For the busy chief executive or harried small business owner, here are a few key “need to know” marketing tech trends for 2012 and beyond.
What is it? The inbound marketing methodology is largely a response to a power shift from the marketer to the consumer that technologies like the Internet, social and mobile have brought about in recent years. As opposed to the traditional “outbound” approach, inbound marketing focuses on listening to the wants and needs of the consumer and providing relevant solutions on their timeline.
Why is it relevant? Each day, more and more consumers are relying on the Internet and social media for information and purchase decision. Inbound marketing is almost wholly Internet-based, utilizing web, social, and mobile technologies to provide value to prospects at every stage of the buying cycle.
How will it affect my business? By employing inbound marketing tactics like SEO, blogging, social media, website lead generation and lead nurturing, and marketing analytics, you’re able to engage your target audience on their terms. Not only is inbound more cost-effective than most traditional forms of outbound marketing, it also produces measurable results.
What are they? Mobile Applications, or “Apps,” are internet software applications that operate on smart phones or other mobile devices such as tablet computers.
Why are they relevant? Smartphones and tablets are essentially mini-computers with limited data storage. Because of this, mobile apps were originally created as an easy way for mobile device users to engage specific internet services more commonly accessed from desktop or laptop computers. Here’s the kicker: mobile devices are now taking over the world. Soon there will be billions of smartphone and tablet devices. Over 50% of all Internet users are expected to access the Internet via tablet by 2015.¹
How will they affect my business? In every way you can imagine (and some you can’t). Consumers are using mobile devices for product research and purchase decision, to get discounts and deals, and most importantly, to decide where to spend their time and money. Companies that do not take all of this into account and quickly develop a solid mobile strategy will be hurtin’ for certain.
Why is it relevant? Many big tech companies and organizations such as Google and W3C (the World Wide Web Consortium) are pushing for HTML5 to be the universal standard for Internet browsing. Within a few years, almost all browsers should be optimized for HTML5. Many app developers like the idea of creating mobile apps in HTML5 because it is “device agnostic,” i.e. because it is web-based, any apps built in HTML5 should work over all mobile operating systems.
How will it affect my business? If you buy into the idea that mobile, and therefore mobile apps, are the future, then HTML5 can make things easier and cheaper. Why? Mainly because any apps you create can be updated without users having to download new versions. You also wouldn’t have to pay for multiple iterations of your app on different mobile operating systems. Aside from that, many people feel that HTML5 provides a richer user experience (UX).
SOCIAL MOBILE LOCAL
What is it? Basically, it’s the process by which most people will interact with brands moving forward. How will they do this? By accessing your web-based business information and content from a mobile device, using social media for context and comment, and finding solutions that are oftentimes hyper-local. The unifying force of this social/mobile/local paradigm is the mobile device, which allows consumers to effortlessly coordinate these efforts.
Why is it Relevant? Increasingly, this is how your target audience will find, assess the merits of, and decide whether to work with, your brand.
How will it affect my business? If your business has a physical location, the social/mobile/local interactive paradigm will affect your brand on some level, for those in the retail and services industry, especially so. Companies without a physical location must also assess how the social/mobile/local paradigm will affect their online positioning.
What is it? My personal favorite. Google has teamed up with Avatar director James Cameron and X-Prize CEO Peter Diamandis for a space venture that will possibly involve mining asteroids. The venture, aptly named Planetary Resources Inc., plans to “overlay two critical sectors — space exploration and natural resources — to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP” and “help ensure humanity’s prosperity,” according to a company press release.²
Why is it Relevant? Remember all of those billions of mobile devices that are coming around the bend? Their production is dependent upon certain rare earth metals which, as their name implies, are rare. Happily, many of the small asteroids in near-Earth orbit are teaming with these metals, to the tune of many trillions of dollars.
How will it affect my business? The short answer is it probably won’t- at least not immediately. Give it another few decades, however, and you may be anxiously awaiting the next Planetary X shipment from asteroid phi-beta-cappa. For those of you who think I’m kidding, you can read more about the story here.
So there you have it, four Marketing Tech trends that will likely impact your bottom-line, and one that may or may not (thus the ½).Follow @chrshorton
¹ eMarketer, “Tablet Shopping Growing, but Retailers Must Keep Up”
² Mashable, “Google Execs, James Cameron Plan Space Venture”