2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

poor ned better off deadImage by yewenyivia Flickr

...(Subtitled) Or at Least Marketing as We Know It!

But first, since this is my first blog post as a Forrester analyst, I thought I'd make a quick introduction.  I'm Augie Ray, a new Sr. Analyst of Social Computing serving interactive marketing professionals.  Prior to joining Forrester's Bay Area office, I was a Managing Director at Fullhouse, a social and interactive communications agency in Milwaukee, WI.  I'm very excited to be part of the Forrester organization and eager to help clients with research, data, and consulting on the profound and exciting changes underway with Social Media Marketing. 

While the title of my blog post is (obviously) intended as a deliberate bit of provocation, I believe we cannot underestimate the level of change that is occurring in marketing.  Forrester has been writing on this topic for some time, including some great reports on the role of the CMO across the company, the new Adaptive Marketing, Measuring Social Media, and the impact of the Media Meltdown on Marketers (note, these link to report excerpts for Forrester clients).

I hope you'll find my first Forrester blog post thought provoking:

It is that time of year when every blogger, reporter and analyst is publishing their 2010 Social Media and marketing predictions.  (It's a rather odd phenomenon--aren't we interested in what's happening in the next twelve months other than in December?)  Forrester's own Social Media prediction report will soon be released, but I'd like to make my own big prediction:  2010 will be the year marketing--as we know it--dies.  Let's explore the trends and what they mean to marketers. 

Marketing's been under attack for some time, but in 2009 we witnessed the most profound evolution the marketing world has seen in fifty years or more.  The pace of change is not going to lessen in 2010.  Core elements that have driven marketing practices for decades--such as messaging strategy, mass media, PR, advertising, and others--will continue to change rapidly. 

The latest news from the print world is unsurprising:  Average weekday circulation at 379 U.S. newspapers fell 10.6% during the six months ending in September--the steepest decline ever recorded by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.  And although a recent study found that consumer spending on subscription media increased 7% in the past year, that didn't mean subscriptions in the traditional sense--the number of households subscribing to magazines dropped two percentage points while subscriptions for home video and smartphone services were both up. 

On the television front, households with DVRs tripled in just three years, more consumers are avoiding ads, and a majority feels there is "too much advertising."  One cannot help but feel sorry for networks and media companies worried about matching ad revenue to expenses, but their response is a bit hard to swallow. TiVo is showing ads to viewers as they are trying to skip other ads, and TNS Media Intelligence tells us that "marketing content represents 43 percent of a prime-time hour"--11:46 minutes per hour of in-show Brand Appearances (a 31% increase from a year ago) and 14:07 of network commercial messages. 

Certainly, someone has to pay for Fringe, Glee, and The Office to be produced, but chasing down consumers and bludgeoning them with more advertising messages hardly feels like an effective strategy. (By the way, I selected those three shows for a reason: according to the latest Entertainment Weekly, almost one in five people viewing those programs is time shifting, and you can guess what that means for advertisers.)

The story on the Internet isn't much better.  Hulu is striving mightilyto avoid being forced to go the way of TV and load their content with more ads.  Social Media sites like Facebook are so loaded with ads that a consumer spending ten minutes on the site might be exposed to as many as 90 easy-to-ignore ads.  To improve low attention and meager clickthrough rates, advertisers hope to enhance their targeting of consumers based on their online behavior, but the long-threatened intervention of the government may be at hand.  This year could finally be the year that the Feds change the way online advertising works; said  FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz recently, "We're at another watershed moment in privacy, and the time is right for the commission ... to take a broader look at privacy." 

Marketers have, of course, taken note of the power of Social Media, but they continue to struggle with what to do and how to measure it.  In a recent study, 64% of CMOs said they plan to increase their social media budgets next year, but "at least half of respondents expressed uncertainty about ROI."  It strikes me as quite concerning that the top metrics being utilized--mentioned by more than 80% of the CMOs--aren't deep measures of influence or attitude but shallow measures of presence, such as number of fans and page views.

