What’s ahead for marketing agencies and the marketing communications industry in 2011, especially in Northeast Ohio?
The top executives of three successful Cleveland marketing agencies – Andy Halko of Insivia, Jim Nash of Marcus Thomas, and Montrie Rucker Adams of Visibility Marketing, Inc. – gazed into their crystal balls to forecast the future at the Northeast Ohio Communications Advocates (NOCA) Forum at the Cleveland Plain Dealer on December 1.
Here are 11 predictions these leaders shared for the year ahead that may give you insights for your own smart marketing strategy.
- Agencies expect their businesses to grow. All three marketing firms reported solid growth in 2010 and expect even more growth in 2011 as the economy continues to recover.
- Pricing pressure will continue. Despite better economic times, agencies and marketing consultants can expect clients to continue to pressure them on fees and costs.
- New business can be found in growth industries. Green energy technology and health care are two examples of markets that are growing rapidly. Companies in these markets need to establish brand leadership and capitalize on sales opportunities.
- New business can be found in older industries. Economic challenges create the need for more internal and external communication. Companies in hard-hit industries will need more marketing help as they recover.
- There’s been a dramatic shift in the way we communicate. The web and social media have transformed the speed and methods of communication for marketers and even more dramatic changes are on the horizon.
- Digital, social media, and mobile marketing are the top growth services. Agencies are seeing major opportunities in helping clients navigate new marketing channels.
- Social media is here to stay. Every marketer needs a social media strategy and everyone in a company needs to be able to speak directly with customers, including the CEO.
- Traditional marketing still has power. The marketing mix will always be driven by the audience. While business-to-consumer (B2C) clients are rushing to social media, business-to-business (B2B) marketers are more cautious and still favor traditional channels.
- Mobile marketing is set to explode. Mobile marketing is already prevalent in Asian countries where mobile devices fit a single standard. QR codes, new to the U.S., have been in widespread use in Asia for years. Mobile marketing may even surpass social media.
- Websites will become less relevant for some marketers. A major retailer, for example, might find opt-in mobile communication a far more effective marketing channel than a website.
- Successful marketing today is about content exchange. Marketers must deliver content of value in marketing and share it multiple ways. Content is also increasingly personalized. There is no longer one message to all, but one message to each individual.
What’s your marketing forecast for 2011? Should marketing agencies and marketing consultants expect growth next year? Will the trend toward social and mobile marketing continue to accelerate? Will websites be eclipsed by opt-in, mobile marketing? It’s an exciting time to be a marketer.