Looking backwards and forwards: What we’ve learnt in 2010 vs what’s next in 2011

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[tweetmeme]Here’s my obligatory trends post. But lo, it’s not the standard list of trends from my perspective. Instead I sent out a plea to some respected comms folk and asked these two questions:

1. What was your biggest learning from a communications perspective in 2010?

2. What is your one, key communications trend or forecast for 2011?

Now, as you can see I didn’t want this to be just about social media, so I’ve kept a general comms theme and asked a range of people to answer this, not just social media folk. However,  some naturally took the social path. It was always going to happen. A huge thanks to all of you who responded to this, I’m always moved by how happy you are to give time to this kind of thing.

So, without further ado …

Benjamin Ellis // @benjaminellis

1. Context and Community is (almost) everything.

2. Profesionalization of Social Media use (in a bad way!) – and exciting new mobile apps.

Trey Pennington // @treypennington

1. Focus on the audience. It’s all about the audience.

2. You’ll hear a ton about “storytelling” next year. Most proponents won’t actually understand “storytelling.” Instead, they’ll jump on the bandwagon.

Josh Feldberg // @joshfeldberg

1. A social media campaign that isn’t well planned can quickly turn into a crises management exercise.

2. Local socialised search.

Sam Sethi // @ssethi

1. Track your brand across multiple platforms. Make sure you answer all negative noise or it will come back to bite you.

2. Companies will need to go the extra mile like Zappos and WineLibrary. Gary Vee’s new book the Thank You Economy and The Power of Pull by David Seigel show how the balance of power has switched to the consumers/customer and how they control the conversation.

Emily Leary (formerly Cagle) // @EmLeary

1. People like to be part of something, but that doesn’t mean we can keep asking them to produce our marketing for us (make a swish etc). Don’t ask them to do something  for  your brand, ask them to do something for themselves, with your brand’s help.

2. Aggregation tools based on Amazon-style ‘you may also like’ data.

Jon Holloway // @socialvation

1. People don’t follow our rules, they have their own rules. A change in people to be more social and changes in technology to make it easier to be always on, have changed the communication playing field.

2. The advent of the integrated digital journey, to include getting customers involved in the communication delivery, crowd sourcing, co-creation and the true birth of content marketing.

Neville Hobson // @jangles

1. Nothing has changed much in a decade in terms of what organizations need to do and how communication can help them. What has changed is the means.

2. More people in organizations reaching out directly to others, inside and outside the organisation, eclipsing formal processes. Essential requirement for guidance.

Andrew Grill // @andrewgrill

1. Social media is real time and 15 minutes is a lifetime when waiting for a response on Twittter.

2. Real time response becomes the norm – see this for some other trends

James Whatley // @whatleydude

1. Defend ideas.

2. Be smarter.

Adam Cohen // @adamcohen

1. No amount of social media can overcome a bad customer experience. Companies need to focus on maximizing the “wow” factor of each and every customer touchpoint.

2. 2011 will be the year social media is treated with the same level of “must do” and rigor as other interactive marketing tactics. Less shiny object syndrome, more practical application.

Ashley Goodall // @HybridComms

1. Everything is connected

2. Everything will be more connected

Becky Yardley // @beckyyardley

1. Social media.

2. Mobile marketing.

Scott Gould // @scottgould

1. Social Media is another channel to be integrated. It is this integration that is most lacking. Social Media mirrors offline behaviour merged with online behavior.

2. Communicating to individuals as social media tools allow powerful targeting and personalization

Mazher Abidi // @mazherabidi

1. Develop your message, your idea and what you’re trying to say and stick to it. Remain consistent. It will get you known. Maybe not immediately but eventually that is what you will be known by and for.

2. Businesses should realise the value of social COMMUNICATIONS (not just social media) and become socially aware. Being social will then become how businesses are run. Not just in comms, not just in advertising, but they will be social businesses.

Barry Furby // @barryfurby

1. The magic of social media is bringing people offline.

2. Mobile and tablet based web apps will be key.

Robert Clay // @marketingwizdom

1. Buyer behaviour has changed beyond recognition in past 10 years. First by web; then by rise of Google; then by social media; then by the move to mobile. We’re now in the age of mass empowerment

2. Facebook’s seemingly unstoppable ability to consume more and more of the web. The interconnectedness of it all.

Adam Vincenzini // @adamvincenzini

1. Don’t do social media for social media’s sake.

2. Tools like BlogDash and Linqia will help make reaching smaller communities a more streamlined and robust process

Joanne Jacobs // @joannejacobs

1. The need to get clients to articulate their needs rather than offer solutions.

2. Increased understanding of need for business transparency.

Neil McLoram // @neilmcloram

1. Social media is fantastic if used correctly. Getting a business or client to use it correctly, however, is not fantastic – and can represent a big waste of time and effort if their culture and attitude to adoption is not compatible with the demands necessary to make it succeed.

2. Development of Twitter to cater specifically for the dissemination of news releases to media and target audiences.

Keren Lerner // @topleftdesign

1. That you need to speak to your own clients regularly, and they are the best source of new referrals and repeat work.

2. More and more people will be changing their old static websites for WordPress and getting more involved in keeping their audience aware of their unique values and offerings.

Ed Hartigan // @EdHartigan

1. While social is playing a greater role in corporate communications, it is still operating in largely in silos.

2. I think there will be better systems integration (sCRM, monitoring) which will improve corporate comms and business intelligence

Vicki McIvor // @vickimcivor

1. The simplest ideas are usually the best.

2. Video will become even more powerful.

Paul Sutton // @thepaulsutton

1. How the social web is impacting buying behaviour and how as comms pros we need to take this into account.

2. Mobile. i know that’s very broad, but accessing the web from mobiles is getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and we have to start thinking in mobile terms.

Charlie Southwell // @charliesaidthat

1. Seriously forget about platforms and remember to focus on what value you are adding to the audience before even starting anything else.

2. Influence will become a massive market for people trying to optimise their online persona for their own benefit. (e.g. gaming klout etc).

Alan Howarth // @AlanHowarth

1. Social media is about creating relationships and being social first and driving business second.

2. Celeb – fan relationship will go the way of business and customer – it’ll become a two way street.

There were a few folk that didn’t give their names, but I wanted to add these as they were too good to leave out.

Anon 1

1 Fish where the fish are not where the fisherman gather. (love this one)

2. Niche yourself (is that like Elf Yourself?)

Anon 2

1. Immediacy of twitter in crisis management logistics.

2. Watch Facebook “likes” – get them on your site too.

What do you think? Do you agree? Is there anything missing? I’d LOVE to hear about what you’ve learnt over the last year and what you think will be big in 2011.

And what, you may ask, of my own answers? Well dear readers, that’s for another post this week as I’m going to go into a little more detail about what I’ve learnt (both personally and professionally) and where I think we’re headed next year.

Until then.

Gemma Went is founder of Red Cube Marketing, head blogger of The Cube and lover of horses (although allergic to them). If you need help with your marketing, pr or social media activity, get in touch.

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