2012 Extreme Marketing Predictions

24 Marketers Look Into The Future

While many marketing experts, myself included, use the beginning of the year to give their predictions for the coming year, they often stay close to the mainstream currents.

To get beyond the conventional forecasts, I asked a group of leading marketers across a range of expertise for their most extreme marketing prediction for 2012. Their responses are a quick roundup that could be conveyed on a smartphone.

Here are 24 extreme marketing forecasts that take a look inside the minds of some marketing leaders.

  1. Social networks will not become the dominant messaging platform, but they will drive more email use. Last year I predicted that Facebook would not kill Gmail and I was right. I’m going to go ahead and say that 2012 will not be the year that social networks become the dominant platform for messages. I’m not so sure it will ever happen, but it will be many more years off, at a minimum. Instead I think you will see the opposite in 2012 – the growth of social networks (which will definitely continue) will actually fuel the growth of email through notifications and the like. Matt Blumberg ReturnPath
  2. I predict that more companies will realize that genuine social media engagement can only be driven by Customer Services (not Marketing or PR). Social media success has to be 100% customer-centric. Nobody can serve two masters, yet that’s exactly what we ask our Marketing Teams to do with social media. In the words of Frank Eliason (Citi): “Companies need to stop being afraid of their customers”. Luke Brynley-Jones Our Social Times  @oursocialtimes
  3. My extreme marketing prediction is that by the end of 2012, iPads (tablets) will be as common as as a mobile phone, more businesses, home, education and everyday communications will be done on the iPad, so traditional marketers will need to take a leap of faith out of their comfort zone and  make a huge shift in style, delivery and how news content is delivered. From a PR standpoint, companies that adapt to Mobile PR strategies to deliver news and content using strategies such as QR, Augmented Reality that works via a Mobile device – InstaGram, Pinterest and Apps like Flipboard will become the new “black”. Lisa BuyerThe Buyer Group – @lisabuyer
  4. Following in the footsteps of the Arab Spring, individuals empowered through social media and connected via mobile devices continue to make themselves heard, most notably in Russia and in the US. Against this social and political background, these four extreme predictions will occur. After a financially successful IPO, Facebook starts to stumble because it’s forced to be more accountable to its stockholders and its members. Google+ gains prominence driven by its influence on Google search results. (Hey–It helps to carry a big stick.) Amazon formalizes its social media offering (it’s currently the grand daddy of ratings and reviews and owns group coupon company Living Social) by leveraging its installed bases of Amazon customers and Kindle owners. Smaller, focused niche social media players like Pinterest and others gain prominence. Heidi Cohen – Riverside Marketing Strategies, @HeidiCohen
  5. I think print advertising will pick up as people learn that new technologies and platforms can help make print more accountable. Margie Clayman – Clayman Advertising, Inc., @margieclayman
  6. Major brands may buy up visually stunning or compelling consumer content properties to boost their content marketing and ‘brand as media’ marketing strategy. Apart from that, they may turn to unorthodox agencies, talent and tools to create and curate these experiences. Sam Decker – Mass Relevance – @samdecker
  7. 2012 is the year that businesses are going to start becoming process-oriented in their social media activities. Hitherto, they were mostly all throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what would stick –but now it’s the time to take what’s been learned, and apply it in a smarter way. By smarter way, I mean one that follows a path through desired outcomes, brand personality, micro-audiences, influencers, communities to smart action plans. Ric Dragon – Dragon Search @RicDragon
  8. In 2011 only 11% of American companies supplied embed codes with news images and videos. As PR pros embrace the tools that help journalists do their jobs, this figure will jump to over 50% in 2012. Sally Falkow, APR- PRESSfeed @sallyfalkow
  9. I think that Pinterest is really going to change the way marketers and brands think this year! Amazing visual imagery for the win. Tied in with Google+ for a one/two punch. Peggy Fitzpatrick -12 Most -@PegFitzpatrick
  10. Foursquare and Pinterest and Posterous and Instagram merge to make the world’s first super visual mobile social location-based network that you can check into via email: Insta4pinterous! Too outrageous or unrealistic? Definitely.  Ann Handley – MarketingProfs, Author with C.C. Chapman of Content Rules  @MarketingProfs
  11. The world of marketing as we know it will end on December 21, 2012.  No, I’m not talking about the misinterpretation of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, which is the basis for a popular belief that a cataclysm will take place on that day.  I consider the portrayal of December 21, 2012, as doomsday to be a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in.  What I’m talking about is the end of the world of Mass marketing — the market coverage strategy in which a firm decides to ignore market segment differences and goes after the whole market with one offer.  It will be replaced by market segmentation. And that will be cosmic-shift event worth celebrating. According to the Pew Internet Project, 78% of adults in the U.S. currently use the Internet. So, depending on which market segment you’re targeting, you will probably beef up your search engine, content, social media, video, and mobile marketing and scale back your offline marketing.  The only market segments where are majority of adults aren’t online are those who are 65+ and those with less than a high school education. Greg JarboeSEO-PR author of YouTube and Video Marketing An Hour A Day – @gregjarboe
  12. Facebook will launch their own smartphone and their own mobile platform in late 2012. Dave Kerpen – Likeable Media and author of  Likeable Social Media@davekerpen
  13. Social media fatigue. Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, Google+, social TV apps, social photo apps, Pinterest. There are some great new plays out there, but the space has to shake out. There’s a lot of media out there, and only so many minutes in a day. The social media market is becoming oversaturated. How it will fragment and what will survive is what I’ll be watching. Rebecca Lieb – Altimeter Group, author of Content Marketing – @lieblink
  14. The Ultrabook will give the tablet a run for its money- creating another new hybrid offering by Holiday 2012. Jeanniey MullenZinio and VIVmag, author of Email Marketing An Hour A Day – @empg
  15. Facebook has peaked. We’ll tire of it and after one too many changes in the rules.  B.L. Ochman – What’s Next Blog – @whatsnext
  16. Twitter starts its long decline as a platform: As the web 2.0 era cools down, the winners are being sorted from the losers and there are going to be a few surprises. Already companies that seemed like a sure thing like MySpace and Digg don’t really matter – look for more bodies and Twitter is going to be one of them. In six short months Google has built an entire platform from the ground up and are serious as Microsoft was about Windows in 1995. In the meantime Twitter is still throwing up fail whales and doing redesigns that are like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Michael Pinto – Very Memorable, Inc. @MichaelPinto
  17. Google will purchase its first major media company, setting off FTC alarm bells across social media on the fact that Google will try to corner the online advertising market like the Duke Brothers did in the movie Trading Places. Joe PulizziContent Marketing Institute, author of Managing Content Marketing – @juntajoe
  18. In 2012, the companies that will succeed will stop simply participating in social media channels because it is the latest trend and shift their focus towards building real online communities. These communities will be built on engaging and valuable content and will use social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, etc with a more integrated approach to help extend the community’s reach. Brian Rice – B2Community – @BrianSRice
  19. Facebook buys Yahoo. Google shudders. Mark Schaefer, author of Return On Influence – @markwschaefer
  20. I expect Pinterest to go main stream and be acquired by a larger marketing fish. Angie Schottmuller, Search Engine Watch, @aschottmuller
  21. Yahoo will no longer exist as an independent company.  An unusually high number of major clients will search for new advertising agencies because they’re dissatisfied with their current ones. Jim Siegel, HealthCare Chaplaincy – @MeaningComfort
  22. A new near-field-communication platform will be released that allows sending out a message to anybody within a radius of X feet depending on how much you pay. It will go viral because pricing will start at 1¢ for ten feet and go up from there. The Big News will be when Coke pays $150 million to broadcast to every phone at the Super Bowl. “Get a Coke during the game and win a ticket to the winners after party!” The message will go out in waves to avoid congestion and require Coke to call in emergency supplies of syrup and soda. Jim Sterne eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit Author of Social Media Metrics – @jimsterne
  23. My most extreme marketing prediction for 2012 is that facing an increasing lack of trust and credibility and user frustration, Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. will make an all out effort to crack down on Spam, fake & deceptive social accounts, Black Hat SEO, and other unsavory digital marketing and social media practices. Dr. William J. Ward – S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University – @DR4WARD
  24. Brand marketers will get smarter about where, and with whom, they invest their social marketing dollars — opting for agencies/consultants with strategic/fact-based vision and follow-through on objectives, rather than the latest flash and dash. One can always dream. Deborah Weinstein – Strategic Objectives,@DebWeinstein