Meanwhile, it's possible (although not likely) that the Social Media landscape could change yet again if Facebook stumbles in 2010. (Don't think it could happen?  Remember that 13 months ago MySpace was drawing more visitors than Facebook;  today Facebook draws 150% more than MySpace.)  Facebook is facing potentially serious challenges.  Some are predicting that young people could soon stream off the site to avoid status updates from mom and dad; by one report, just 50% of the 15-24 crowd is checking Facebook regularly, compared to 55% last year.  More people are complaining (and suing) about being caught in scams from third-party developers on Facebook.  And faced with the growing privacy concerns of its users, how did Facebook react?  By implementing changes that many feel make it not just more difficult to protect their privacy, but actually remove privacy protections from some sorts of data. 

Facebook seems unlikely to go the way of Friendster (if for no other reason than a serious competitor has yet to emerge), but even if Facebook finds itself being MySpaced in 2010, Social Media is here to stay.  The influence of the masses will only continue to grow as Social Media tools improve and more and older consumers climb the Social Technographics Ladder, moving from Inactives, Spectators, and Joiners to Collectors, Critics, and Creators.  

Social Media has just begun to change the way marketing and business operates.  The coming year will see advertising put under the microscope by a connected, savvy, and critical consumer (just ask Motrin and Unilever).  Consumers will use Social Media to exert more influence over marketing and business decisions (see Tropicana and EA).  The best practices for brands in Social Media will continue to evolve (and woe be to brands caught violating consumer trust, as demonstrated by recent missteps by individuals at Honda and Belkin).  And some multi-million-dollar marketing budgets will be challenged and undermined by simple consumer-generated videos (see the Domino's employee video--or better yet, don't!) 

 As we enter 2010, consumers have new partners that will help to expand the reach of Social Media dialog even further--the big three search sites.  Bing, Yahoo and Google recently made changes to the way their search engines index the real-time web, and status updates and tweets are rapidly finding their way into top search results.  This means that consumers searching for brands and campaigns are increasingly likely to see results that include blogged and tweeted criticisms as they are links to official brand sites. 

The search engine changes mean that 2010 will be the year when brands can run but they cannot hide.  Gone are the days when marketers could carefully craft messaging and then broadcast that message in a few channels to huge portions of their audiences.  Oh, you can still spend money that way if you want to but in our transparent world, no marketing budget can possibly overcome the actual experience consumers have (and share with friends, followers and Google) with the product, service, or organization.  It no longer matters what you say;  in 2010, your brand will be more defined by what you do and who you are! 

Of course, if marketing burns to the ground in 2010, a new and more powerful marketing will rise from the ashes.  The role of the new marketer:

  • Won't be simply to focus on outbound messaging but to consult with sales, customer service, and human resources on how the brand must be communicated in every consumer interaction, every tweet, and every touchpoint,
  • Won't be merely to imagine creative messages but to fashion programs that are seamless with the actual product and service experience,
  • Won't be to plan bursts of communication on a yearlong calendar but to respond to and be part of the ever-changing dialog with consumers, 
  • Won't be to count friends, page visits, eyeballs, readers, or viewers but to measure changes in consumer attitude and intent,
  • Won't be merely to talk at consumers but to listen and engage one to one,
  • Won't be to build campaigns but relationships,
  • Won't be to create impressions but experiences, and
  • Won't be buy media but to earn it.

To some of you, these changes sound easy, but they represent painful transitions for marketing organizations.  In 2010 and the years that follow, everything will change:  job expectations, skills, metrics, structure, budgets, agency demands and compensation, and the role of the marketing function within the organization.  While the changes will be difficult, they will also be extraordinarily exciting.  In the end, the marketing organization will be integral partners in everything the enterprise does, living up to Peter Drucker's famous quote:

"Business has only two basic functions -- marketing and innovation."

Marketing is dead.  Long live marketing!

