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Category: John Kurien

10 Predictions for the Online Marketing World In 2009

We are now one month and a bit into 2009.  There was tons of speculation prior to the beginning of the year as to how the online marketing world will fare this year, and what would happen.  Now that we're a few weeks into the current year, here are 10 “fearless” predictions for the interactive marketing space in 2009.

1) Online Advertising Prices Will Drop
This amounts to a simple case of supply and demand.  In our current recessionary time, there will be a sharp drop-off in advertising.  This will increase the availability of online inventory.  As a result, CPM rates will start to decrease as publishers and networks have to offer increasingly better deals in order to entice clients to their networks.   As well, there will be more CPA and CPC deals that will be offered as incentives in order for networks to prove that their sites can produce the results that clients are looking for.  Networks will certainly try and expand internationally in order to bridge the revenue gap, but will struggle initially to learn the monetization methods that have worked well in other markets.

2) Increased Importance of Analytics
In tight economic times, marketers are going to be even more preoccupied than usual with tracking where their money is going.  As such, customers are going to demand more hard in-depth data in order to justify their expenditures.  As such, analytics software will play more of a prevalent role in providing added value for clients.  Smart publishers will leverage this not only to show what is being done, but will use it to engage in more targeted advertising.  Google has already caught on to this trend by marrying its Adsense and Analytics software.  This enables it to know which key words/placements drive them to the site, and ultimately convert best for them (and prove to be more profitable).

3) Search Marketing Will Become Even More Prominent
In tough times, marketers will focus on those marketing initiatives that are more secure and strategic.  Search has the twofold advantage of not only enabling the advertiser to pay only on  a per click basis, but also allows the marketer to focus on  those with a direct interest in products or services related to their business.   The prominence of search marketing will increase not only because it targets search engine queries, but also because of the increased emphasis on targeted contextual based advertising as networks try and capitalize on ads that target visitors interests based on their prior online patterns

4) Increased Importance of SEO and Blended/Universal Search
As marketing costs become even more tightly controlled, the importance of organic search will intensify.  Advertisers will spend even more effort in order to get ranked higher on natural search engine results.  Blended search results produces rankings generated from news, press releases, blogs, videos, local and book search engines, among other sources.  Video forums and social communities are among the most effective ways of keeping content visible inside search engine result pages.  Therefore, in order to keep traffic coming to your site, a company’s online presence must be spread out among numerous sources.

5) Increased Emphasis on Specialized Social Media Sites
Brand advertising, as it traditionally has been done, employs a unilateral system of communication to your consumer.  The idea is to reach as many people as possible, once, across the board, with your message.  However, traditional advertising is expensive, not only because of the cost of creating an ad that works in multiple media formats, but also because there is no ongoing communication with your consumers.  This means that there is an inherent problem of not getting an ongoing response to your marketing efforts beyond traditional measurements of brand association and sales.  The advantages of targeted social media and specific community/interest based sites ( ex; Divapreneur,FuzzB)  is that it not only allows one to target those users with interests related to  your product /service but also enables you to receive instant and recurrent feedback about your brand.


Integrating Interactive and Mobile: The Power of Widgets as Brand Extenders

It seems that everyone these days is so incredibly fascinated with their mobile phones.  Who can blame them really?

With the ever increasing number of applications on them, these various handheld devices occupy an ever increasing amount of our time.

From popular Facebook and Myspace apps, to practical ones like iWant (which direct you to nearby banks, gas station etc. using GPS) to the trivial (WeatherBug, which gives up to date weather feeds on locations in the United States), there are endless things that can keep you glued to your mobile phone. 

Combine this with the increasing proliferation of new functional handheld devices like the Blackberry Bold, Samsung Instinct and the G1, and we can expect this phenomenon to continue.  As marketers, this would seem to provide us a chance to extend our brands’ reach further into the lives of our consumers.

There is a major caveat here, however.  In the rush to get on board with the emerging mobile marketing platform, marketers need to be aware of its limitations as a media platform. 

This holds true both in terms of its physical (small screen size, lack of a functional mobile internet) and economic (cost of SMS campaigns in North America, cost of using mobile internet, etc.) limitations, and  in terms of how receptive customers are to receiving mobile marketing messages.

Given the continuing development of mobile marketing platforms, it is vital that marketers get on board with this rapidly evolving marketing form.  In order to do so, it is important to ensure that mobile is a platform that makes sense for reaching and engaging your customer base.

In order to ascertain whether the mobile platform is right for them, companies need a way to test the effectiveness of mobile marketing.  The logical step is to find a way to bridge the gap between the platforms that their customers are comfortable and familiar with, and the newer evolving ones (in this case mobile marketing). But the key question is how?

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