6 Startups to Watch in 2012

6 Startups to Watch in 2012.

An Olympic games, a U.S. presidential election and the end of the world are already planned for 2012, but we’re more excited about the startups.

Here are six of them (in no particular order) that we expect to help define the coming year. We chose companies based on the momentum they gained in 2011, promising new takes on old problems and, in one case, the possibility of an IPO.

Did we look at every startup in the world before compiling this list? Nope. Did we overlook some of the startups speeding toward 2012 definition-dom? Yep. Which is where you come in. Let us know in the comments which startups are on your list to watch in 2012.


1. Skillshare


Skillshare is an online marketplace for offline classes. When we spoke to the startup in May, a month after it launched, more than 100 users had posted classes about everything from crocheted jewelery to how to invest your first $10,000. Eight months later, thousands of teachers have used Skillshare to teach more than 15,000 hours of classes. A few have even quit their jobs to teach Skillshare classes full-time.

While the startup began with classes clustered in New York City, it now has budding communities in San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and elsewhere. Its site interface is already set up to accommodate more than 70 U.S. and International cities. There are no or few classes offered in most of them, but by the end of 2012, we’re betting there will be.


2. Zaarly, Taskrabbit or Something Similar


We’re pretty sure that the mobile, local version of Craigslist will gain traction in 2012. We’re just not settled on which one yet. Zaarly and TaskRabbit both allow users to find someone nearby to complete odd jobs. Zaarly also lets people request items like a reverse eBay. Both are liable to gain traction in 2012.


3. LevelUp/SCVNGR


While solutions such as Google Wallet try to introduce mobile payments through NFC technology at a time when there are few devices on the market that supports it, SCVNGR has launched a solution called LevelUpthat works with any phone and any bank account. The app gives any merchant the ability to run a loyalty program that works similarly to the Starbucks App, which allows users to pay using a code displayed on their phone and collect reward points.

LevelUp users link any credit or debit card to their LevelUp accounts the same way that Starbucks links a gift card to its app. When they get to a LevelUp merchant, the app generates a unique QR code at the register that can be scanned with a merchant app to pay. Merchants can add rewards to LevelUp that are already waiting for customers the first time that they use the app, and customers earn free credit at that merchant every time they spend money there using the app.

Since launching in October, the app has signed up more than 100,000 users and has about 1,000 businesses. Meanwhile, T-Mobile has helped deploy more than 2,500 docking stations that stand in for the merchant app as a scanning mechanism at checkout counters. It’s a modest start, but LevelUp has all of the ingredients to become more widespread than competing mobile payment options.


4. Dwolla


Let’s be frank: transferring money through social networks sounds shady. Which is what makes it impressive that Dwolla, a payments startup that makes transfers through Twitter, Facebook, SMS and other virtual channels, was processing $1 million per day less than a year after launch.

Dwolla’s 70,000 users make payments through Twitter, Facebook, SMS and other virtual channels by connecting their bank accounts to their Dwolla accounts. The service integrates with social networks to alert payment recipients there is money waiting for them in their own Dwolla accounts that can be transferred to their bank account. Payments of up to $10 are free and anything larger costs $0.25 — which is cheaper than paying a credit card fee.

In December, the company launched a new feature called Instant that lets users pay on up to $5 of credit while waiting for bank transfers from their accounts, making this process instant.


5. Eventbrite


Eventbrite is the oddball on our list of companies to watch in 2012 because the ticketing platform launched five years ago. But here are some reasons we think that 2012 is a good time to keep an eye on the startup:

  • It’s on a growth streak. Last year it sold about 11 million tickets. This year it sold about 21 million.
  • It’s being taken seriously by big events. This summer, for instance, it handled tickets for a Black Eyed Peas concert in New York City’s Central Park in addition to 458,000 other events (more than twice as many as last year).
  • It’s expanding internationally. Eventbrite opened a London office in October and launched localized versions of its platform in Ireland and Canada in December.
  • It’s offline. A new iPad app lets event organizer sell tickets through Eventbrite at the door.
  • It could IPO. In a ZURB podcast this summer, Eventbrite CEO Kevin Hartz said that Eventbrite could file as early as 2012. “We have to continue to perform to very lofty expectations to do that,” he said.

6. Codecademy


Codecademy took something that scared people, learning JavaScript, and turned it into a game. And when it’s not intimidating, it turns out that learning how to code is something that a lot of people want to do. In its first 72 hours after launching this summer, Codecademy signed up 200,000 people for coding lessons. When it launched a New Years resolution class on Jan. 1, Code Year, it signed up 97,000 people in less than 48 hours to receive emails with weekly coding lessons. By the end of the week, more than 170,000 people had signed up for the class, including the Mayor.

What’s interesting about Codecademy’s traction is that its product is still quite limited. Lessons are restricted to JavaScript, and there isn’t a clear pathway for working through the lessons. In 2012, Codecademy will expand to other coding languages, and as it does so, it will also expand its potential userbase. Thanks to Code Year, the startup will for the first time have thousands of students working on specific lessons around the same time, which could present an opportunity to add social features to the platform or create curriculum.