Comments

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Thanks for the comment Ian. I LOVE the Drucker quote because it puts marketing in its place (influencing the entire business and not merely focused on communicating messages.) As for your question, if more marketing was innovate, more marketing would be successful! :)

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Joe,Thanks for the very nice comment. I look forward to meeting you voice-to-voice (or face-to-face) and not merely comment-to-comment. (The term "meet" has gotten awfully confusing in the Social age, hasn't it?)

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Catchy title... it got me to look! Spot on analysis, but then why does this blog seem so 20th century? There should be other options to email or RSS. Where are your links to retweet or post this to social media?

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Ian,Well articulated! I very much appreciate your succinct thought: "Digital is the thread that increasingly connects consumer touchpoints and enables all-way communication and social organization. I will add too that social connection and engagement is driven by peoples’ choices and preferences rather than marketing goals and objectives."I appreciate your contribution to this discussion, and I'd recommend folks check out the blog you shared: http://relationshipera.com.

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Louis, Thanks for the comments. I agree with you--the blog platform needs updating! In fact, a new Forrester blog platform is on the way. Watch for it within a month or two (last I heard).

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Really great, thought-provoking synopsis, Augie. You have my wheels turning. Great job connecting the social media "dots" and interpreting the big picture (just haven't decided yet whether I should be afraid or excited).Randyp.s. I'm amused to see other marketers protesting the use of hyperbole in a headline. Now that's irony.

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

What will the new blog platform be? Wordpress?

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Great predictions which I somewhat agree with and now the challenge for us service providers is to help brand owners to see the importance of focusing on the brand differenciation, and the customer experience as well as engaging with their audiences where ever they may congregate and beyond.I agree with some of your other commentators and ofcourse you are being provocative - this is not the end of marketing but it is the start of a whole new set of challenges. To address these challenges needs a raising of the issues to the concern of the CEO not just the CMO and in our market (B2B) that is going to be a challenge.PS. Hope you don't mind, I'm going to be referencing your list quite a lot I suspect!

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

I have no idea what the new blog platform is, but I'll be learning about it next week!

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Marketing can change a bit, go more virtually but not die for sure.

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Augie, I tweeted your blog post title and as I suspected, got dozens of retweets. Congrats on being provocative. And yes, the post is spot on.You've got some big shoes to fill covering social media marketing for Forrester, but you are off to a great start. I'll be looking for what you have to say.David

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Interesting post. Actually, it would be probably useful for corporations to put an end to marketing and find another word meaning "developing and bringing a useful service to a person or corporation". If (as could be argued) the industrial era is behind us, then marketing is not the right word ...I was only being provocative. Useful and full of useful links too. Thanks

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Great debut post, Augie. Spot on. As a PR professional, I've been having some of the same thoughts about my industry. As traditional outlets dissipate and change, so should our strategies. Looking forward to reading more of your work here.

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Randy, I had the same thought about marketers objecting to my use of hyperbole in the title of this blog post! I was going to comment, but I also want to be very respectful of all the great comments I'm receiving. I really appreciate the criticisms and concerns that have been shared here!That said, it is humorous--we're all in the attention, consideration, and reaction business, after all!Thanks for the comment!

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Richard,Thanks for the input, and please feel free to reference the post all you want!Your point is a good one--these issues and opportunities are not merely ones of the CMO but also the CEO. Social Media will and is having a broad impact across the organization. I see this as a moment of opportunity for forward-looking CMOs to drive this change broadly rather than being carried along with it!

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Thanks, David. I very much appreciate the tweet and the input. I come to Forrester prepared to contribute to the dialog and help clients, and I am really looking forward to working with the great peers I have here and making the most of the research and data at our disposal. I won't/can't be provocative in every report and blog post, but I hope I can continue to spark dialog!

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Luis,Thanks for jumping in and getting in the mood of the post! I appreciate the provocative suggestion to do away with the term "marketing." I don't think the word is going anywhere, but it is just such a concept that can spark interesting dialog around the question of marketing should be and needs to be in the future!Thanks!

