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The Top 15 Marketing & Social Media Trends To Watch In 2011

Now that we are in the new year of planning, marketing teams everywhere are crafting and executing their plans for the next 12 months. It’s going to be a busy and competitive year, and in looking back at 2010 there were plenty of big developments that point to a 2011 year filled with innovation, new business models, possibilities for new technologies like mobile and tablets and continued growth and attention on social media.

I spent the last week reading many recaps from other blogs and media properties, as well as looking back on some of the most noteworthy developments over the course of 2010. I originally planned on creating a list of the top ten trends I’ll be watching for and sharing with clients, but as I compiled this list I found myself landing on 15 big trends instead. Below is an embedded presentation detailing the 15 trends, and they are highlighted in short form in this post as well.

  1. Likeonomics
  2. Approachable Celebrity
  3. Desperate Simplification
  4. Essential Integration
  5. Rise of Curation
  6. Visualized Data
  7. Crowdsourced Innovation
  8. Instant PR & Customer Service
  9. App-fication of the Web
  10. Reimagining Charity
  11. Employees As Heroes
  12. Locationcasting
  13. Brutal Transparency
  14. Addictive Randomness
  15. Culting Of Retail

What do you think about this list? Are there any others you would add that you’ll be watching for in 2011? Share them in a comment and I’ll add a few of the best suggestions to the list.

20 thoughts on “The Top 15 Marketing & Social Media Trends To Watch In 2011”

  1. Good stuff Rohit. One major area that I’d like to see organizations address is the issue of Application and Data Privacy.

    With the App-fication of the web, more and more “guys and gals in a garage” will be developing the next Angry Birds. The amount of data that they will use, particularly around unique phone identifiers and location data is huge and most developers don’t really know what they are doing regarding the proper management of data and privacy.

    Shaun Dakin- @ShaunDakin
    Fellow, The Future of Privacy Forum

    Founder, PrivacyCamp

  2. Great, concise presentation Rohit! Working, as I do, for a B2B agency, it’s a challenge to find suitable social opportunities for our clients where an ROI can be demonstrated. Difficult to see hard-nose buyers ‘Liking’ a supplier’s FB page, but slides 6 and 11 have already given me some new ideas!

    Happy New Year!

  3. Hi can you or anyone in this discussion help me understandbetter those new termsin the top 15 list please? only few resonate to me… I m researching onnew trends. At least a one line description of each of those would help! thanks a lot! Gabriela

  4. Rohit: Kudos on this short but overly helpful post. I’m really intrigued on finding out more on trend #3 as I think is what will make or break lots of companies and ideas in the new year. I can tell you I can use some simplification myself! So many platforms and so much content, the Internet is starting to be a scary place for lots of us. Good luck in 2011 and hope I can see you around sometime during the next 364 days! ~Paul

  5. There’s a lot of insight here, Ro, but in some ways less would be more.

    Among these, which are the 3 most significant?

    You could bucket these into Simplification, Personification (or brands, celebs, etc.), and Integration (breaking the lines between online and off.) In some sense I think those are the themes in play for 2011.

  6. @Shaun – Great point and a big area of concern not only for safety reasons, but also because this issue could derail the potential of geolocated marketing if the industry does not proactively address it.

    @Steve – Thanks for sharing a comment Steve, B2B is very important for me not only because a lot of my work is for these types of businesses, but also because I happen to work for a B2B company myself!

    @Gabriela – Check out the top of each slide and you’ll find a one line summary of each trend. I think that should help!

    @Paul – Hope to see you as well and thanks for the comment.

    @Mike – Thanks, I think you’re already latching onto the idea of “Desperate Simplification.” 🙂 Actually, I’m working on a shorter version of this that will inspire a new column from my to be published on the American Express Open Forum site. I’ll share the link here once that post comes out.

  7. #1 “likeonomics” is in the right spot. I do not feel like enough companies realize how important this is. The consumer does not just have to like the product or the service being provided, they have to like the company as a whole. This means better customer service, better communication and more options.

  8. Hey Rohit,

    Great to meet you at BlogWorld. I don’t know who has our picture.

    I’m digging your list, and it’s pushing me even further in the direction of envisioning how the world is going to look 5 years from now with the mainstreaming of some of the tech that’s emerged in the last 2 years. Will we tweet from screens on our refrigerators? Will we Skype through our TV screens? What’s going to happen to the major networks if they keep resisting the webification of the world?

    Mixed in with these trends you’ve nailed, it’s a lot to think about.

  9. Rohit- Great trends! All points so vital for a cohesive strategy for the future and makes for a successful marketing plan. Although the question is like you said most companies have trouble successfully integrating.

    I especially LOVE #7- Crowdsourced Innovation, as engaging people nowadays is EXTREMELY tough!!! So being creative, and coming up with a smart, witty and enticing approach for engagement is like the holy grail. Then all these other trends you mention come back around full circle for a successful strategy.

    The one area I did want to ask you is what is your thoughts on video marketing/engaging through that medium, I am seeing so much talk on that being another big trend. And what is your take on engaging social media influencers, whether they are through celebrities tweets, blogs or through bloggers with huge followings -to get your company press, message, product through that method?

    I so appreciate your feedback and I am a devoted follower of your blog – LOVE IT! Keep the amazing posts coming!

    As I am Finalist for the 2011 Event Solutions Spotlight Award- Marketing Professional of the Year
    Under Marketing Professional Category at:

  10. Your observations and predictions are the validation I have been searching for. These ideas are all about taking social media another step – to true personalization and that which logically follows – real, honest-to-goodness engagement, something to which many pay lip service but never really deliver.

  11. I’d like to see you expand on each of these topics with more examples and language for the small business marketer. It’s all good stuff, and essential to bring to our customers. Marketers like me are translating marketing trends – especially digital media – on a regular basis for our mom and pop businesses (who employ the majority of the workers,after all) to help them make sound marketing decisions.

  12. Likenomics! I love the term for one and agree with other commentst that many businesses still do not understand the economic potential of building a strong online social network following.


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Rohit is the author of 10 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.


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