Image courtesy of Flickr, GerlosiStockphotokizilkayaphotos and alexsl

The Top 12 Social Trends in ‘12

The Top 12 Social Trends in ‘12.

With the new year upon us and 2011 in the rear view mirror, it’s time to pay attention to where social media will go this year. In December, the Ogilvy Digital Influence New York City team hosted its year end 2011 Social Trends Lab. The team predicted 12 trends we think will shape and influence 2012. Is there a prediction you don’t see on this list? Let us know! social-media-predictions-360

And now without further ado, here is the Ogilvy Digital Influence crowdsourced Top 12 in ‘12 list of predictions in social media trends (in no particular order).

  1. Social Television goes mainstream. David A. Brooks and Chris Heydt said the trend to watch  is the emergence of Social Television.  New technology will have an effect on the television industry much like Apple iOS and Android had on the popularization of the smartphone mobile market. David noted, “It has gone beyond simply dual screen. Just like you had the advent of smartphones you will see TV technology being revolutionized which will alter viewing habits.” One area Chris said to pay attention will be advertising and engagement. “New ads in this forum using never before seen engagement technology will be able to garner instant reaction.”
  2. Social ROI must become real. Maya Swedowsky said the debate about ROI must be clarified and made concrete in 2012. Facebook analytics need to show better tracking in order to appease the 1 in 3 CMOs demanding to see how their marketing budget invested in social actually has a direct effect on consumer purchase. “Facebook metrics need to go deeper to show if marketing spends are actually worth the investment. Currently, the analytics are unable to show this but will need to in order to get CMOs to continue to invest in the platform.”
  3. Mobile apps will be the main communication tools between brands and consumers. In the week between Christmas and New Year’s users downloaded 1 billion apps. Yes, you read that correctly, 1 billion. Rose Reid thinks certain apps will become just as popular as the platforms that help amplify them. Case in point is Instagram. Instagram as a community platform will grow in 2012. “A brand will eventually tap this platform to carry out an initiative. They may use other platforms to amplify the program, but more app-specific social marketing programs beyond Facebook and Twitter will expand as a result of more people owning mobile smartphone technology which prompts them to use apps as daily utilities.”
  4. News sources that harness the power of social will be credible alternatives to traditional media outlets. Layla Revis thinks one platform to watch in this area is newsmotion.org. She thinks it will emerge as an alternative to mainstream media news. “As new technologies collide with world-changing events, the independent voice (or tweet) has emerged as a major player in news media. Like Alternet and Huffington Post, a citizen news platform like Newsmotion.org is a growing trend to watch.” The innovative platform where civic media and citizen reporting converge to connect new audiences to valuable stories, resources, and — most importantly — each other is definitely a new journalism model for 2012
  5. Social media functionality will further integrate into digital website properties. Geoffrey Colon thinks the website of the future will be laid out in 2012 with new design and user experiences. “The website as we’ve known it is evolving. Brands that have a website and a Facebook and Twitter presence and a mobile application need to merge all of these experiences together to create a unique and friendly web user experience. People are spending 8.5 hours per month on Facebook based on 2011 Nielsen research. Why would a consumer want to visit a brand website when they have community on the Facebook page or get updates on their Twitter feed? If the company website had Facebook or Twitter plug-ins integrated with the open graph this is one way brands can help customers get closer to their owned property. This actually helps brands get more from brand advocates by linking their web properties to real time conversations.” As a result, Colon thinks social aggregators will be popular on company websites and CMOs can use this data to create targeted marketing messages in real time.
  6. Apps on Facebook will become the main amplifier of brand messaging. Max Kelerstein and Stephen Cooper both think there will be an influx of apps on Facebook due to the new open graph. The ownership of verbs to track engagement and personalize a brand on one’s newsfeed will only take place with a good app that ties back to the brand message. Kelerstein states, “Making verbs personal and tying them into a unique app with great functionality is the only way many brands will ever end up in one’s social feed.” Although users tweet and post about brands, it’s more likely they will show brand love through interaction of a seamless and frictionless app in which they enjoy engaging. Case in point is the popularity of such apps as Spotify and Nike+. So brands can reach their advocates through all the clutter, a paid/earned model will become part of all successful brand marketing campaigns in launching an app.
  7. Brands will become publishers and not simply curators.  Sophia Aladenoye thinks that content production and strategy will continue to grow tremendously in 2012. Brands will be expected to be content publishers, producers & planners – pushing them to become more flexible, imaginative and proactive in the creation of great content to sustain interaction with the millions of people who follow them. People, across various social networks, will expect brands to provide them with consistent & fun content that spans across platforms. Brands that embrace this challenge and focus on developing an online personality that is easily recognizable via first, second and third-party brand content will win (in the space of online attention & relationships) moving forward.
  8. A content sharing strategy will be just as important as a content production strategy. It’s not enough to simply create good content in 2012. All brands are slowly becoming publishers. Brands will now have plan accordingly to actually create good content that can be shared. It’s the end of the “produce content, push it out and make it go viral” flowchart. A brand planning efficiently can have as much of an effect pushing through social channels as they did pushing through traditional avenues.
  9. Privacy issues will lead to rewriting personal history in the social realm. In the advent of social media, many users were carefree to share everything. This included controversial tweets and photos. Like people, brands may have disharmony in their social history. And many (unfortunately) will go about the practice of editing that history where it may seem harmful to the brand. Geoffrey Colon noted that the new Timeline on Facebook will probably lead many to edit their social history for fear of losing out on a job or to not embarrass themselves to friends or family. “Brands most likely will also have a similar timeline user interface on Facebook and many will be quick to edit any negativity to present themselves as pristine to potential consumers. Tools empowering the deletion of photos, omissions from their timeline and other actions to help protect their reputation will be the norm.”
  10. Healthcare and B2B will adopt what B2C brands have been doing for the last five years in social. Most consumers are used to engaging with CPGs like a favorite soda or fashion brand. But many will finally be able to communicate and do business with companies that were more conservative in getting involved in the social space. Digital health specialist Priya Kapoor says the space to watch in 2012 is in the healthcare social media space. “In 2011, we saw a lot of activity in the space from pharmaceutical, physicians, hospitals and patients alike. We’ve also seen how platforms such as Facebook and YouTube working with risk-adverse pharma companies so they can reach key audiences. But all of this was done at a sluggish pace as the industry awaited guidance from the FDA.” With the category ending the year by acknowledging the space with newly drafted guidance, we can expect to see healthcare and B2B finally go 2.0 and beyond in 2012.
  11. Social commerce is adopted across the board. Remember all those crazy crowds and long lines on Black Friday 2012? That will be an image of the past as retailers will adopt location-based apps to help consumers with purchase in the real world which in turn drives publicity, brand awareness and CRM. Imagine this, you check- in on Foursquare. Automatically, you are asked if you want to pay using the brand app. You download the app, scan the mouse bar code, get a subtotal, and you hit OK to purchase. The app takes the amount right out of your checking account, bills your credit card or debits a pre-existing gift card. Your receipt is emailed and you’re on your way out of the store to your next destination. Starbucks already does this using smartphones with a register scanner. More retailers want to make noise in this realm as customers will amplify how lovely the experience is and thus, we’ll see more of it in 2012
  12. Brands will become more nimble along with their agency partners.Social is a 24/7/365 business. And consumers are always talking. While brands are planning with their agencies, they’re talking. Smarter agency partners will tell their clients that they must use social to actually adopt real time messaging. For a long period of time, social sat in a silo and didn’t reflect the larger brand message. That is now history just like 2011. Smarter CMOs and agency execs know that social conversation needs to be utilized not to simply see what was happening in the past, but to communicate in real time based on current social conversation. While conversations are happening about a brand across a variety of platforms, whether it’s positive or negative, a brand can shape what it wants to talk about immediately. Not ten months from now via a television advertisement.
  13. Trends from 2011 we enjoyed: What would a forecast list of the future be without what we enjoyed this past year? Here’s some of our favorite social items from 2011: Spotify, Instagram, Socialcam, Pinterest, Path, Foursquare, Twitter reboot, YouTube reboot, Facebook timeline, Google+ launch, tablet app creation and strategy, social CRM, social business, Kim Kardashian

