So, it's officially 2011. And in the spirit of the season (lists galore!), I'd like to offer three predictions for marketers, based on my own thoughts and on conversations with my peers.
1. Location-based marketing will continue to grow in popularity. Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places: if you're not using one (or more) of these services already, I predict that my fellow marketers are going to try and tempt you to jump on board this year. Special deals and more await you. And of course, if you use Foursquare, like I do, there's the "game" aspect of this type of social networking, including some friendly competition for local mayorships.
2. QR tags will finally take off. A way to provide information that can be easily accessed by smartphone, QR tags and Microsoft tags (see SearchEngineLand's article for more on Microsoft tags) offer customers and prospects an online experience, ranging from custom landing pages, to video, to online coupons, without having to manually navigate to a specific URL. Interestingly, Microsoft tags can be custom-branded.
3. Ratings and reviews will become even more important, no matter what industry you're in. I work in multifamily marketing, and ApartmentRatings.com has long been the only resource for apartment-seekers to get information. The problem with ApartmentRatings is that it's incredibly biased: the ratings skew heavily toward the negative, and apartment managers have to pay to respond to any feedback that residents leave. Thankfully, Yelp and Google Place pages have started to turn the tide a bit, and it's now easier to find a more balanced opinion. In addition, industry-focused companies, such as Property Solutions (with whom my company works) now offer a variety of ways for residents and prospects to offer feedback, with the option for property managers to post those comments on our resident and prospect portals. Other companies, like RentWiki and RentMineOnline (again, my company works with both of these vendors), also allow companies to collect and share resident comments, along with widgets that can easily be incorporated into other media.
So there are my top three predictions for the year ahead...I'll be very interested to see how things unfold. What are your predictions? Would love to hear your thoughts.