Five Top Trends in Online Marketing for 2011

In 2010, digi­tal mar­ke­ting recor­ded a dis­pro­por­tio­na­te­ly high growth. Howe­ver, in the maze of pos­si­bi­li­ties, it is essen­ti­al not to loo­se sight of important tar­gets. Many com­pa­nies are infec­ted by the gene­ral eupho­ria sur­roun­ding soci­al media, wit­hout having done their over­all home­work. For the year end, we have sum­med up a pre­view of what will be real­ly important in online dia­lo­gue mar­ke­ting in 2011.

Trend 1: Marketing Process Management – Service Orientation Instead of Broadcasting

Mar­ke­ting and custo­mer ser­vice go hand in hand and will grow into a core digi­tal requi­re­ment for com­pa­nies. In a stu­dy by manage­ment con­sul­tant dete­con, 85% of the par­ti­ci­pants fore­cast that auto­ma­ti­on and self-ser­vices will beco­me a sub­stan­ti­al trend in future custo­mer ser­vice. User fri­end­li­ness and expe­ri­en­ti­al ori­en­ta­ti­on are fore­front. In view of the increa­sing com­pe­ti­ti­ve pres­su­re, it is important to inte­gra­te the most sui­ta­ble online dia­lo­gue mar­ke­ting in all busi­ness pro­ces­ses. Thanks to decrea­sing suc­cess rates, the clas­sic delu­ge of broad­cast direct mar­ke­ting will soo­ner or later reach the end of its use­ful­ness. Custo­mers are alrea­dy reques­ting indi­vi­du­al care and a rele­vant bene­fit from mar­ke­ting dia­lo­gue. In order to avo­id that this task beco­mes a cost trap, many com­pa­nies have a tech­no­lo­gi­cal and orga­ni­sa­tio­nal re-engi­nee­ring of mar­ke­ting and ser­vice pro­ces­ses on their agen­da for 2011. Dia­lo­gue mar­ke­ting, CRM and ERP sys­tems and last but not least the busi­ness cul­tu­re requi­red for the­se new tasks are being scru­ti­ni­s­ed. Howe­ver, it is worth it – this is the con­clu­si­on of a stu­dy by For­res­ter. 62% of all ques­tio­ned IT and busi­ness decisi­on makers alrea­dy sta­te, that the invest­ments in modern CRM con­cepts have led to grea­ter custo­mer satis­fac­tion. 54% saw the decrea­se as having a posi­ti­ve impact and 38% even regis­te­red an increa­se in their tur­no­ver.

Trend 2: Centralising Data and Privacy Handling

With the con­sis­tent custo­mer ori­en­ta­ti­on of the mar­ke­ting pro­ces­ses, a well-known topic reap­pears on the agen­da: the cen­tra­li­sa­ti­on and clea­ring of custo­mer data. The majo­ri­ty of busi­nes­ses still ope­ra­te with hete­ro­ge­ne­ous data silos. In four out of five com­pa­nies, custo­mer data and the know­ledge asso­cia­ted with it, are stored in sepa­ra­te, not lin­ked sys­tems and are part­ly red­un­dant and often out­da­ted. Last but not least, gro­wing demands on legal impli­ca­ti­ons are tur­ning into a real issue. The con­cepts and sys­tems in use are often dated, grown over time and unsui­ta­ble for modern dia­lo­gue mar­ke­ting and the manage­ment of terms and con­di­ti­ons for data usa­ge requi­red for it. Accord­ing to a stu­dy on indus­tri­al enter­pri­ses, in near­ly half of all com­pa­nies, the­re is no clear infor­ma­ti­on or no pro­of of con­sent regar­ding data usa­ge for mar­ke­ting pur­po­ses. Apart from the cen­tra­li­sa­ti­on of sys­tems, the impro­ve­ment of the pro­of and the expan­si­on of the con­sent for data usa­ge will ulti­mate­ly beco­me an urgent task.