Détendez-vous, 2012 sera une année très chair – Tendance – Nouvelobs.com

Détendez-vous, 2012 sera une année très chair – Tendance – Nouvelobs.com.

Le besoin de toucher l'autre devient irrépressible.Le contact avec la machine est bien trop froid. (SUPERSTOCK/SUPERSTOCK/SIPA)

Le besoin de toucher l’autre devient irrépressible.Le contact avec la machine est bien trop froid. (SUPERSTOCK/SUPERSTOCK/SIPA)

Triste constat : même à plusieurs, nous sommes seuls. Une passionnante enquête menée par l’institut de sondage Ipsos nous démontre à quel point nous sommes devenus des geeks fragiles dans un monde de brutes. Pas folichon ? Désolée mais la tendance est morose : nous nous sentons désespérément isolés alors même que nos vies de cyborg ressemblent à des marathons.

Ipsos, donc, à travers son dispositif de veille internationale Trend Observer (en France, Grande Bretagne, Suède, Italie, Etats-Unis et Japon) nous informe que la mode 2012 sera à la “réhumanisation”. Pas de panique, nous ne retournerons pas à l’âge de la pierre. Le mal est fait. Smartphone, iPad, télé 3D et autres consoles de jeux ne finiront pas au panier. Mais, le high-tech va devoir laisser une place plus généreuse à l’humain.

