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What we can learn from 2010 technology trends

If 2010 was the year of the individual technological explosion, when everyone was leaping toward the latest emerging technology, 2011 will be the year when we look before we leap and land in just the right spot. As we reach 2011, we’ve become increasingly aware of the shortfalls of blindly attaching a technological add-on to an idea.

In 2010, it seemed many marketers used technology for its own sake, to create buzz, or to simply adopt it before a competitor did, but as we enter 2011 we’re learning how to engage with new technologies in smarter ways.

That being said, many of those buzz-worthy trends, like gaming, were actually highly nuanced concepts that required significant thought. In 2011, marketers will have to learn all they can about those concepts to understand the mechanics behind them so they can apply them to their full potential.

As adoption of emerging technology grows, so does the need for broader knowledge of how consumers are interacting with those technologies. In addition to stats on device ownership, marketers need to learn about device behavior and digital desires, and even user experience design. While Foursquare add-ons were common in 2010, brands this year will have to consider whether their target market has a smartphone, downloads apps, or even wants to know more about the brand while on the go.

When marketers got trigger happy in 2010 and began to implement technology to any idea, the brand was sometimes lost in the process. The latest augmented reality technology may have made for an exciting execution, but when it failed to ladder up to the brand, it became a wasted opportunity. 2011 will see the brand focus return to even the most tech-heavy work.

Just as brands were sometimes lost, losing consumers was an issue last year as well, with a number of single-serve blogs and even more single-serve Facebook and mobile apps. In 2011, we’ll need to lower drop-off rates by creating engaging experiences, not just one-off shiny objects.

Now in the wake of marketers’ 2010 technology binge, we’re faced with even more digital clutter than before. Flip through any magazine, for example, and you’ll see a multitude of QR codes. Added value, not just curiosity, will drive more interaction with branded content in the next year.

Marketers are more comfortable leading with emerging technology than they were a year ago, but there is always opportunity keep experimenting and optimizing. Digital ideas are constantly evolving, which means constant opportunities to observe and improve consumer interactions. The most successful campaigns in 2010 were able to adapt on the fly, which in 2011 it will be even more important.

Larissa Hayden is a lover of all things digital. She brings her enthusiasm for consumer motivations, media trends, and internet culture to Tribal DDB, where she is an Engagement Planner.

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