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I have been catching up on all of my reading lately and notice that there are a lot of posts centered around predictions in email and social media for the coming year. It seems most of what I read is somewhat the same and pretty predictable. That said, I don’t believe in predictions….never have and never will.
One thing I do believe in is trends. There certainly are a lot of trends about email and social circling around out there and most of the people that I respect in the business are pretty spot on when it comes to identifying trends. However, I was asked recently to identify the top 5 trends going into 2011. My list is by no means and exhaustive list, but its a list nonetheless. I would be curious as to what you think your top 3 or 5 trends are for 2011.
1. 2011 will finally be the year where the consumer/subscriber controls the inbox and the email programs that they subscribe too. With the introductions of priority inbox, yahoo’s engagement rules, hotmail’s sweep feature and other ISP’s launching inbox engagement features, never before has letting the behavior of the subscriber dictate what will end up there. The subscriber might not even realize that what they do in there will have a dramatic affect on what they will see, but this will put enormous pressure on companies who send out email to be a bit smarter in their approach.
2. The year of the coupon or deal of the day is upon us. With the ongoing success of daily deal sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial companies will have no choice but to introduce programs which will cater to this type of deal seeker. We are already seeing companies such as Yelp, Walmart and Travelzoo getting into the mix and the trend will likely continue for some of the other major retailers.
3. Mobile is the new black. If you are only thinking about how your emails should look on these tiny devices, you are only 1/2 way there. Mobile can play a substantial role in acquisition and provide a great way to communicate to people about various things. Think of mobile as the new silly putty….you can shape it, stretch it and mold it into many many things.
4. Simplicity and unity. A lot of companies are thinking too hard about their email program and social CRM strategy. People consume so much information so quickly out there that there is a huge rise in digital attention deficiency. People are overwhelmed and I see a dramatic shift to a more simplistic email program. I think the days of long emails, with so much information are going to have to go away. People want value. People want choice and people demand a personal one to one experience with companies. And..they want it quickly. Enter social media and now things get a little complicated. Not so…I believe that companies need to integrate and ensure that their email programs align with their social media efforts. For the most part (notwithstanding testing) messages across all channels need to be unified and simplistic in nature. People want it and demand it and they want to make sure they can get the message across all channels that they play in.
5. **Disclosure: This is my wild card prediction for 2011** The Internet enabled TV is gaining popularity and I cannot help but wonder if the companies are looking at either developing apps for these things which will be able to identify potential subscribers and target them based on their viewing habits. Not sure where this could lead to and I am certainly not in the position to fully comprehend this, but I wonder if there is an opportunity for someone to develop this sort of technology. It does have the potential to be uber creepy or extremely successful. I predict that by the end of 2011 we will see something emerge which will take on a certain flavor of this.
What are your thoughts about my 5 things? Plain? Boring? Same old…same old? Discuss.