L’écoute, la chaleur, la tendresse, que sais-je ? Nos 5 sens vont en prendre un coup.L’homme, en proie à une prise de conscience, a décidé de retrouver son “soi” comme disent les pros du développement personnel, technique d’épanouissement très prisée depuis que les machines ont pris le pouvoir.

Ainsi l’analyse de Rémy Oudghiri pour Ipsos Public Affairs est-elle pertinente. A la fois inquiétante et rassurante. A la lumière de cette enquête, on se rend compte peu à peu à quel point le progrès nous éloigne des uns des autres alors même que cette connexion permanente qu’il nous impose devrait nous permettre d’être plus proches.

“Les individus ont conscience de passer de moins en moins de temps ensemble, confirme Rémy Oudghiri. En France, 60% des personnes interrogées par Ipsos le constataient en 2006. Ils sont 73% en 2010. D’ailleurs, même ensemble, explique la chercheuse Sherry Turkle dans son livre Alone Together, on est “seul” : “nous utilisons des objets inanimés pour nous convaincre que même quand nous sommes seuls, nous nous sentons ensemble. Et puis, quand nous sommes avec d’autres, nos appareils mobiles nous mettent constamment en situation où l’on se sent seul. Ces objets induisent une très grande confusion sur ce qui est important dans les relations humaines.”

Cette enquête a identifié l’émergence et le développement de six tendances clés autour de ce thème de la “réhumanisation”.

La première est le besoin d’expériences concrètes, d’un retour à la réalité “physique” contrariée par la place grandissante du virtuel dans nos existences. Nous valorisons le plaisir et l’émotion. Le succès du film Intouchables en est un exemple flagrant.

La deuxième est liée à notre façon de consommer : nous avons besoin de retrouver une certaine confiance d’où une demande accrue de traçabilité, de retour au local, du “made in France”, bref, nous dit Ipsos, “une consommation à visage humain”.

La troisième tendance qui indique cet appétit de “réhumanisation” est un fort besoin de stabilité, conséquence de ce que l’Institut de sondage appelle “la yoyoïsation”, cette vie qui va trop vite, qui nous expose sans cesse à une actualité trépidante, à un quotidien changeant. Reprendre le contrôle de son existence devient donc nécessaire.

Quatrième signe annonciateur : la nostalgie des bonnes manières. Le sentiment d’agressivité des gens, le manque de savoir-vivre, sont cités comme la première source de stress en France (où ce ressenti atteint 60% des personnes interrogées), en Grande-Bretagne et en Allemagne. Il arrive en deuxième position aux Etats-Unis. Il y aurait donc une attente accrue de politesse et de civilité.

L’avant-dernière tendance clé est le désir d’humaniser les progrès technologiques. Comme nous l’avons dit plus haut, il n’est pas question de se séparer de nos robots mais de s’en servir d’une façon plus réfléchi. “La place dévolue à l’improvisation, à l’incertitude, à l’erreur est de plus en plus marginale” indique l’étude. Situation qui engendre une quête de sens.

Enfin, le contact humain excite les convoitises. Difficultés à accorder nos emplois du temps les uns avec les autres, manque de temps pour entretenir des relations, un trop grand nombre de projets poursuivis, et nous voilà dans une bulle : 59% des Français âgés de 15 ans et plus reconnaissent qu’ils ont “trop de choses à faire dans leur vie”, 34% des Français ont “l’impression de voir de moins en moins de gens”. Ce chiffre atteint 42% chez les femmes âgées de 25 à 34 ans et 39% chez les hommes âgés de 45 à 54 ans ! En conséquence, “passer beaucoup plus de temps en famille” est plébiscité par 74% d’entre eux.

Des humains qui souhaitent être plus humains, voilà donc la tendance de l’année 2012. Le retour aux valeurs, au contact physique, à la délicatesse et à la gentillesse seraient donc à l’ordre du jour. Il faut l’espérer. Car, que diable!, nous avons un cœur sous cette belle machine.

Valérie Domain – Le Nouvel Observateur

Apple will stop being cool in 2012, IBD says

Apple will stop being cool in 2012, IBD says.

As each year draws to a close, we can always count on a flurry of predictions for the tech industry over the coming 12 months. Our favorite soothsaying for 2012 came on Friday from Investor’s Business Daily, and it included a number of gems such as the fall of Apple. So why, exactly, is Apple set to falter in 2012? According to IBD, it’s because “the iPhone is boxy, flat and feeling stale,” while Samsung’s Galaxy line of smartphones “seems cooler.” The site also says Apple’s software advantage with iOS will diminish because “Google’s Android platform [is] now the fastest-growing mobile OS.” IDB’s Brian Deagon continues, “Smartphones and tablets will become commodity items and Apple will be eaten by the collective Android gang.” And while Apple is preparing to launch its first HDTV offering, IBD notes that Samsung is king of the television market as well. Apple will eventually be supplanted as the biggest tech company in the world, of course, but IBD probably would have been better off making this prediction in a year when Apple wasn’t preparing to launch a completely redesigned iPhone and a Siri-fueled HDTV. Even still, I’m sure we had as much fun reading the site’s predictions as the author had writing them. Other IBD forecasts for 2012: “Twitter will totter,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will be fired, ultrabooks will be huge and “BlackBerry will go the way of Palm.”

