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Keeping with tradition, Austin & Williams is pleased to present this year’s predictions for what the New Year will hold in the world of advertising.

Social Media and Mobile are hot topics, as well as the ever-evolving topic of SEO, but our staff is also forecasting a return to some of the classics, such as print and direct mail. If you thought 2010 was an exciting time for advertisers, hang on for 2011!
In 2011 “less is more” will still be the marketing communications mantra. With so much more of what we do being delivered digitally—and tight media budgets dictating smaller print insertions and 30-second spots—moving forward, the strategy behind what you say and understanding the decision-making process will be almost more important than how you say it. —Barbara Esposito, Copy Chief

I think 2011 will be the year that marketing goes back to the basics. Digital marketing and essential tools such as websites, targeted landing pages and email marketing with methods of tracking will see a return. It will be a homecoming for the thoughtful and scientific side of marketing, as opposed to the current trend where everyone is falling over themselves trying to get their hands on the next new techno-this-thing-does-everything-for-me gadget. —Carolyn Cavalcante, Director of Strategic Planning

We are still fighting our way through social media schizophrenia, but I think 2011 will see a narrowing and more defined approach. Designs will remain simplified, but simple does not mean secondary. Pantone has already announced the new color for 2011 is Honeysuckle. I think the soft pastels that were introduced this past year, especially in the blogosphere, will remain, but I think we will also see that soft look combined with earth tones. Big headlines will continue to impact the landscape of design. SEO will dictate this a bit, but I think we will see more playful headline treatments. —Ron Dylnicki, Senior Art Director

Last year I suggested that Predictive Analytics and targeting will become a top priority. We continue to see greater demand for advanced segmentation strategies, and marketers are looking for more and more ways to fine-tune audience selection. I think we will see that intensify in digital media—where the focus is sharply on targeting and measuring.Ken Greenberg, President & CEO

Providing information of value, not just information, will be important in 2011. It will be all about the content we deliver – no matter what marketing channel we use to deliver our message. We’ll also need to make sure we’re reaching audiences on a level they relate to. —Kim Brussell, Vice President of Client Services

Print will thrive in the 2011 marketing mix. Consumers “want it all,” but of all the information sources available, print is still key to driving purchasing decisions. Interviews of higher-income consumers in all age ranges showed print to be “loved” most by the 18-34 year old internet generation. Micromarketing and personalization will continue to expand as consumers look to organizations to treat them as individuals, and are more receptive towards marketing tailored to their needs and circumstances. —Henry Luhmann, Director of Production Services

Direct mail will continue to grow with the use of variable-data printing and integrated cross-media campaigns, including even more personalized URLs. Add to that more robust targeting options and targeted saturation lists and 2011 will bring precise, pinpointed campaigns that will deliver measurable results. —Sallianne Nicholls, Director of Mail Services

Although retargeting exploded in 2010, more advertisers will use retargeting tactics to drive people who have already shown interest in their product or service back to their sites, with the hope of converting the sale. Retargeting technology is now available in display advertising, pay per click advertising and email marketing, allowing advertisers to get these interested shoppers to finally buy. —Maureen Quinn, Vice President of Media Services

Technology, even though it’s becoming more and more advanced, still needs human intervention at some level. As we see this technology advance, certain jobs functions (data analysts, etc.) will become redundant, but that advancement will also reveal new ways to work with technology, which will, in turn, create new opportunities for people. In my opinion the important thing for anyone involved with technology is to constantly keep abreast of new technologies in your field, so as to not fall behind your colleagues. —Rob Williams, Data Systems Manager

I predict that in 2011, personal data will be moving into the “cloud”—people will store more and more of their personal data like photos, music, and movies on remote server space. In addition, IP addresses will become a hot commodity as the internet runs out of v4 (32-bit) IP addresses, and Net Neutrality (equal access for all) will begin to falter and broadband companies will take more control of internet traffic flow. -Robert Harrison, Director of Interactive Services