Taken together, these extreme marketing predictions provide interesting insights into how marketing could evolve during 2012.

What’s your extreme marketing forecast for 2012? Please include your prediction in the comment section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Here are some related posts on other forecasts for 2012.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikejsolutions/1814279048/

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23 Responses to 2012 Extreme Marketing Predictions

  1. Ted Lewis says:

    And, yes the QR Code will become more prevalent in American business with many business using very long web site addresses, and the increase of smartphone usage.

  2. Integration of nearly all your 24 suggestions will be the future of marketing!

  3. A lot will be dependent on the innovation that comes from some of these companies like twitter, facebook and google. Google might make one change to their algorithm that kills traffic, facebook might become more expensive for ads, it will be an interesting 12 months.

  4. Cliff Lay says:

    I’m with Greg (prediction number 11)…

    Economically, 2012 is likely to be tough going for most businesses. Those that thrive will the ones that stop trying to sell everything to everyone and start focusing on what their clients need.

    This “outside in” approach (read “Building Great Customer Experiences” by Colin Shaw and John Ivens for more info) will help marketers resonate with their customers and build meaningful relationships.

    You can only build that meaningful relationship when you segment your database and start narrowcasting to specific niches. It takes time and investment, but your clients will appreciate that you took the effort.

    All things to all people is a thing of the past.

