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Having revealed our predictions for 2011, we felt it was only appropriate to let you know how well we did (or in rare instances, didn’t do) with our predictions for 2010.

Take a look:
Brands—and their agencies—are used to being in control of marketing messages. But as the marketplace becomes more digitally enabled, and content and popular opinion become very “sharable,” consumers will get more information from other consumers than from the brands themselves. The agency’s emerging role will be to help clients facilitate—not control—dialog about their brand.
Eva LaMere, Executive Vice President

RIGHT: Social media truly exploded in 2010. Visiting social websites is the fourth most popular online activity—ahead of personal email—and is growing at three times the overall Internet rate (Nielsen, Global Faces & Networked Places). A&W has helped clients embrace the power behind the medium and implement social media programs that encourage two-way dialogue and gentle advocation (vs. persuasive selling). The big challenge: companies need to identify resources to properly execute social media programs. These programs are talent-consuming, but when done right, are very rewarding.  

Coming up with the “big idea” will be replaced with the “big seed” idea. Creativity will be measured on its buzz-worthiness and ability to not just persuade, but to make the brand useable and build strong consumer affinity.
Rick Chiorando, Chief Creative Officer

RIGHT: After 365 days, I think I’ve been proven right with the way much of our creative and media has blended and developed to “feed off” each other. TV feeds Web, Web feeds Social, Social feeds an action, action feeds the investment. This is no longer your Grandfather’s “integrated marketing,”  this industry has completely transcended with the strong infusion of SEO and Social, but more importantly the knowledge of how to circuit it all together so it becomes perpetual.

Predictive Analytics and targeting will become a top priority. I believe we’ll need to stay very focused on targeting the right audience, and Predictive Analytics will play a greater role. There are going to be fewer dollars to chase people with, and using lifestyle segmentation and other targeting options in our arsenal will become increasingly important.
—Ken Greenberg, President & Chief Executive Officer

RIGHT: We continue to see greater demand for advanced segmentation strategies, and marketers are looking for more and more ways to fine tune audience selection. While they always yearned to accomplish this in traditional media, it was more likely to occur in direct mail. Now we’re seeing intensity in digital media—where the focus is sharply on targeting and measuring.

Clients will be conducting more research to gain a better understanding of perceptions of potential consumers and their mindset as it is changing in the current economic state.
Carolyn Cavalcante, Director of Strategic Planning

RIGHT: This past year was chock full of unanswered questions on how to market because consumer uncertainty and the economy. Clients were unsure if spending was the right call – or how to spend. Businesses turned to research to assess the perceptions and brand awareness in the marketplace. Let’s hope it delivered the results they were hoping for.

Localization will be a big topic in 2010. We already see social networking sites that allow users to focus on a specific geographic region. Many smart phones have the ability to geotag photos and videos, and Twitter already has a great search tool that includes location as an option, but will soon offer users the ability to see trending topics by region. Also, expect to see more integration with social media across the Web that further blurs the line between Web sites and social networking sites. Corporate home pages will begin to show blog posts instead of news, latest tweets and real-time conversation.
—Nathan King, Digital Strategist

RIGHT: We hit the nail on the head with this one. Many mobile apps such as Foodspotting, Foursquare, Gowalla and Whrrl helped bring local check-ins to the forefront of social media. Facebook’s launch of Places late this year went ahead and changed the landscape completely by making social check-ins available to their 500 million active users.

Social media is changing the marketing playing field every day. We’ll continue to need to look at ways to market our message on a one-to-one level. This means exploring and implementing engaging tactics that offer our target audiences an opportunity to experience our brand, our products. We can no longer just “push” a message out there to the masses and expect to drive them to action.
—Kim Brussell, Vice President of Client Services

RIGHT: This prediction was absolutely true and continues to be.  Some of our most successful marketing efforts in 2010 involved initiatives that let our client’s audiences experience their brands.

Marketers will integrate social media monitoring, online FAQs, and custom email marketing into existing customer relations for true one-to-one communications with their audience.
—John Leary, Senior Art Director

WRONG: Perhaps I was too starry-eyed last year, trying to predict true CRM (Customer Relationship Management) integration with social media, site content and email marketing. Maybe by 2015?

Demand for Search Engine Marketing (SEO & SEM) services will continue to grow in 2010, as Web site owners will continue to demand the acquisition of new (and returning) qualified traffic and customers to their Web site. Search will continue to evolve into an important marketing vehicle, as the internet continues to grow as the largest medium. Some challenges, all of which are very exciting, up and coming in the SEO industry will be the continuing growth on Local and Personalized Search, and two which will be discussed more this coming year will be Mobile and Vocal search. In addition, the beginning of Real Time Search will bring Social Media and SEM even closer together.
—Tim Eschenauer, SEO/SEM Strategist

RIGHT: With Google Instant and Twitter and Facebook feeds being integrated into search results, Real Time search was a major part of 2010. Google, in particular, made numerous changes to their interface and algorithms, incorporating local and social as majors parts of the results. Not to mention, SEO seems to be top of mind when new websites are being developed (finally).

Web, mobile and social media options will continue to outpace and outperform more traditional media outlets. Web site redesigns and redevelopments will be a top priority for many and a big budget items. “Cool tools” such as live chat, games – anything interactive – and links between main sites and social networking sites will now become standard on Web sites for everything from colleges and universities to retail shops and financial institutions.
—Megan Kilgallen, Account Executive

RIGHT: As others have noted, Social Media became an even bigger/more crucial element when it comes to a brand’s online strategy in 2010, and the more interactive the communication, the better.

Mobile marketing will be the “it” medium in 2010. With more consumers acquiring smart phones, more advertisers will be seeking ways to reach these people via their phone – from coupons to apps to videos. Like Social Media, advertisers are still learning how to use mobile devices to reach their consumers without infringing on their privacy.
—Maureen Quinn, Vice President of Media Services

RIGHT: 2010 was perhaps the year of the smartphone, and market research company Nielsen has predicted that U.S. smartphone penetration will reach more than 50% in 2011.

Check back next week to see how the rest of the A&W team did! Just in case you missed our 2011 predictions, you can find them here.