We’ve got about two weeks here at the One Degree offices (virtual as they may be) before we break for the holidays. To wrap up the year in fine style I’ve asked some of the One Degree Contributors to provide us with a rewind of 2006 and a fast forward to 2007 to give you something substantial to chew on as the days get shorter. Michael Seaton shares his thoughts on the highs and lows of this year and what we can expect next year…
1. Rewind – What trends in Internet marketing surprised you in 2006? Wow, where to start? First, the most interesting trend was how important authenticity, transparency and accountability have become for corporations. However, it is not surprising having read the Clue Train Manifesto over 5 years ago. The surprising element is how this finally began to break through and take off this past year. Online communities, where consumers are speaking and being heard,
gained prominence in 2006 and emerged as a powerful force in the
market. Brands have no choice now but to listen, respond and
communicate in a human voice, with the consumer – not at the consumer.
Second, 2006 will forever be remembered as the year marketers began connecting to other marketers via social media in droves (although One Degree was doing it well before 2006). The abundance of ideas, insights and great debates were an inspiration to all involved.
2. Rewind – Did you add any new tools to your online marketing toolkit in 2006? Yes, both personally and professionally. Podcasts, blogs and RSS played a huge role over the past 12 – 18 months. I can’t remember what it was like before these tools were in my daily life as a marketer and a consumer.
3. Fast Forward – What do you see as the biggest trends in Internet Marketing in 2007? Two items here. First, accountability on marketing spend and, return on marketing investment will take the spotlight this year. Not scary for those of us who have already been monetizing our digital marketing investments. However, for those who have not been measuring their marketing, they’d better start!
Second, given the proliferation of tagging, sharing sites and directories, I can’t help but think the rumblings of consolidation will begin (or continue) with the likes of Google and Yahoo! leading the charge. How many photo sharing sites or video sites can there be? How many social networking sites can we tolerate? Who’s going to fix Technorati or Digg and make them work better. Which feed readers/catchers will dominate as mainstream adoption takes hold? Lots of exciting stuff ahead.
4. Fast Forward – At the end of 2007, what do you expect we’ll be looking back at as overhyped? I hate to say this given my above statement, but I believe that nothing will really get fixed. If it does it will be in small incremental steps. So, the hype that “we will be doing everything better and getting rid of some noise” will likely not happen. We will still be muddling through.
5. Fast Forward – Any SPECIFIC predictions for 2007? Buy-outs, bubbles bursting, records broken, reputations toppled, break-out companies? I predict that Yahoo will continue to go through a downturn in 2007. We’ll see by Q3-Q4 ’07 if their re-org was too late or just in time to save them. My biggest prediction is that we will all be surprised and astounded by what we did not and never could see coming. That is because the power is with consumers and communities now. Who knows what it could be? Maybe a group Skype call to the Psychic hotline is in order. All the best to everyone in 2007!