Trends I’m Watching in 2010

Trends I’m Watching in 2010

Small is the new big– The Artisan Movement
In an attempt to get “authentic” Starbucks is “de-branding“. consumers want artisanal zeal from their brands. Wall mart has the price position– every other brand position up for grabs next year. The recession kicked the chessboard.

People talk about “authentic” but words matter, and authentic is the wrong word. “Authentic” is defined by what it isn’t. In a culture full of pre-fab formula, finding something made with passion more than margin becomes more valuable as we value care over quantity. In all things I’m looking for consumers to look for “signs of the hand” to communicate value.

Social Media in the Enterprise
“e-mail is the new snail mail”. It’s really not about Twitter and Facebook in the office. It’s about MindTouchYammer and OpenfireIn 2010 your employees will do whatever it takes to work faster and smarter. If you don’t provide the tools, your employees will find their own. This creates all kinds of problems, not the least of which is Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. I’m looking at you IT department.

Social Media in Marketing Communications
That’s not to say the marketing department won’t continue to be obsessed with consumers in the social media space. Listening is the new speaking. This is the most radical mindset whipsaw ever. Quit worrying about what to say in social media and start learning to listen and share. Consumers expect you to be as accessible as their friends, but not as chatty. Say something useful, or don’t say anything at all. Advertising better have a call to action or it will be skipped faster than a pizza delivery scene.

Search, groups and filters are critical for listening. Computers still won’t be able to get sentiment. You have to do that work yourself. Saddle up.

Customer collaboration– Everything is beta.
Related to social CRM, ya gotta give to get. The responsibility of prototyping still rests on the enterprise. Customers don’t invent–they react. Test test test. Know that failure is the price of innovation. To get the profit from Innovation as a noun you need to realize the expense of innovation as a verb. You can’t have one without the other. This is a lesson for many wining companies next year

The Cloud –and the Backlash
“The Cloud” is big and with the advent of netbooks and smarter smart phones the cloud is where people are released from the confines of the desk. Cloud apps fail occasionally though, and users REALLY hate that. Business disruption is a cost of entry. The cloud is cheap and smart–it’s not going away despite inevitable setbacks.

SAAS and all it permutations will be all over the news– they have been for years. The difference in 2010 is that small and mid-sized companies will be reliant on them and some robust cloud services will fail for short excruciating bursts of inactivity.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water though. Many of us remember email failure in years past. The cloud is here to stay and it will make many knowledge workers more liberated than ever.

The Beginning of Going off the Grid
Just as corporations embrace the social web people will begin to disconnect because it will feel less like fun and more like work. This disconnection will happen slowly and it will be costly and thus an air of snobbery will come with this uncoupling. The exodus will be slow and mostly unnoticed, but it will be happening. MarComm with people that you have no relationship will get even tougher, and metrics even more unreliable as people block behavioral analytics scripts and begin to spend less time on Facebook

This is good news for big/legacy media. Cheap entertainment continues to be useful even as people pay for more content. There will be stimulus for small biz but hiring won’t start until Q4. We’ve had record increases in productivity. It’s easier to invest in productivity technology than people. Count on it.

Location-based gaming will be the exception to this nascent disintegration as people begin to enjoy going out again and sharing their experiences with their peers and friends.