    • Heidi Cohen says:

      Cliff – I agree that the chances are that 2012 will be an economically challenging year. Further, it’s useful for businesses to think in terms of segmenting their audience to create better targeted marketing content. It’s the foundation of old fashioned direct marketing principles. It’s also why the use of marketing personas are useful. The issue is that it requires additional marketing content and creates more complexity across the organization. Thank you for contributing. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  5. David healera says:

    You have to love how you not only are interviewing NON-experts but their predictions are self-serving. Notice how Mass Relevance predicts that companies will seek tools for curation.. OF COURSE!! How did I not see that coming!!


    I won’t read this blog again- might as well read People magazine

    • Heidi Cohen says:

      David — Thank you for taking the time to share your opinions. These professionals all have years of experience working, leading and contributing to the marketing field. Validating this is the fact that many of them have published books in their area of expertise. What you label self serving is, in many cases, the extension of their particular area of focus. Sorry to see you go. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  6. Zen Joseph says:

    Hi Heidi, love your work…

    What about SOCIAL ECONOMY platforms such as MagNet? I spoke with CEO Dan Mapes yesterday and (together with information from MagNet.tv) am UTTERLY CONVINCED that this is far & away the MOST EXTREME marketing change that will influence the world this year… Especially if they take my advice on re-branding for global domination! FYI, my profile at: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6215154&trk=tab_pro

  7. Braden says:

    A nice bit, Heidi. It is helpful to see the way forward thinkers are looking at today’s rather jagged marketing landscape. Onward.

    • Heidi Cohen says:

      Braden — Please understand these predictions are marketers fun, maybe wishful forecasts that like extreme sports take trends to the max. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  8. This iz GOOD, really GOOD… Having Xperienced the Apple Culture’s 1st MacWorld, consulting to establish the 1st MacIntosh mail order catalog the ICON Review in 1985 and being an AT&T VAR with UNIX V ‘bigot’, I’m taken back to the ‘platform wars…’ Seems like “same clown… new outfit” situation.

    Considering these challenging times of info Xcess as a CASE (Cultural And Social Evolution) of the office/brick & mortar mindset going the way of the dinosaurs, like R transformational GURU Steve Jobs relationally created what ‘we didn’t know we needed yet…’ My Xtreme 2012 Marketing Prediction is that Heidi Cohen iz the WINNER and I’m ‘clicked in’ now, seat belt fastened, ready, set… GO girl GO…

  9. Frish says:

    Extreme Marketing – I believe the respondents only focused on that portion of marketing that includes outbound messages/promotions.

    That focuses on products/services that already exist, and looks to sell more of them.

    I include INBOUND marketing as part of marketing – collection of requirements, customer value statements, forecasts, pricing, competitive analysis, etc., driven by Potential End users (with luck) (both customers and prospects are the audience for the product concept…)

    Therefore, my prediction is a much more sophisticated and widespread use of social media to capture market needs, requirements on function, delivery methods, identifying the best media to reach targets, etc.

    Here is where social media can have the biggest influence on future product functions, and therefore increased sales by being more market responsive.

    That’s the higher and more strategic role of marketing to make sales easier by hitting target audiences where their NEEDS are…

  10. Jonny Ross says:

    Especially agree with points 5 and 12! Heidi I love your blogs!!!

  11. Michael Davies says:

    I’ve worked as a ‘Data Communications Engineer’ since 1993…years before the Internet was used commercially.

    I disagree with the very first one from Matt Blumberg

    A lot of people including myself knew that FB wasn’t going to kill Gmail. Not only that, it was a stupid thought put out by a news anchor. This doesn’t make Matt a great fortune teller.

    Social networks were never the dominant messaging platform in the first place. It’s obvious at least to me as to why. Businesses have to use the largest accepted form of communication that started messaging at all. It’s called the SMTP protocol. Which is the language for what we call ’email’. Businesses make up the largest population of the use of messages. They do not want employees communicating over FB because it will lower work production while they do other things that have nothing to do with business. They also cannot control what an employee is doing at all on FB. Social networks barely made up a percentage of the entire email with notifications. In fact, it quickly became the opposite when people found it so annoying that FB stopped it for everyone. Now you have to allow it.

  12. Annie says:

    such a great list thanks!

  13. Delia deLisser says:

    Great thoughtful stuff, Heidi! As usual, bringing the freshest ideas from the front. My 2012 marketing prediction? With economic challenges continuing for consumers and business alike, social media stops being “new” and more acutely faces that “old” media problem – generating profits from operations.

    • Heidi Cohen says:

      Delia–Thank you for your contribution to these 2012 extreme predictions. While I agree many marketer don’t understand how to get social media to drive bottom line results, some of the challenges are integrating the appropriate tracking and call to action. Blogs are the best way to accomplish this! Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  14. Pat Huston says:

    Social Examiner listed you as a top ten blog finalist. After reading your “stuff” I can see why this is so. Appreciated the predictions and just finished reading In the Plex….

    thanks for your efforts on a great read