Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Transparent about Transparency
Just last week during the FutureLab LiveBlog a fair amount of the lively conversation turned to the need for greater transparency in how marketers work with their clients (you can still read the thought trail here http://liveblog.futurelab.net). The challenge of companies and brands building trust with their customers has never been greater now that the economy has tanked and budgets for 2009 are in flux.
Mulling all these things over, I was pleasantly surprised to find a new issue of BtoB Magazine in my mailbox a few days later with the timely front page article "Recession forces marketers to be more frugal. Emphasis on trust and transparency among key trends to watch in the new year."1 Beyond the need to cultivate trust as a brand attribute, success in 2009 will require leveraging social marketing, deeper use of analytics and new kinds of metrics to measure Web 2.0 and even broader use of video.
A BtoB Magazine survey found that almost 70% of marketing budgets will either be flat or reduced in 2009 2 — on the surface a grim picture indeed. But the "new frugality" will also open opportunities to leverage other marketing tech: social networks, viral marketing, home grown video, podcasting and more. Where less money is going into traditional advertising and print projects next year, more is expected to go into online initiatives.
A shift away from launching new ad campaigns, for example (see chart above), will see customers scrambling for other ways to generate leads and awareness to meet their marketing objectives in 2009.
When less than half of those surveyed say they use social media as part of their overall marketing strategy, this is perhaps a historic opportunity to nudge along customers who might have been reticent about delving into new marketing media when budget was available for the perceived "tried and true" methods. And in these new and uncharted waters, marketers will need to take care to respect the fragile trust that is earned through the honest, transparent customer communications demanded by social media. It's going to be an interesting year indeed.
1 Kate Maddox. "Recession forces marketers to be more frugal" BtoB Magazine. December 8, 2008. p1
2 BtoB's "2009 Marketing Priorities and Plans" Survey