Apple, Google Seen Stumbling In 2012; Amazon, IBM Up


  • EMC
    E M C Corp
    FIO
    Fusion-Io Inc
    GOOG *
    Google Inc
  • GRPN
    Groupon Inc Cl A
    HPQ
    Hewlett-Packard Co
    IBM
    Intl Business Machines
  • INTC
    Intel Corp
    MSFT
    Microsoft Corp
    NTAP
    Netapp Inc
  • RIMM
    Research In Motion Ltd
* Top-Rated Company

Predictions the world will end in December 2012 based on a Mayan calendar seem a bit sensational. Hopefully, these 2012 tech predictions, from a journalist who’s covered tech since the dawn of the PC era, don’t seem to be too far-fetched. But that’s up to you.

1. Apple will lose its cool factor.

With the iPod, iPhone and iPad, Apple (AAPL) redefined markets and defined cool. But what’s left? The iPhone is boxy, flat and feeling stale. The Samsung Galaxy smartphone seems cooler. With Google‘s (GOOG) Android platform now the fastest-growing mobile OS, Apple’s software advantage will diminish. Smartphones and tablets will become commodity items and Apple will be eaten by the collective Android gang. Apple’s next big hope is the TV market, a tough nut to crack and where Samsung is king.

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer isn't (yet) waving permanent goodbye. AP

Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer isn’t (yet) waving permanent goodbye. AP View Enlarged Image

2. Google+ will do no harm to Facebook.

The posts on Google+ are more engaging than Facebook posts, thanks to its slick design. And Google+ users are anti-Facebook cerebral heavyweights. But there’s only room for one dominant social networking site. Granny and her grandkids use Facebook and won’t be switching to Google+. Like all prior efforts by Google to plant seeds in social networking, this one, too, will wither on the vine.

3. Twitter will totter.

Twitter is a speedway of messages zooming past that you see during brief visits. It’s not a place to hang out. It’s a useful search tool for breaking news or following musings from athletes and stars, but the site is pretty much what it was when it launched five years ago — a short messaging service that youth doesn’t care much about. As a platform, Twitter is going nowhere.


IBD Special Report: Year In Review


4. Groupon will be half off.

Pioneers always get the arrows. Groupon (GRPN) stumbled into the market for localized online coupons — a gigantic pool of opportunity. But its IPO process was loaded with gaffes, fueled by CEO Andrew Mason making some miscues that delayed the offering. In the rear-view mirror is LivingSocial, learning from Groupon’s mistakes and coming on strong. Its largest investor is Amazon (AMZN), the king of online marketing. Groupon’s market share will dive.

5. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will be shown the exit.

When Ballmer took charge 11 years ago, the stock traded near 44. It now trades near 26.Microsoft (MSFT) has missed or fumbled most every major new idea in tech the past decade, from browsers to smartphones. Its portable music player was a joke, as was its Windows Vista operating system . Xbox is a winner, but the video game console market is troubled. There’s little innovation at Microsoft and Ballmer gets the blame. (The same could be said of Dell‘s (DELL) Michael Dell, but no prediction there, yet.)

6. BlackBerry will go the way of Palm.

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIMM) crushed the Palm Treo, the original pioneer in smart handsets. “CrackBerry” addicts were superhip. But today BlackBerry is Gothic, an architecture that thrived in the medieval period of smartphones long past. The iPhone delivered the first blow, and Android gave the knockout punch. Attempts by RIM to be relevant again (e.g., its PlayBook tablet) have been embarrassing.

7. Ultrabooks will be the next big thing in tech.

It’s a notebook. It’s a tablet. No, wait, it’s an Ultrabook. Tablet computers are largely an entertainment device and cool for show and tell. But they’re just smartphones on steroids. When the dust settles people will realize that getting real work done requires PC performance. Ultrabooks, fueled by chipmaker Intel (INTC), will work just like tablets, only better.

8. Storage comes out of the closet.

Cloud computing, virtualization and data analytics have pushed the need for spiffy storage technologies to a new level. Many new data storage companies have emerged with innovative and low-cost products, as seen by Fusion-io (FIO). The shift will disrupt EMC(EMC) and NetApp (NTAP), both encumbered with legacy technology that’s hard to transition. New forms of storage will aid consumers, small businesses, too.

9. IBM and Amazon will be the top dogs in tech.

Amazon and IBM (IBM) are well positioned for the future, unlike Hewlett-Packard (HPQ). Warren Buffet recently bought $10.7 billion in IBM stock for a 5.4% share, after years of avoiding technology. And Amazon makes more revenue per customer than anyone in its field by a long shot. No coincidence.