Trend 3: Individualisation in Real-time Instead of One-off Segmentation

With the clearan­ce and cen­tra­li­sa­ti­on of exis­ting data, the first step is taken. Howe­ver, the capa­ci­ty to dyna­mi­cal­ly pro­cess mar­ke­ting data will be deman­ding as well as decisi­ve for future com­pe­ti­tiveness of com­pa­nies. Many com­pa­nies still restrict them­sel­ves to the collec­tion and sto­rage of data from custo­mer rela­ti­ons, which are then in the best case sce­n­a­rio eva­lua­ted in dia­grams and pre­sen­ta­ti­ons. Annu­al ana­ly­ses for the seg­men­ta­ti­on of tar­get groups and plan­ning of impro­ve­ment mea­su­res in view of the con­ti­nuous­ly increa­sing speed of custo­mer trends are no more up to date. Ins­tead, infra­st­ruc­tures are requi­red, which can cope with the gra­nu­la­ri­sa­ti­on of custo­mer seg­ments and sup­port a pro­ces­sing of infor­ma­ti­on, that allows mar­ke­ting decisi­ons in real-time. This is the basis for the requi­red auto­ma­ti­on of the mar­ke­ting pro­ces­ses.

Trend 4: Social CRM

The trend to com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on via soci­al media is unstopp­a­ble. Pri­va­te life as well as pro­fes­sio­nal world are increa­singly pene­tra­ted by digi­tal soci­al nets. The first wave of eupho­ria will be fol­lo­wed by real mat­ter in 2011. 70% of par­ti­ci­pants in a stu­dy by dete­con belie­ve that soci­al media is an important ser­vice chan­nel of the future. In the future, com­pa­nies will con­duct vital pro­ces­ses of their custo­mer ser­vice via public dia­lo­gues and estab­lish custo­mer loyal­ty on a new, much more per­so­nal level. Soci­al media will the­re­fo­re increa­singly beco­me a chal­len­ge in the con­text of custo­mer manage­ment. The con­trol of this task will shift from web mar­ke­ting to the CRM depart­ment, whe­re cen­tral ser­vice pro­ces­ses must come tog­e­ther. A new core task in this con­text will be the exploi­ta­ti­on of soci­al media for the genera­ti­on of leads.

Trend 5: User Engagement Throughout All Channels

Cross media has been preached for a long time alrea­dy and in fact, the task to reach custo­mers and retain them in com­pre­hen­si­ve com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on is beco­m­ing more and more chal­len­ging. Even in online dia­lo­gue mar­ke­ting, the com­ple­xi­ty of chan­nels is gro­wing. In addi­ti­on to clas­sic email mar­ke­ting, the­re are now mobi­le tar­get groups, messa­ging ser­vices estab­lish them­sel­ves fur­ther wit­hin soci­al media and pre­mi­um mail ser­vices, such as Trusted Dia­log and Good­mail, expand emails by fur­ther fea­tures and requi­re­ments. For mar­ke­ters, this means, in 2011, they need to fur­ther press ahead the net­work of chan­nels in the dia­lo­gue con­cept and the tech­no­lo­gy behind it. Lead genera­ti­on and dia­lo­gue mar­ke­ting are now not only taking place via a hand­ful of touch points, but via all chan­nels. It is essen­ti­al to con­sistent­ly moni­tor the per­for­mance of the mea­su­res and chan­nels used and hand­le the chan­nel-spe­ci­fic com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on through the ade­qua­te tech­no­lo­gy as effi­ci­ent­ly as pos­si­ble.


After the con­so­li­da­ti­on in mar­ke­ting in 2001, many com­pa­nies are still in a tran­si­tio­nal pha­se. The bene­fits of effi­ci­ent, par­ti­al­ly auto­ma­ted digi­tal mar­ke­ting are iden­ti­fied. Howe­ver, ade­qua­te infra­st­ruc­tures, pro­ces­ses and often also a real inter­na­li­sa­ti­on of the custo­mer ori­en­ta­ti­on are still lacking. 2011 will set the cour­se for a more indi­vi­du­al, ser­vice and user ori­en­ted mar­ke­ting com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on. Mar­kets, custo­mers and the self-image of com­pa­nies under­go a radi­cal chan­ge. The know­ledge and the tools are the­re – the right stra­te­gy and bra­ve actions deci­de the com­pe­ti­ti­on.