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Laura,What I find interesting about PR in the age of Social Media is that it simply reinforces the same age-old practices that have always delivered success. It was never about (or supposed to be about) lists, blasts, and press releases but about relationships. To borrow the last line from my blog post: PR is dead; long live PR!

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Exactly! And I think the advent of social media is not only helping to separate the wheat from the chaffe, but making us all think about new ways to build relationships, connections and influence.p.s. You've guilted me into spending some time at the piano!

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Regarding this part of the article:" . . . consumers searching for brands and campaigns are increasingly likely to see results that include blogged and tweeted criticisms as they are links to official brand sites."I agree 100%, and have already been experiencing some of this with my blog. A few months back I wrote a piece (won't mention it here--don't want to self-promote) that focused on my company's negative experience dealing with the corporate office of a certain "mega-Retailer." Needless to say, I now get 80% of my organic search-related blog traffic from this one story, while the 51 other articles on my blog generate the other 20%. There are definitely content-related implications for bloggers here.Nice post.

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Eric, I had exactly the same experience on my personal/professional blog that you did. Sadly, it seemed the articles with criticism got more visibility and traffic than did positive ones.I once wrote about a retailer who astroturfed their own Facebook fan page. That got so many comments I eventually needed to step in and ask folks to stop commenting. I'd wanted to share a marketing insight about the dangers of astroturfing, and my post comments turned into a place for brand detractors to vent! These were people who clearly were not regular blog readers; they were finding my blog post via search engines.Your and my experience demonstrates the power that real-time search is bringing to consumer dialog in Social Media.

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Great post. Yes I agree with you that now a day's social media has just begun to change the way marketing and business operates specially online marketing.

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Great Job! You are 100% correct about Traditional Media and how marketing is changing so quickly. 2010 is the year Social Media becomes a major focus as a communication tool for companies. Consumers want to be engaged in a discussion rather than screamed at with advertising from their favorite brands.Exciting times ahead in 2010!!!@jeffmello

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

This is so, so good. Augie, you've set a high bar for yourself for future posts if this is your first!

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Jasmine, Jeff, and Matt, thanks for the comments! 2010 will be a big year for Social Media Marketing, and I'm sure you'll agree with me that we're all lucky to be in such an exciting space at this moment. I can't wait to see how Social Media Marketing develops in ways both expected (more budgets, more measurement, etc.) and unexpected (who knows--it's unexpected)!Happy Holidays!

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Ah, I enjoyed reading your blog but your focus is on interruption marketing which has been on the OUT for years. Every consumer hates being interrupted--> nothing new there and the #s show it. Despite that, the numbers are a good to know.Social media is a great way for marketers to build business by referral; which is very difficult to measure, statistically speaking. And I'm not talking about ad space. I'm talking about interacting on the social sites with actual people.Now that's marketing.Happy Holidays!

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

A great article Augie, traditional marketing is for sure, dead. Traditional marketers are of course running scared (see above comments). But there is nothing to be scared of as I see it, relearn the new ways and a huge opportunity exists!!!!I am of course biased, operating a niche social media marketing firm. However, I am looking at the numbers, I am talking to the people and I have studied in great detail the developments in social media marketing over the past 4 years. The fact is communication as we know it has changed and with this being one of the fundamentals of marketing, it naturally must alter it in at least an equal measure. That measure being MASSIVE!Subscribed to your blog, keep the great content comingBenfacebook.com/marketingcoach

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Thanks Jenn,I think you're a bit optimistic declaring Interruption Marketing as "OUT for years." I agree that consumers *tend* to hate it (although not always), but a majority of most marketing budgets is still dedicated to interruption marketing (i.e., media buys.) So, I don't think its been "out," but I agree that other approaches are certainly getting the spotlight and growing.Thanks for the comments! Here's to less interruption marketing in 2010!

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

A VP of Sales at a mid-tier software provider confided in me that" Just between you and me, Marketing doesn't do much for Sales." He didn't seem to see the irony in this statement.Relative to B2B revenue generation, Marketing is dead... Long live Sales Enablement!

