setup and host these applications will do well.  I like the business model from companies such as Volusion and Shopify in this respect where for about $50 a month you get an e-commerce platform that should meet most online stores needs.

6.   Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is an amorphous term, but I’m defining it here as data centers migrating away from corporate or the home to the internet based data centers. Firms like Rackspace, Carbonite, Jungle Disk and my favorite, are really growing their user base.  The ability to integrate these applications within other software packages, (for example you can integrate within NetSuite), is a real alternative to the costly implementations for tools like Sharepoint and Documentum.  Keep an eye on the company that Computer Associates acquired, 3Tera, and software companies that virtualize data centers and applications.   This software allows data centers to move their entire operation to the data center closest to the highest levels of traffic within seconds.  As the world rotates each day, the data centers will also rotate to wherever the sun is shining.  The data center that never sees night – interesting concept towards addressing disaster recovery and increasing internet speeds while seeking best pricing on energy.  That’s enough to make the “green” contingency happy, the typical internet user and even the lawyers among us.

5.  ieverything™  vs Robot This

iPad launches, iPhone 4.0 and iOS make it easy for entry level developers to develop over 300,000 which were downloaded over 7 billion times.  The median revenue is less than $700 while the average cost to develop an app ranges between $15,000 to $50,000.   The iPad took the world by storm introducing a new category of computing, or at least bringing a niche category of tablet computing to the forefront.  Today, Barnes and Noble declared the Nook as their best selling product ever, it’s been out – what – two months?   And the Kindle brings up the 3rd place spot filling a need for a less tech-savvy crowd.  But the real shift in 2011 will be back to subscription models to pay for content such as the WSJ, NetFlix downloaded to your devices and of course ebooks, which outsold regular books in 2010 and lastly the worlds largest media company, yep – you guessed it – Apple.  They sell more media than any other company.  So the device and the content combination will engage in hand-to-hand combat with Google’s Andoid more flexible and open platform.  Microsoft really should be the one giving Apple the competition here, they missed their chance.  If Google gets this right, they will finally be out of trouble in having 96% of their revenue coming from their online advertising product, Adwords.  Look for a bloody battle between these two in 2011, it’s going to get personal.

4.  Here an App, there an App, Everywhere an App, App!

Salesforce started the first large-scale App store with their AppXchange.  Then Apple with their App Store, then every company in the internet base Software as a Service model did.  NetSuite has the BOS network, Omniture has the Genesis partners, Droid has and the list goes on.  The widespread adoption of the “crap apps” out there will be a major reason that the victor will emerge, and I predict that Apple will continue here for several years to lead.  While Droid has flash, and an open network, I heard once that “average products well marketed will beat good products with average marketing.”  And the iPhone is no average product, they have the first mover advantage for having created the category and they don’t appear to be letting off the accelerator in terms of innovating both their software and their hardware associated with the iPhone and iPad.  I for one have been impressed with their advances the last three years and I am eager to see what they launch in the summer with their next generation iPhone and iPad.

3.   Net Neutrality – Ain’t

Net Neutrality in 2010 allowed one standard for wireless providers and another for landlines making, in essence 2 playing fields.  This was an unfortunate ruling that would allow certain wireless providers to block features that don’t need to be blocked for any other reason than it would cannibalize the cell phone companies revenue.  Central to the issue is Skype’s video chat and voice chat using the 3G network on the major carriers.  Verizon allows it, AT&T does not.

2. Personalized Online Experiences Based on What You’ve Done on the Internet

The improvement in web analytics to allow for personalization of ads and content based on prior site visits.  Solutions such as Omniture’s Test and Target, Recommendations, Merchandising, Survey, and Search and Promote became more widely adopted and this notion of personalizing experiences on the web is the future of online experiences.  The increased integration of your entire totality of information available to digital marketers will allow them to develop a more complete picture of an individual’s online behavior and interests than ever before.  Armed with the profile information collected from social networking sites such as Facebook, linkedin, Twitter, youtube, and others they can present more relevant content and online experiences.  The first to adopt these technologies will be media companies and ecommerce marketplaces.

1.  Hacking used as a tool by ordinary citizens as a method of protesting

WikiLeaks renegades using social computing to propagate their Denial of Service Attacks.  By enlisting anyone who wished to support the WikiLeaks organization, thousands of novice hackers downloaded the software and allowed their computers to attack the likes of Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, and other internet giants.  This behavior reminds of the flash gangs that started popping up around Philadelphia, and more recently in Rio de Janeiro.  They happen when a ring leader sets a time and place for hundreds of his hooligan friends to show up and rob neighborhood stores and then disperse within minutes making it nearly impossible for police to find the vandals.  This trend will continue in 2011 by less and less sophisticated threats.  Welcome to the new era, for good or for bad, of the masses having the ability to meet (a right that in many countries is not granted) and to conduct large-scale coordinated hacking attacks for any purpose.

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