Top 5 Marketing Trends for 2012

Cell Phone Users

For many of us, the cell phone has become an indispensable tool to conduct business, communicate, find information and entertain ourselves.

The year is wrapping up fast, and next year’s marketing trends are quickly taking shape. Some were much-hyped in 2011, but struggled to find their footing as cautious businesses dipped a toe into these new streams. Others, like social media and video, have been building momentum for a while.

For many of us – having cell phones permanently glued to our ears – it’s no surprise the most important trends will incorporate mobile devices. Expect them all to play a larger role in 2012, finding their place alongside more traditional marketing channels

1. Social Media

Social Media is no longer a teen scene. Practically all businesses are now engaged in social media in one form or another and have specific line items in their marketing budgets for this activity. This continues another trend that places less and less emphasis on traditional marketing tools, such as advertising and PR, in a company’s marketing mix. For businesses to take advantage of this trend, they should develop a well-thought-out strategy for the role social media should play in their 2012 marketing program.

2. Mobile Marketing

With the proliferation of smartphones, everyone basically carries a computer in their pocket, and both business owners and customers are spending more time online via their mobile devices, iPads and tablets. The Facebook Generation in particular is very comfortable making their purchasing decisions on the go with a quick tap to the screen. Delivering content to consumers in real time based on their location is seen as the next big wave in marketing. Imagine walking past a Starbucks and receiving a text alert with a special offer for a caramel latte.

3. Geo-Targeting and Location-Based Marketing

This trend is a great opportunity for local retail businesses to compete with their larger competitors. A growing number of local web portals, such as Yelp and Patch, make it easy for consumers to find deals and reviews right in their neighborhoods. Groupon uses email marketing to provide personalized offers targeting specific locales and demographic profiles. Creating targeted, local marketing campaigns can become a great tool for smaller retailers to cost-effectively reach their geographic markets next year.

4. Video Moves Downstream

With the abundance of low-cost, HD video cameras, smartphones and simple editing programs, anybody can produce semi-professional-looking video. No longer is video marketing just for large firms with big budgets; this effective marketing tool is now within reach of every business, allowing them to utilize compelling visual storytelling to promote their products and services.

5. Monitoring Online Business Reputations

With social media use growing exponentially and review websites like Angie’s List becoming ever more popular, it’s easy for consumers to voice their praises and complaints about products, services and businesses they interact with. Applications like HootSuite will make the process of tracking, managing and responding to online reputation issues easier. In 2012, more and more businesses will actively monitor their online reputations and have a strategy in place to deal with negative stories, posts and opinions.

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