10. Social media will still disrupt government authority and rule.

What the fax was to China’s Tiananmen Square revolt, Facebook, Twitter, etc., were to the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movements; governments will need more than brute force and pepper spray to deal with dissent.

Top Ten Marketing Trends for 2012 | Business 2 Community

Top Ten Marketing Trends for 2012 | Business 2 Community.

I recently gave a presentation to an MBA class at the Simon School of the University of Rochester.  I told the students that this was the most exciting time in my lifetime as a marketer.  And I wasn’t just blowing hot air — I really believe it.  If you look at my top marketing trends for 2011, several have changed significantly and this is exactly why marketing is so much fun; there’s a lot happening and it’s keeping us on our toes.

So here’s what I see in store for 2012:

  1. Customer is Still King!The customer is still king. This one is left off many of the lists that I’ve seen, but, as good marketers, we should remember the customer is behind all of these trends.  We have to get rid of our “campaign mentality” and learn to think about engaging customers with meaningful dialogue and relevant, timely information.
  2. Big data is getting bigger. I said last year that the line between technology companies (a.k.a “Big Data”) and marketers is blurring.  We have all heard that the amount of digital data is doubling every two years.  What is important is looking at these customer interactions over time.  But it doesn’t have to be just big technology companies that can harness the data and use it for marketing.  New technologies and cloud computing have opened up all sorts of possibilities for smaller marketers as well.
  3. SoLoMo – a new and powerful combination. You might think I’m being overly inventive by getting social, local and mobile combined in one trend. Google’s Matt Cutts coined this term but it’s probably better explained by a recent example on Black Friday of this year.  The New York Times reported that advertisers lured customers away and stole competitor sales while they were waiting on line to make a purchase – an awesome combination of social, local and mobile all being used together.
  4. Cloud computing helps marketers too. I recently wrote a blog post describing this trend in more detail. Cloud computing helps marketers by giving us more accessibility to new technologies, reducing costs of marketing infrastructure (like servers and storage), easier scalability and low barriers to entry, which enables a more uniform playing field.
  5. Show me the money. Dave Frankland from Forrester Research (www.forrester.com) recently called the tight budgets we’re seeing “post-recession austerity.”  I look for this trend to continue in 2012 as marketers face tight budgets and increased demand to show ROI.  That’s especially true with emerging media like social, which has matured and now needs to be evaluated for return on investment just like other channels.
  6. Email’s death is greatly exaggerated. Spam filters and the threat of an opt-out registry haven’t dampened the growth of email.  In a recent interactive marketing forecast, Forrester predicted that email spending will continue to grow by 10% during the next several years, but marketers will focus the campaigns more using analytics.  Our B2B clients echo this forecast as we continue to see more dollars earmarked for email and lead generating programs.
  7. The world has gone app crazy. The proliferation of smart phones and tablets has made us (and me) go app crazy.  And it’s not just applications like FacebookTwitter andAngry Birds; people are using them for business applications.  For example, I used the app Evernote to store clipped data and emails in order to write this blog post.  George Colony, the CEO of Forrester, recently proclaimed that the internet was dead and that applications are taking over.
  8. Attribution is the holy grail of marketing. Last year I took a bit of a leap by including touchpoint attribution as one of my top trends.  When I explain to marketers that attributing success to the right channel or channels is key to effective use of marketing dollars (especially with more and more multichannel campaigns), their eyes light up and the quest for more information on attribution begins.  In a recent study by Unica, marketers said their top two priorities are “turning data into actions” and “attributing success to marketing.”
  9. Content marketing takes off. We’ve known than relevant content has always been important to drive web traffic, but blogs, case studies and white papers are now being considered an important part of the marketing mix.  As social media matures, marketers will need to provide visitors to Facebook or Twitter with meaningful content to get fans to return.
  10. Right touching – right time multichannel marketing. This is a bit complicated to explain in a cursory fashion, but conversations and customer interactions that are taking place in social media are being harvested by social listening platforms.  These dialogues are being turned into campaigns that drive the right offer to the right buyer at the right time.  Sounds simple, huh?

So there you have it: my take on 2012.  While these trends may or may not be around next year, I can assure you that the changes we’ll see in 2012 will make our lives as marketers very exciting.

Resources:

Research for this article was gathered from Abnormal MarketingSeattle piBusiness 2 Community andCMO.com.

Social Media: What to Expect in 2012 | Social Media Today

Social Media: What to Expect in 2012 | Social Media Today.

Technology exploded in 2011. With the increased number of smartphones, iPhones becoming available in Verizon Stores,  and iPads, Nooks, ebooks & Tablets becoming more known and popular, social media also increased.As we say good-bye to 2011, we look forward to what’s to come in 2012.

During our last company Skype meeting we started compiling a list of ideas for 2012′s social media, so I decided to do a little research myself and share my top 11:

1.   Social media will be incorporated into corporate websites

Many businesses have added social media links and information to their websites that consumers now look for these links. Visiting a companies Facebook page or Twitter profile has become as important as reading reviews on the business, and corporate websites have noticed this. 2012 will be their time to join the fun.

