Around this time last year I wrote about some Predictions for 2009 and while I would say 8 out of 10 have already materialized and the other 2 are on their way, it has become clear that this year was the year we past the point of no return on Social Media. Recession or not Social Media was on a roll ignited by the visibility of events like Obama’s win and Iran’s election protests.
So that begs the question – what’s on the horizon specifically for BtoB for marketers next year? Here are 10 concrete ways I think the environment in which BtoB Marketers operate will evolve in 2010. Enjoy!
- Facebook Advertising will take off – This year Facebook saw their advertiser base triple! Facebook ads today remind me of Google AdWords in 2001 with low CPC’s on topics and segments many marketers will want to reach. I believe Facebook Ads will become the close “cousin” of Google AdWords – just with a more targeted and behavioral way to dial in your ads. BtoB Marketers should try it out for recruiting or even brand advertising – also don’t forget my book Facebook Marketing for Dummies comes with a credit for $50 Free Facebook ads (thanks to the good folks at Facebook and Wiley for agreeing to publish the book with that credit in it).
- Mobile Marketing – Frankly I think Social Media is just a warm up for Mobile Marketing. Years ago we talked about how we didn’t want Mobile ads popping up just as you walked in front of Starbucks for example. But now new applications enabled by social such as Location Based Services (LBS) have arrived and give context to mobile marketing – I think you will see more of these applications enabled by your Social Graph become more important in the next year. For BtoB Marketers you might begin to experiment with Location Based Services especially at live events.
- Social will leave Marketing – This year Marketing and Communications totally “got” social media but next year is the year it starts to transform the rest of your BtoB organization from Product Development and R&D, to Billing and Finance, to HR and Recruiting, to Customer Service and the Contact Center. Social Media is not like the dotcom rush to build a website and have a group of long haired people running it in a corner of your organization. Social is a process that has the power to transform your entire organization. Its time next year to embrace it!
- Corporate Websites will become less important – As every company gets more experienced with Social Media you will see more consumption of content off of the corporate website in places like Facebook, YouTube, and relevant Communities and Forums. “Away games” will be the norm for your more opinion related content and the corporate website will be the place where you go to get just the more official product or service related content.
- Lead Generation tools must combine with Social Media tools – Right now we have tools to listen, tools to monitor, tools to track clicks to the corporate website, tools to track leads that are being nurtured. But this has to change – its impossible to optimize based on each of these silos – BtoB Marketers need lead gen tools with social media built in so we can optimize effectively. There is a huge opportunity here that some company needs to fill fast.
- Listening tools will also get much stronger – Another tool opportunity is for listening tools to do better sentiment analysis and routing of the real opportunities both positive and negative directly to the sources in the organization. The routing is key and having done this manually all year – it is just not a scalable model.
- How to handle Advocates will become more important – having spoken directly with tons of customers this year and dare I say made (or at least identified) advocates in the socialsphere, we need a place to put them to collect them to harness them and energize them when we have something cool to talk about. This will increasingly become a challenge for most marketers. Having spoken recently to Pepsi, HBO, RIM, Warners Bros, and American Express about their challenges in this space – BtoB or BtoC this is an area where they want to focus on next year.
- MicroVideo shops will start popping up – video is just still to expensive for many BtoB Marketers and with the advent of some cheaper high definition video cams – I think you are going to see many small video shops popping up. Young college students that are fluent in Video or creative types from ad agencies that might be out of a job can and should start up solo practioners video shops.
- Businesses will demand Intelligence not Social Media – Next year I think you will see vendors announce tools that deliver intelligence from social media right where it is contextually needed – we saw a glimmer of this with SalesForce.com and the introduction of their new product Chatter. This is an early indication of the need for more contextually related Social Media data that can provide the type of intelligence that the business demands.
- Facebook will surpass Google for the #1 site online – This one I have been tracking since the beginning of last year. Whether you know it our not Facebook has been inching closer to the #1 spot this year beating out Yahoo for the #2 spot in November (according to Alexa.com). The delta for #1 with Google is just 14 Million visits per month (18 Million if you ask Compete.com) which is nothing in the grand scheme of things! I predict you will see Facebook surpass Google by Valentines day 2010. Mark it down people 😉