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Marketing Methods and Trends - What's New for 2012?

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We are one year into a new decade and we have all seen the shift in how we market and reach consumers. In order to be efficient in marketing, it's important to realize what will work and what marketing methods are being left by the wayside. Now, with that being said please understand that my statement of trends is broad and may not reach your specific demographic. For example, if you serve a senior market a yellow page may very well still bring in customers for you, but if your customer is under the age of 60 it's best to put those dollar elsewhere.

This year there are five marketing methods and trends that I'll be watching with a close eye. We've seen many changes over the last few years and this year will be no different. Trends and methods that I'll be watching closely this year include:

Mobile Marketing
In a report done by CTIA Wireless Association it was reported that 250+ million Americans carry mobile phones - that's over 80% of the nations population. Mobile applications will continue to be developed and smartphones and tablet PCs will remain a part of our daily lives. It's no longer just about mobile access to email, messaging, calendars and websites. We will see more location based services, mobile gaming, applications, and event-based mobile marketing. We've been inundated with new technology from Apple's iPhone, iPad and Google's Android integration. I guarantee it won't stop there, we will continue to see mobile marketing innovations throughout 2012 and beyond. We will see new devices, faster speeds, and location based technologies integrated with one another. If you are a marketer and you've not explored the avenue of mobile marketing, this is your year. Get on the bus or get left behind.

Social Marketing Integration
In 2011 companies began to take social media marketing seriously and because of that we saw social media explode as a marketing tool. This year we will begin to see companies heavily integrate social media into their overall marketing plan, which is how it should have been done in the first place, but better late than never. We will see social media expand from a tool used primarily for customer service and brand management to being used to collect customer data and enable better target marketing of products and services that those customer are interested.

Traditional Marketing Continues to Diminishes
This is always a touchy subject, because there are so many that don't want to say goodbye to the traditional marketing. Interactive or real-time marketing is easy to measure, engage and gain real time statistics that allows us to change a marketing message quickly. Customers are continuing to go online to search for information and in return making their purchases online. It's important that marketers move their marketing dollars to where the consumers are and right now that's making a gigantic shift to online. Internet marketing enables us to reach targeted audiences online, advertising costs are lower and they are easier to measure. What's not to love about interactive marketing? Overall marketing budgets will continue to shift to a higher spend online and the traditional marketing spend will continue to diminish.

Consumers Will Determine Value
In today's economy consumers are watching their pennies and because of this they will only spend on purchases that they consider to be of value. They will continue to seek value in every dollar spent and they will determine whether it's value, not you. Consumers no longer purchase just because an item is on sale, rather they will justify every dollar spent. This means you must marketing the value of your product or service in order to get consumers to open their wallets - if there is no value, they simply will not purchase.

Regulations Abound
This is a trend that makes many of us as marketers anxious. It's been apparent in the last six months that the FTC is looking at regulating the online industry. We started a few years ago with disclosures for blog reviews and paid endorsements. As recent as the last month, we've seen the potential of SOPA passing. I'm not sure how this will play out in the next year and beyond, but I do believe we will see regulations implemented when it comes to the internet industry and many of those regulations will affect us as marketers.

Relationships will Drive Loyalty and Sales
I listed this last year, but I believe it will still hold true in 2012. Customers want to know they matter to you and your staff. They evaluate now more than ever how they are treated, whether or not your business cares about their satisfaction. Gone are the days that they just purchase out of convenience. If you can give the best customer care, you will find that you will create consumers that are loyal to you, regardless of whether or not you have the least expensive price. They realize that in tough economic times their loyalty to you could be the life or death of your business and that's often why they will go out of their way to spend their hard-earned dollars in your place of business - if you have helped in creating loyalty by giving them extraordinary care.

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