Trends are as capricious as fashion-woe to the entrepreneur who's caught using the marketing equivalent of last year's fad. Here, experts weigh in on trends that will keep your marketing efforts fabulously in vogue for 2002:
- Outsmarting Ad Blockers. Imagine reading the morning paper with all the ads airbrushed out. It's disconcerting to businesses that consumers are demanding that ad-supported media eradicate its revenue stream, but it appears message-exhausted buyers have had enough. Ad-blocking software promises to cut down on intrusive banner ads, and TiVo will record programs sans commercials. To help you avoid this consumer cold shoulder, Lee Duffey, president of Duffey Communications Inc., a public relations firm in Atlanta, recommends a back-to-basics approach of PR, direct marketing and community relations as cost-effective measures that won't be impeded by software and gadgets.
"I see a strong return to basics throughout American life as we seek to bring our complicated and suddenly more dangerous world under control. In an overcommunicated society, it's harder to develop a message that penetrates and sticks. Powerful brands are simple messages that get through and provide comfort-an assurance of a company that has been and will be around."
- Go Hollywood. Britney Spears shakes it for Pepsi, hot auteur Guy Ritchie directs wife Madonna in a short film featuring BMWs (seen online), and FedEx gets the product placement opportunity of a lifetime in Cast Away. As consumers discover more ways to skip commercials, businesses and advertisers are trying to draw them back by offering big doses of entertainment with their marketing. Says Douglas Jaeger, interactive creative director for advertising behemoth TBWAChiatDay in New York City, "Product placement isn't new, but creators of programming are now willing to collaborate more heavily in developing content around placement."
While chances are remote that entrepreneurs will get their products featured in a blockbuster movie, smaller-scale collaborations are viable. Try working with a PR agency that specializes in product placement-Los Angeles- and New York City-based agencies are a good bet. Keep in mind, the terrorist attacks of September 11 may make consumers less interested in celebrity endorsements.
- Smart e-Mail Campaigns. E-mail spam is noxious, but don't count out permission-based e-mail marketing-a low-cost, targeted and fully trackable option for talking with your public. "Companies are realizing the power in developing a one-to-one dialogue if e-mail marketing is used judiciously," says DeeVee Devarakonda, chief marketing officer for Quaero, a customer relationship management company in Charlotte, North Carolina. Devarakonda advises entrepreneurs to explore outsourcing your e-mail marketing and to be sure to measure response rates for all promotions.
- MarketingProfs.com: Find content on all things marketing-from glossaries to ROI calculators
- BtoBonline.com: The latest marketing and e-commerce news and information
- U.S. Census Bureau: Provides demographic characteristics of markets
What Do You Think?
Are our picks for what's hot in 2002 on target or way off base? Tell us what you think.