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6 Online Marketing Trends to Watch in 2009

January 22, 2009 By Sean O'Neal
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2008 was a tumultuous year for marketers — it exposed cracks in many of the marketing strategies advertisers have relied on for so long. In 2009, marketers need to rethink their business strategies in order to remain relevant this year and beyond. I may not have a crystal ball, but here are a few trends I expect we'll see this year:

1. Drought across traditional media. Despite the decreased media spend across all channels, traditional media such as broadcast and print will suffer the biggest blows as advertisers place their existing dollars in digital strategies. The ability for advertisers to accurately measure whom they're actually reaching will be the key selling point of digital media.

2. Show me the performance. Performance-based media companies will thrive in the downturn. They'll exploit the demand for cost-per-action media opportunities and the ability to generate guaranteed results.

3. Smarter spending. With budgets shrinking, advertisers, marketers and agencies vigilantly will scrutinize where to allocate every dollar and resource they have. Investing in unproven channels and developing elaborate branding campaigns will end, while campaigns and channels that have proven successful in the past will continue to be leveraged.

4. Know thy customer. Marketers can't afford to spend media dollars on messages that reach the wrong audiences. Instead, they'll use advanced audience analytics to reach their ideal customers. Marketers will want to layer demographic targeting with known behavior targeting to further hone in on their perfect audiences. Marketers also will look to identify other pockets of interest within new audience groups for cross-sell, upsell and brand refocus strategies. By adding multiple layers of data to target, marketers will see a significant lift in campaign performance.

5. Existing customers are the best customers. Smart marketers will use cost-effective channels such as e-mail to extend the lifetime value of their existing customer bases through integrated retention, loyalty and cross-marketing programs.

6. Companies on equal footing. Finally, we'll see an increased amount of consolidation among media companies. However, in complete contrast to previous years when companies were overvalued and taken over by larger players, consolidation will not be in the form of acquisitions, but rather in mergers of equals.

These are just a few of the subjects I believe will make headlines in 2009. While it's difficult to be optimistic about the coming year, I believe if these predictions come true, it will help lay the foundation for recovery and prosperity in the coming years.

Sean O'Neal is chief revenue officer at Datran Media, an online marketing services firm based in New York. Reach Sean at sean@datranmedia.com.


 

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COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
Electra's Monograms - Posted on January 22, 2009
Great article, but I would have loved to heard your thoughts and predictions on social media as it relates to marketing. Totally agree with your theory on performance based or CPA services increasing in demand. Wonder if you think services like Twitter and Facebook will start charging fees...hmmm....let's hope not!
Mark Bolitho - Posted on January 26, 2009
Hi Sean

We are proof that some of your points are bang on.

Two big barriers to entry are upfront cost, and over-complicated offerings.

With regard to your 2nd and 3rd points...
I'm trying to be creative this year and have started to offer a performance-based deal on our e-commerce services. So far so good; I'm talking to a big high-street name at the moment because of our willingness to put our money where our mouth is!

Things are tighter out there, and no money is being spent without very careful consideration.
I feel the days are numbered for e-com web proders who aren't prepared to go the extra mile and give some kind of performance guarantee.

It isn't enough sometimes to just rely on a track record - external factors were different last year, and retailers especially are the first to point this out.

We're going well this year, stealing work from under the noses of some big, recognised platforms because of their high costs and inflexibility to adapt - long may it continue!

Mark.

Click here to view archived comments...
Archived Comments:
Electra's Monograms - Posted on January 22, 2009
Great article, but I would have loved to heard your thoughts and predictions on social media as it relates to marketing. Totally agree with your theory on performance based or CPA services increasing in demand. Wonder if you think services like Twitter and Facebook will start charging fees...hmmm....let's hope not!
Mark Bolitho - Posted on January 26, 2009
Hi Sean

We are proof that some of your points are bang on.

Two big barriers to entry are upfront cost, and over-complicated offerings.

With regard to your 2nd and 3rd points...
I'm trying to be creative this year and have started to offer a performance-based deal on our e-commerce services. So far so good; I'm talking to a big high-street name at the moment because of our willingness to put our money where our mouth is!

Things are tighter out there, and no money is being spent without very careful consideration.
I feel the days are numbered for e-com web proders who aren't prepared to go the extra mile and give some kind of performance guarantee.

It isn't enough sometimes to just rely on a track record - external factors were different last year, and retailers especially are the first to point this out.

We're going well this year, stealing work from under the noses of some big, recognised platforms because of their high costs and inflexibility to adapt - long may it continue!

Mark.