Many important marketing moments happened in 2009. From inaugurating a new president to staring a treacherous economy in the face, it’s important to look back and give credit to the things in 2009 that helped change the word ‘marketing’ forever, especially those pioneered by small businesses in an effort to keep the economy going.
Don’t forget, if you want to share a marketing moment in 2009, please do so in the comments!
Presidential Race Won Through Social Media (And Email Marketing)
Regardless of which candidate you supported, the presidential race and the current administration’s approach to communication changed marketing. This was the first presidential race where candidates utilized YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter as much as they did traditional political advertising, and this shined a light on the way any campaign – political or otherwise – communicates with community. Social media leader Brent Leary documents Obama’s particular approach in full detail in Barack 2.0, and shares lessons for businesses who want to apply the concepts from the campaign’s marketing success. Once in office, the White House expanded their communication to leverage social media and email marketing capabilities, continuing the arc of social engagement well after inauguration.
Facebook Vanity URLs Became Available to People and Businesses
While this seems minor, it casts the importance on branding consistency and easy access so people can find the Facebook page they want. As companies, businesses and people realize they have a ‘Google resume,’ the race is on to own it across the board. URL consistency is key. Another important ramification of Facebook’s development is the idea of tapping into the largest online community and planting your flag where people are already engaged. With a Facebook vanity URL, one has solidified their Facebook identity once and for all.
Side story: When Facebook opened up the ability for others to claim a vanity URL to their profile, there was a rush for others to get their name before someone else got it. Someone even took our Infusionsoft vanity URL due to the popularity. Facebook opened up that ability for Fan Pages and we were able to get it back, along with thousands of other businesses.
The Year Twitter Blew Up
Twitter created the first-ever real-time forum of quick engagement the marketing world has ever seen. Some have paved the way by embracing everything about it (i.e. Comcast’s Frank Eliason), while others are still catching up and figuring it out. While so much is being said of the burgeoning site, we’ll keep it short and simple: It’s a beautiful thing, and we’re excited to see how it continues to push the boundaries of marketing, branding, community and engagement. You can always Tweet with us by sending messages to @Infusionsoft.
FTC Dropped the Banhammer on Shenanigans
This year the Federal Trade Commission made substantial changes to help regulate marketing and advertising to consumers including voice broadcasts, blogging and testimonials. These changes shocked and awed the blogosphere, marketers and businesses built on less-than-savory practices. This year, compared to the past, the regulatory beast woke up and advocated for consumers in a way yet seen across the landscape of online content. Everyone will be digesting the new regulations as they piece together 2010’s strategies.
Email Marketing NOT Replaced by Social Media
The relevance of email marketing has been a hot topic this year in our industry, and that’s a good thing. As online engagement becomes more social, email marketing has to keep up. Social media has pushed the meaning of communication, and it’s exciting to see the evolution of email, as well many more businesses using email marketing in their campaigns. Next year email marketing spend is expected to increase, and it must be integrated with a solid social media plan.
Engagement, Not Number of Followers, Matter
We learned engagement matters, not the number of followers or size of your email list. While it was an effective stunt, Ashton Kutcher’s competition against CNN in a race for followers spoke to us marketers about the meaning of a “million followers” and helped us examine and improve our interactions with our audience. The same holds true for email marketing: new tools and measurement make it possible for a marketer of any size measure engagement and flush dead weight off their email list. Quality over quantity.
Social CRM Gets Real
Analysts and industry insiders have discussed the advent of “Social CRM” for a year or two now. This year it grew from concept to a feature in demand for many businesses. With the unpredictable economy, businesses desired to make sure they were making smart decisions with their customers and their marketing, and wanted to deliver results from a CRM; not just point to it as a static database. Destination CRM did a feature this year on where exactly “Social CRM” fits into the organization, and companies are forging ahead to make CRM social and “alive.” Here at Infusionsoft, we benefit and leverage Helpstream for “social support” and have seen remarkable results from it.
Motivate to Automate
This year, many companies have shifted efforts toward automating customer service, marketing and operations more than before. This is likely due to everything from lower costs to lower headcounts (doing more with less), and it has introduced new efficiencies in the marketplace. But with automation does not come less meaning. Remarkably, these automation technologies have also become smarter, and given the user greater control and insight into their processes and results.
Measuring Up and Providing Value
If 2008 was the year of ideas, 2009 began the implementation and measurement of them – based on the economic need to show quantifiable value, numbers and correlate marketing efforts to hard sales numbers. Marketing software and services now offer powerful reporting suites to give insights into the performance and value of their work. This has transcended marketing from “fluff” to “stuff” for businesses, and the ability to associate marketing activity to revenue for the company.
The Lines Between B2C and B2B Were Blurred
A legitimate and large discussion amongst marketers and sales reps across many industries this year has all but concluded that B2B buyers aren’t totally unreachable. Through the power of email, networking, and social media, buyers are accessible more than ever before. The idea is that B2B buyers are consumers: they use search and they depend on their connections to get trusted recommendations on products and services. Throughout 2010, I expect B2B to no longer become a barrier to sales and make it easier for people to transact among each other.
Accounts Receivable Collects With Marketing
More than previous years, marketing plays an active role in working with accounts receivable (internal collections) in minimizing unwarranted chargebacks, past-due accounts and overall expectations perceived from customers. Essentially, during the treacherous economy, marketing has worked more closely with finance in ensuring people are happy and, thus, is able to collect the cash. Likewise, these departments have been using collection opportunities to work with customers from a marketing function, and to give them individualized payment plans and success steps so they can be retained as happy and repeat customers.
We are excited to see marketing’s gears shift so tremendously – from annoying to timely, lame to interesting, boring to fun, wasteful to useful and scripted to sincerely engaged. Whether taught through mistakes or successes, we as consumers, buyers, advertisers and marketers have taken these lessons in and will bring them with us close to heart in 2010.
What marketing moments do your remember from 2009?
[Photo Credits: takomabibelot, yorkjason, adria.richards, mich.peru, Robyn Gallagher, cambodia4kidsorg, stevendepolo, gauravonomics, tallkev, vrypan, rmburnes, caseywest on Flickr; Creative Commons licensed.]