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Marketing in 2010 – It’s A New Day

As the New Year gets underway, there is anticipation that 2010 will be a year of major transformation. Although late 2009 showed some encouraging signs of economic improvement, 2010 will be a year of restructuring the economic order, according to Ian Davis in his essay “The New Normal” featured in the McKinsey Quarterly. Similar to the Great Depression, our economic systems and consumer habits have been deeply traumatized. Consumers’ faith in financial institutions is down, while saving for a rainy day has new meaning.

Marketers will have to adapt in order to survive and remain relevant, but are also in a position to lead. As Bob Liodice, president of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) explained in his opening address at the ANA National Conference in late 2009, marketers need fresh, breakthrough thinking from far-sighted strategic and creative partners who are proactively leading not reactively following. Here are five key marketing trends that should resonate throughout the year:

  1. Not your father’s value
    After 2009, the new brand expectation (even for luxury brands) is to demonstrate a tangible, high level of brand value to justify the consumer expense. Value messages need to be communicated in a two-way discussion with consumers. Providing a forum for customers to have questions, answers and concerns addressed is now a larger part of the equation and will be critical to the value proposition.

  2. Authenticity + communication = lasting consumer relationships
    There is a new bar set for brand transparency and authenticity. A common mistake many brands made in 2009 was thinking that entering the social media space would provide instant credibility. However, as many companies learned, consumers know authenticity runs deeper than Twitter. Taking the time to talk to your consumer in an honest and open way (no buzz words) is critical in building lasting relationships. As Interbrand CEO Jez Frampton recently stated in Forbes magazine, “Businesses need to realize that no matter how scary it is to release control and engage transparently with customers. Ignoring the conversation is simply not an option, and indeed it is likely to prove fatal.”

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  4. One channel isn’t cutting it anymore
    2009 cemented the use of social media and digital applications in consumers’ everyday lives. In order for customer service to be effective it is now critical for it to be accessible on multiple platforms. Customer service contact centers that once were just call centers now must be able to handle phone, web chat, email, fax and text messaging. As Rob Cate, call center director of Vegas.com explained in 1 to 1 Magazine, "An interaction is an interaction is an interaction, (you have to be) ready for the customer to contact you in whatever way they prefer.”

  5. Green isn’t going anywhere
    Green living is our way of life, not a fad. New policies and laws will force brands to change products, practices and communications. Environmentally sound practices have become the expected norm and consumers will no longer fall for false or weak green claims; so stop fighting it and start getting innovative.

  6. Compete globally and act domestically
    Despite the opportunity for hiring vendors in foreign markets, 2010 presents a challenge as the U.S. population endures a 10 percent unemployment rate. According to research from the CFI Group, consumers are now having negative sentiments toward brands that do not employ domestic vendors and workers. The CFI group examined call center providers both domestic and international and found a backlash towards international vendors due to the high U.S. unemployment rate and the inferior service offshore (call) centers provide.

  7. Hope you enjoyed this month's Dialogue.

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