Outlook 2006: Welcome
As is our practice, we have assembled the leading minds in marketing and media to discuss each DM vertical with granularity and clarity. I urge you to turn every page and read every article. Ones that I wouldn't miss are Don Libey's take on the new catalog and The Feedroom chief Bart Feder's Q&A on technology's impact on media, content and advertising. Heather Dougherty of Nielsen//NetRatings is rightly optimistic about e-commerce, and major Draft Inc. agencies feel the same way about the growing measurability trend worldwide.
Here are some of the trends I expect to see this year:
• Buzz marketing, or word of mouth, will be big. At least, talk of it will be.
• E-commerce will be more about "interactions, not transactions," as The Home Depot Inc. chairman/CEO Bob Nardelli says.
• Mergers and acquisitions of direct and interactive agencies as well as search and e-mail marketing services firms will rise.
• Marketers will start turning to the Internet for branding.
• Google - possibly the best advertising vehicle to date - will face pushback from competitors, media, regulators and even Wall Street. They become another Microsoft if the consumer turns against them. Easy on the global ambitions talk.
• Online publishers will place more content behind walls.
• Blogs and consumer-generated media will proliferate. The American consumer is becoming the American producer. If it can happen online, it can happen offline.
• Broadband's increased household penetration will dramatically change Internet advertising. It also will enable smart television broadcasters to better adapt to online media.
• Apple Computer will become content providers' biggest ally in creating a culture where consumers pay for intellectual property - audio, video or written.
• Content - audio, video, words - will be delivered on smaller and smaller screens. Paradoxically, sales of big-screen HDTV sets will soar, setting in motion one of the biggest contradictions of our age.
• Search, e-mail and public relations will receive more marketing dollars.
• Everyone will continue to bash the 30-second television spot without understanding the principles of marketing. Every marketing vehicle has its place in a media plan and the consumer purchase consideration cycle.
• The catalog becomes more of a print showroom to online inventory and sales.
• The word "multichannel" will compete with "word of mouth" for cliché of the year.
• Walmart.com may overtake Amazon as the No. 1 retailer online.
• Business-to-business publications will lose more readers and advertisers to the Internet. Savvy publishers will follow them.
• Postal reform and rate hikes: Don't ask.
• More outsourcing of call centers even as inbound call and Web chat services opportunities abound here. India: worry about the 200 million Chinese learning English.