My prediction for 2011 is that the desktop will be ditched for mobile. In the past, we designed for desktop computers and then thought about mobile. In the year ahead, expect to see simpler, cleaner, more straightforward web designs and a shift in design philosophy that puts mobile first and desktop second. —Neil Esposito, Associate Creative Director

Mobile will continue to (counter-intuitively) get physically larger. With the tablet market growing at a feverish pace, we will be forced to think of mobile in a totally different way. Mobile will no longer be limited to something you tote around in your pocket. With tablet advancements in the coming year, the line between mobile and conventional computing will become further blurred, making it much more difficult to design and program content to be consumed and displayed on these “mobile” devices. Screen sizes, resolutions, plugin support (like Flash), available bandwidth, etc. will all be at the forefront of digital media concept development. —Jay Eckert, Interactive Designer & Developer

The biggest buzz in 2011 will be around mobile websites. We’ll begin seeing the value of developing a single website for both desktop and mobile devices – unique layouts optimized for users’ needs and experiences. As video becomes a more popular source of content, we’ll recognize the same need to optimize video display for multiple devices. -John Leary, Senior Art Director

With the continuing popularity of smartphones and the convenience of having a deal or discount delivered right to the palm of your hand, the traditional way of clipping coupons will be a thing of the past. In 2011, more and more consumers will be looking for the quick and easy way to save money by scanning QR codes, downloading apps and opting-in to receive coupons via text messaging.Helen O’Rourke, Media Buyer

We will see new positions emerging in this space and more companies recognizing the need to hire individuals to manage social media activities. Positions like: Social Media Strategist, SM Specialist, SM Channel Manager and Social Media Relations will become commonplace. Younger talent may have an edge if they are immersed in the inner workings of social media outlets, coupled with some marketing background and a strong desire to blaze a trail in this still largely uncharted territory. —Eva LaMere, Executive Vice President

In 2011, brands will need to become more relevant to consumers in order to stay on their “wall.” Remember when you first signed up for Facebook and started “liking” all your favorite brands? Now that many consumers have 250 friends plus another 50 brands posting to their wall, the important messages are getting lost. As social media profiles get too noisy, expect users to cleanup and streamline their profiles. Same with Twitter: If your tweets are not providing value to your followers, expect an “unfollow.” Start the year off by looking at your content strategies and try to find new ways to remain exciting and relevant. —Nathan King, Digital Strategist

Blogs will continue to thrive in 2011 and become an even more important part of a company/brand’s online and social media marketing strategy. The interactive forum is a great tool for sharing and collecting information via posts and comments, and we are seeing more and more brands integrating blogs into their websites. Some say that blogs will one day replace the traditional website, but I don’t think we’re at that point … yet. —Megan Kilgallen, Account Executive

For 2011, I believe social networking will continue to impact business networking as executives use Facebook, Twitter, blog-based websites and YouTube to engage with potential prospects. Social networking allows a firm to create communities and increase business without face-to-face interaction—where geography and time know no limits—making the possibilities truly endless! —Danielle Lombelino, Account Coordinator

I think 2011 will be another big year for the SEO industry, finally solidifying its deserved place as a vital marketing activity for your brand. I expect the marriage of Search and Social to grow even tighter over the next few months, as social signals will heavily weigh into the algorithm. Mobile search will continue to grow and an even greater push into voice enabled search. As analytics become more sophisticated with Conversion Rate Optimization, user behavior and conversion rates will likely also weigh heavily into the equation, if it doesn’t already. —Tim Eschenauer, SEO/SEM Strategist

I think in 2011, the decline in traditional print media will level off and even more marketing advertising dollars will be spent in digital and social media. However, I bet magazines will still have far more advertisements than content. Be prepared to smell a lot of perfume! —Rita O’Connor, Media Coordinator

TV commercials and messaging to a TV audience will change completely. Networks will harness the one-on-one addressable technology that will deliver specific spots that will resonate with the specific viewer. Commercials, or the time between programming, will become a visual, motion graphics search engine. —Rick Chiorando, Chief Creative Officer

What do you think? Have any bold predictions of your own? Please share with us!

Wondering about our predictive abilities? Check back soon for a report on how we did last year!

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