2.  An increase in social media usage on mobile devices

CNet.com reported that, “In April, research firm Gartner reported that over 296 million smartphones shipped worldwide last year. This year, the research firm expects that figure to jump to 468 million. Next year, smartphone shipments could jump to over 630 million, the company said. But all those figures pale in comparison to Gartner’s expected 2015 shipments. The research firm said that by then, 1.1 billion smartphones will ship worldwide.”

3.   An increase in personal support

In 2011, individuals began reaching out to others through social media websites. Their problems, issues and causes were spread through outlets like Facebook communities; this has become an accepted outlet to share experiences, find others who support the same causes or have the same problems as you. This type of viral support will only increase in the years to come.

4.   Social media budgets will grow

Now that businesses have seen how social media has effected the world, they realize how important their own social media presence is. Websites like, Facebook and Twitter, are such a large part of everyday life for so many people that it’s hard to picture life without this social connection.

5.   Social media advertizing will grow

With so many people skipping TV commercials, businesses will look to take their advertizing where the people actually are: social media websites. Some companies will create in-house positions and others will outsource to get their information to the public (via blogs, reviews, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and other outlets relevant to their business.)

6.   Social gaming will grow

A serious increase in gaming was noticed when social media sites added game options to their website. For example: Farmville, Family Feud and Bejeweled on Facebook. People started playing games with their friends on their smartphones, like the popular game, ‘Words with Friends’.

Plus Manatank.com reported yesterday that the Xbox 360 dashboard has included new social media features:

“There’s also new social network integration and the idea of leaving ‘beacons’ for your friends so they know you want to play a certain title. At the touch of a few buttons, gestures or voice command its now easier than ever to post to Facebook and Twitter, improving the social aspects of the Xbox 360.  Microsoft is also planning to roll out newer apps over time including Youtube.”

7.   News will be increasingly social

Many people get their news on social media sites, so a large number of news outlets have Facebook and Twitter Accounts to keep people updated. Most of the these news accounts allow readers to comment, ‘like’, retweet and discuss news stories with others. This will only increase in 2012 and more people will want to voice their opinion.

8.   Creating websites that are compatible with mobile devices

With the increase in smartphone owners, iPads, Tablets, Nooks and so on, companies will have to make sure their website can be accessed through these devices. People often access their favorite websites from their smartphone or tablet while at work, in the airport, waiting at the doctors office, etc. If they can’t access your businesses information, your businesses loses out.

9.   Election campaigns + social media

It all started around the time of President Obama’s Presidential Campaign – an increase in Facebook pages geared toward the election and candidates popped up everywhere. These days it seems as if every public figure has their own Facebook account to keep the people informed – including our President.

10. Your social media footprint will grow

With the recent addition of Facebook’s Timeline, people can now look back through your Facebook “life”. Not only that, but your gaming profiles, Yelp! profiles, Twitter, Flicker, Myspace, Linkedin, YouTube,  etc. all increase your footprint. The more social media sites that are introduced and you create an account for will continue to increase your social media footprint.

11.  Facebook will surpass 1 Billion people

“Where does that more than 1 billion Facebook users come from? The countries with more than 20 million people and Facebook penetration below 20% will add most of this growth in 2012. Add the potential growth of other countries and you get to a cool billion or 1.1 billion even. And that does not include China.” –Dreamgrow

Techi.com shared a great infographic to show what trended in 2011.

Is there something you think, or hope will happen with social media in 2012?

Apple to unveil two versions of next-generation iPad in January 2012

Apple to unveil two versions of next-generation iPad in January, sources claim.

Yenting Chen and Ingrid Lee, Taipei; Jessie Shen, DIGITIMES [Thursday 29 December 2011]

Apple is set to unveil its next-generation iPad – which will come in two versions – at the iWorld scheduled for January 26, 2012, according to sources at its supply chain partners. The new models will join the existing iPad 2 to demonstrate Apple’s complete iPad series targeting the entry-level, mid-range and high-end market segments, the sources claimed.

The iPad 2 will be competing directly with Amazon’s kindle Fire in the price-sensitive market segment, while the new models will focus on the mid-range and high-end segments respectively, the sources said.

Apple officials declined to comment.

Instead of the previously-rumored 7.85-inch, the upcoming iPad models will still feature 9.7-inch screens but come with QXGA resolution (1,536×2,048 pixels), the sources indicated. Dual-LED light bars are designed for the new iPads to strengthen the brightness of the panels, the sources added.

Sharp will be the major panel supplier for Apple’s next-generation iPad series, while Samsung Electronics and LG Display are also responsible for a part of the orders, the sources said. Minebea, from which Sharp sources backlight units (BLUs), has accordingly entered the supply chain for the new iPads, the sources pointed out.

Apple continues to contract Samsung to manufacture its quad-core A6 processors, which will be used in the next-generation iPads, the sources revealed. The existing iPad 2 is based on the dual-core A5.

