The current holiday lull is the perfect opportunity to present my marketing predictions for next year, so here goes:
- Increased competition in a tight market, coupled with the signs of an economic recovery, will prompt companies to invest more in market; but companies will want better metrics for how dollars are being spent to contribute to the bottom line.
- As the number of smart phones balloons (Gartner  predicts 1.2 billion smart phones will be in the field by the end of 2010), the mobile channel will become a critical one for marketers. As the technology continues to develop, marketers will continue to search for the best ways to reach consumers on their phones without annoying them.
- Social marketing progresses on the hype cycle. Marketers will realize that social marketing is not free, and it is not a panacea for reduced budgets. The human cost associated with social marketing is significant when you consider the hours spent blogging, tweeting, and responding to online content. The current inability to understand the bottom line contribution of social marketing the business will force marketers to look at social marketing with an increasingly analytic view.
- Email marketers will find it harder to get attention. Email is far and away the most popular marketing channel and it will continue to be so. Forrester Research  predicts email marketing to grow by 11% CAGR over the next four years to reach a $2B market by 2014. Savvy marketers will be increasingly challenged to find ways to “cut through the noise” and not be filtered out, either automatically by SPAM filters or manually, by dreaded <DEL> button.
- Marketers’ attempts to reach consumers via popular social tools like Facebook and Twitter will improve and will become less obtrusive. Consumer backlash to annoying product updates and thinly-veiled ads will cause marketers to become more savvy. Even if consumers joined a company’s fan club to get a discount coupon, they don’t really want to really want to be “friends” with clothing stories or hardware outlets.
- A new social tool or application will become the darling of 2010. Just like Facebook and Twitter before it, a new social tool will capture the attention of those always looking for the next thing.
- It will become easier to create mobile and social applications that run on multiple platforms without having to create one a dedicated app for each one. Tools and services will become increasingly available that will lower development and maintenance costs for marketers.
- The use of virtual meetings and webinar will expand. During the current downturn, companies have learned how to effectively use virtual meetings to reduce travel costs and improve efficiency. The use of this technology will expand in 2010 – look for an increased number of webinars and virtual sales meetings. Tools will improve to provide additional functionality.
- As the number of marketing channels increases to include social and mobile applications, the need to understand the contribution of each channel to the marketing mix will become critical. Measuring the response to marketing activities will become a management expectation of more and more companies.
- Tools to measure marketing activities will continue to improve, and new ones will appear on the market. Interbrand  expects this to be a $1B market. With the availability of these new tools, marketers will be able to better analyze (and therefore justify) their marketing budgets, based on meaningful metrics.