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Change is constant and this is nothing different for the marketing function. What we are experiencing is a transition from one cycle to the next one. I am not sure that the fundamentals of marketing are and will dramatically change. However the way marketers engage (listen and talk to) with buyers and customers is. Social media is opening new doors that we are all discovering and experimenting with. 2010 will really be the year marketers adapt ... or die.@productmarketer

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Wow... great stuff hereCouldn't be more dead-on! Isn't it true that the average attention span is about a half-second? Think about it when you flip the station or scan through a magazine. It's scary how fast it is changing.

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Augie,This is an incredible post. I find such great value in the return to simpler marketing ways. I thought your conversation with Sarah above was an interesting one. She claims evolution where you claim a return to pre-mass media marketing. Either way we're heading for some interesting times... thanks for the post

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Great read, I believe the current situation is going to be a testament to creative talent. Creative marketing is ALWAYS going to win, and the talented individuals who create it will succeed. It is not that consumers dont like looking at ads, people look forward to the creative ads during the Super Bowl, it is just that most ads sux. Most ads are just trying to sell you something instead of making it worth your while to be sold. Companies are going to have to hire true talent and not just resumes, they are going to have to realize the people who can execute. Look at how Bmw and Audi were able to place their products in the James Bond series, consumers did not mind that type of marketing. If I am watching a football game why do I want to watch an ad about bed pans? or toe nail clippers? Those type of misaligned ad placements are going to make me skip through the ad and get back to the game. People have to be entertained, as Maximus said in the movie Gladiator "Are you not entertained", then people might watch more ads.

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Thanks for the great provocative post, Augie.Of course marketing won’t die; it doesn’t even smell bad. There have never been more challenging times for marketers. And there have never been more exciting times for marketers.I think most marketing professionals have long recognized what you describe. As we are entering the new decade, it appears as if the marketing discipline, after undergoing a mesmerizing major transformation in the past two to three years, is facing stagnation; your piece serves as further evidence. CMOs' by-lined articles in industry trades usually play it safe and state the obvious. The myriad social media consultants who have popped up over the past few years, as well as marketing expert bloggers, boutique agencies, and industry outsiders are all preaching the social marketing gospel to the choir (or to those few remaining on the other side of the "new digital divide") in their publications. Even at conferences such as SXSW, next, the Conversational Marketing Summit, or Marketing 2.0, which are usually ahead of the digital curve, marketing thinkers have been beating a dead horse this year, more or less citing the same set of principles, practices, and case studies.This kind of stagnation often occurs when pioneering concepts are fully absorbed by the mainstream: Social marketing is on the way to becoming THE marketing, as social media is becoming THE media (it is always a sign of broad adoption if adjectives are dropped). Authenticity, engagement, communities, social, conversations, transparency, etc. – they're all accepted across the industry and widely implemented now. What then is the next frontier for marketers? What will be the next big marketing innovation?I, for one, believe that marketing can have more influence than ever before if it gives up control and embraces transparency, participation, and generosity. It can inspire a new type of leadership that applies to all business functions. Ben Malbon of BBH Labs nails it: “It’s not just the marketing organization that needs to reorient itself given the now normal digital age, but the company itself should consider how it reorients itself around its marketing organization.” Marketing is the only function that connects all touch points of a brand ecosystem. It combines process and content, data and narrative. As a cultural vanguard, it simplifies and creates stories that “make sense” of disparate information. Leveraging the power of the social web, it is uniquely positioned to spearhead the production of “meaning” – every business leader’s foremost task.I believe the intersection of social web, “goodness,” and innovation presents a tremendous opportunity for marketers. As “Chief Meaning Officers,” they can connect the quest for new values with the need to reinvent capitalism, the sociality of the web with the social conscience of a “good brand.”For more: http://designmind.frogdesign.com/articles/power/wanted-chief-meaning-off...