Samsung is also among the CMOS image sensor (CIS) suppliers for one of the versions of the new iPad that comes with a 5-megapixel lens, marking the Korea-based vendor’s first time to grab CIS orders from Apple, the sources noted. Sony is the other CIS supplier for the other model with a higher 8-megapixel lens, the sources added.

In addition, Simplo Technology and Dynapack International Technology have both secured orders for batteries with a capacity of as high as 14,000 milliampere-hour (mAh) used in the new iPads, according to the sources.

iPad

Apple iPad
Digitimes file photo

What Will 2012 Mean for Social Media? | Techland | TIME.com

What Will 2012 Mean for Social Media? | Techland | TIME.com.

Chaiwat Subprasom / Reuters

CHAIWAT SUBPRASOM / REUTERS

On the one hand, it’s easy to predict where social media’s going over the next 12 months: more of the same, with the sublime, ridiculous and mundane occurring in equal amounts, both reaffirming and quashing our faith in humanity and technology. But a social media roadmap for 2012? I’m not sure anyone knows what that looks like at this point.

Sure, certain things you can take for granted: the continued rise of Google+ for instance, a service that’s coming into its own with increasing numbers of users signing up (it’s also the second-fastest rising search term of 2011). I still don’t have a good enough handle on just what Google+ actually is yet in terms of its personality and what it’ll be good for — Facebook-esque social structure? Twitter-esque idea space? Somewhere in-between? — but that’s half the fun of these things, watching them evolve on their own. (Despite Google+’s similarity to Facebook, I’m leaning towards the “idea space” theory right now, but that’s probably because of how the people I tend to follow use it.)

Along those lines, I’m sure 2012 will see Facebook continue attempting to become all things to all people; I’ll be paying attention to what happens with the company’s legal action with Timelines.com, if only to see whether or not the narrative of Big Corporation Destroys Small Business continues to play out, and what impact (if any) that’ll have on Facebook’s public image and user base, especially as that user base continues to skew older (as the site becomes more mainstream, and early adopters sample alternative services) and more susceptible to that kind of thing. But 2012 is also likely to be the year where streaming movies and television become more common on the site, something that could signal a major shift in the company’s fortunes over the next 12 months — although not as much as the Facebook Phone, a concept I still find vaguely surreal for all kinds of reasons, but something that could massively change what Facebook actually is as a company, even if it doesn’t impact the bottom line social media angle much.

(MORE: Tila, Quarterlife and $#!*: Why Social Media and Old Media Don’t Mix)

Speaking of social networks metamorphosing into something else, the re-emergence of MySpace is something that’ll be worth paying attention to next year. I’ve said already that I think the idea of repositioning the company as an indie Spotify is a smart move, but I’m curious about what’s next for the company as it tries to climb out of a black hole. Is there a future for MySpace as a social network? I can imagine a world where it becomes a music industry-specific version of LinkedIn, for instance, but I find that even easier to imagine if the company decides to relaunch with a new name and lose all of the negative connotations of the MySpace brand.

(A slight digression: I can’t help but wonder if Facebook’s relentless attempts to mainstream itself and continually innovate its core product comes from a fear of becoming the Next MySpace in a bad way, after proudly wearing the title back when it was a positive, years ago. One day, I’d love to see a good book investigating all the things that MySpace did wrong, and whether the present outcome was inevitable.)

The Twitter side of the equation is something that’s relatively easy to predict, because — redesigns aside — Twitter never really changes what it does, only how it’s used (we’re now getting “[Blank] is my new jam” auto-updates instead of 4Square auto-updates, true, but it’s essentially the same thing). Outside of a new emphasis on the importance of advertising — something I half-expect will be curtailed as users complain, but we’ll see — the biggest 2012 events for Twitter are likely to be external to the service itself: more organizations following the Library of Congress’ lead and using the service as a official record of sorts, or more analysts looking to draw trends and opinions from it. Also, legal challenges around the service’s anonymous user base is likely to become a big story for Twitter viewers next year, with the company already facing legal action over the identities of Occupy supporters.

(Of course, now that I’ve said Twitter never really changes, we can all pretty much expect a headline along the lines of “Twitter Unveils New Look, Dumps 140 Character Limit In Favor of Embedding Videos And Giving Away Puppies And Kittens” by the end of March.)

But the key thing about social media is this: It’s affected by things we keep failing to anticipate. A year ago, would anyone have predicted the praise and condemnation Facebook and Twitter received in the wake of the Arab Spring or U.K. riots? The technology itself changes, sure, but what makes social media so fascinating (and important) is its capacity to evolve in ways analysts and pundits keep missing.

What will 2012 mean for social media? Like I said at the beginning: more of the same, as wonderful and frustrating and everything in between as that can be. I wouldn’t want it any other way

Read more: http://techland.time.com/2011/12/29/what-will-2012-mean-for-social-media/#ixzz1hzst3tEm