Accountability, measurement, getting closer to customers and understanding the opportunity of new media and pressurea on the old, are all important role players for the year ahead.
1. Accountability A lot more big advertisers will be demanding increased accountability and transparency in terms of media buying contracts, placement confirmations, discounts and other special incentive deals between media buyers and media owners.
2. Measurement An increasing number of boards of directors will continue the 2010 trend of insisting on being given meaningful return on investment and marketing funds employed data with far fewer corporates accepting the now debunked claim that "a lot of things in marketing cannot be measured."
3. Media inflation and production costs With media inflation having decimated the efficiency of advertising during the past decade and more, major advertisers will start to look toward giving longer legs to campaigns and will continue the 2010 trend of looking very closely at advertising production costs, particularly television. The ad agency that insisted to its client last year, that "corporate identity should be refreshed every year", will probably not get away with that blatantly production-income generating ruse for much longer.
4. Sponsorship rationalisation It started in 2010 with a vengeance with Absa and Standard Bank among others looking seriously at their sponsorship commitments. The sponsorship environment has changed from a situation where demand for prime sponsorships outstripped supply to the other way round. Gratuitous sponsorship which involves big sports sponsorship deals to give top management and their clients the chance to attend big matches in luxury and comfort, will start to wane as the return on funds employed for this type of marketing is shown to be really quite bad.
5. Continued growth of social media With the cost of internet access and cell phone usage coming down, however slowly, consumers will resort more and more to sharing their purchase experiences with their personal networks and a growing number of consumer complaint websites. Retailers of goods and services will have to monitor these to avoid being caught up in an e.tsunami of consumer backlash as has happened in the USA and UK.
6. Online advertising will continue to grow The only media type to have actually grown during the recession, online advertising will continue to make inroads into the advertising and marketing budget pies. But, the growth in online advertising will also mean a paradigm shift in the way advertising is constructed. Successful online marketing will demand a completely different approach to that of conventional media.
7. Instore marketing will continue to grow Marketing will be all about getting closer to the consumer: Brand managers will look towards marketing strategies that involve closer contact with the consumer. In-store marketing that started gained impetus two years ago, will continue to grow apace as marketers choose face-to-face strategies over faceless shotgun approaches.
8. Online print media Will 2011 be the year in which newspapers will wake up to the fact that taking advantage of online is not just a question of reproducing their print products online? That was a massive mistake in the past and effectively just ended up with newspaper giving content away for free to the detriment of their print products. Newspapers will have to start reassessing their online activities or simply go bust.
9. Print Media becoming more relevant I am not sure whether this is actually a trend or just plain wishful thinking. For far too long newspapers have been living in the past and being produced as though there wasn't such a thing as radio or the internet. Consumers are getting restive about reading stuff in their morning or afternoon newspapers that they heard on radio or picked up on their laptops and cell phones the day before. There have been far too many embarrassing examples. Perhaps 2011 will be the year in which they stop being news-papers and start becoming information-papers. Some newspaper paradigms need to be shifted and fast.
10. Customer service improving too slowly Once again, I'm not sure if this is a trend or just a desperate plea. Sure, South Africa's level of customer service is improving a bit, but far too slowly. Too many consumers are being treated like dirt which is because they're still so apathetic. But, there are huge marketing opportunities for companies that realise customer service isn't a pain in the arse but a simple way of making a lot more money. All it needs is coal-face education and taking some very big chips off little shoulders.
11. Online shopping will grow bigger The trend towards more South Africans buying stuff online from all over the world will increase as connectivity improves and becomes more affordable. Once consumers start realising that online shopping is now a lot more secure theyll start picking up on the fact that a lot of products and are cheaper online than they are in local shops - even including import duties and door to door deliveries.
Apart from being a corporate marketing analyst, advisor and media commentator, Chris Moerdyk is a former chairman of Bizcommunity. He was head of strategic planning and public affairs for BMW South Africa and spent 16 years in the creative and client service departments of ad agencies, ending up as resident director of Lindsay Smithers-FCB in KwaZulu-Natal. Email Chris on and follow him on Twitter at @chrismoerdyk.
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