We all wish we had a crystal ball we can consult whenever we need to peek into the future. Short of offering our peers that magic crystal, we connected with some of the best and brightest to ask them to predict what 2012 has in store for us. We compiled the collective wisdom of 34 renowned experts in the field of strategy, marketing and technology in our free eBook: 2012 Social Marketing & New Media Predictions. We asked about the top social marketing developments, new technologies, biggest challenges, and top news resources. Here's a peek into the biggest social marketing developments you need to prepare for this year. Your magic keyword cloud reads: integration, mobile, new influence, relevancy marketing, social business revolution, real-time analytics, convergence, and trust as a social currency.
The Year of Integration - Paul Gillin, the author of Social Media Marketing for the Business Customer, sees 2012 as the year when social marketers would stop delegating social to junior managers. He predicts a new generation of integrated marketing programs that will be "much more sophisticated that anything we've seen in the past". Jay Baer, Laura Fitton, Steve Rubel, and Robert Collins agree. Robert Collins of Social Media Breakfast goes on to say that "social movements and programs will become more integrated within existing business processes and become the driving agent behind purpose-driven product innovation, lead generation, sales, R&D, customer service, market research, communications, brand development, company culture, and, yes, marketing".
Convergence: Pamela Johnston from the Lahey Clinic and Andrew Patterson from Major League baseball see the biggest development in 2012 in the convergence between the worlds of marketing and IT. Especially in healthcare, according to Pamela, "these two distinct teams are learning from and about each other in ways that will make us smarter, faster and more patient-centric in the years to come". Andrew sees Facebook and the open graph providing the context to make "our digital marketing efforts stick."
The Social Business Revolution - Brian Solis, the author of The End of Business as Usual, joins Matthew Grant of MarketingProfs in saying that in 2012 companies of all sizes will need to "transform their business and existing infrastructure, and reverse engineer the impact of business objectives and metrics." Matthew goes on to predict that corporate sites will be better and more deeply integrated with social media properties "bringing with it a more seamless experience as you move from the social media spokes to the proprietary hub."
Real-time - Globally recognized marketing strategist David Meerman Scott predicts that our ability to harness real-time in all aspects of marketing will be the true sign of the new nimble marketing organization in 2012. Marketers' need to react instantly to breaking news, changes on their websites and negative customer feedback, will give rise to a "new mentality, infrastructure and workflows to meaningfully participate in real time."
Relevancy marketing -Jason Falls, the author of No Bullshit Social Media, Stacy Debroff, Stephen Murphy see 2012 as the year of relevancy marketing. Jason Falls predicts that adding customer relationship management and tying social CRM functionality to marketing efforts will improve "our ability as marketers to hit relevant audiences with relevant messages at relevant times and in relevant places."
Mobile as a game-changer - Debi Kleiman, David Berkowitz, and Mark Lazen converge on mobile as the true game-changer in 2012. Debi Kleiman defined mobile's role as follows: "Social marketing use cases and the kind of data that can be gleaned when people are using social on their phones will require brands to completely rethink how they connect and communicate with consumers."
Influence and Metrics: If we had to pick one area that is going to experience the most change, it would have to be that of metrics and influence. Dave Peck, Ekaterina Walter, Marc Meyer, Michael Pace, Jonas Klit Nielsen, Tim Hayden expect that brands will be asking their agencies, vendors and internal stakeholders the real ROI questions and will be demanding the tools to measure the value. Ekaterina Walter predicts that "brands will need a way to feed these (ROI) metrics into one solution, which will aggregate, analyze and identify the right metrics that will help teams make the right decisions
Social maturity: Jim Storer, Doug Haslam, and Lora Kratchounova see 2012 more companies entering the social maturity stage in 2012. Jim predicts that companies will have "a more innate understanding of what they need to do in social media", and will be more specific about where they allocate budgets within social media. Jim and Lora see a shortage of experienced and talented community as more and more organizations seek to leverage social strategies.
Trust as a social currency - Erik Qualman, the author of Socialnomics and the newly printed Digital Leader, predicts 2012 will be the year "where digital leadership transcends privacy". He sees the winning social network providers as those that "both individuals and companies trust."
As you contemplate your plans for 2012, we encourage you to learn from the best and use their insights to inform your thinking, strategies and approach - download the free 2012 Social Marketing & New Media Predictions and let us know what you think. Best of luck in 2012.