2010 has been an incredible year. It went by in a blink. The year started out with feelings of fear and dread and is ending with feelings of excitement and optimism. 2010 will be remembered as the year the media industry stopped talking about media transformation and started embracing it. As I noted in my presentation at the ABM New York meeting early this year; " It's no longer emerging media. It has emerged. You need to shift your world view of digital media as a disruptor to digital media as an enabler".
I'm not one for lengthy year end reviews or lists so I won't attempt that here. There are a few highlights from the year in Media, Marketing and Technology worth noting though:
Media. 2010 will be remembered as the year of the social graph and the media application. In 2010 we realized that there is life after search and it feels quite social. The shift from search to social has created a new series of opportunities and challenges for media. Many web sites have bastardized their content in order to game out search engines. This SEO/SEM centric web-publishing model generates drive by traffic that is of very low value and too costly to generate and profitably sustain. The shift to the social web has brought back the power of word of mouth enabling a corollary flight to quality and brand. Content has always been king in media. Distribution however continues to be the power behind the throne. In 2010 we saw the emergence of application-based media as a distribution force to be reckoned with. While the first generation of iPad magazine apps have been just that, first generation, applications by companies like Flipboard, Treesaver and Flud show the power and potential of content applications and the role they will play in media.
Marketing. 2010 will be remembered as the year marketing regained its equilibrium. After a decade of turbulence brought on by the Internet; marketing, like media, realized that digital media is friend not foe. Lead gen myopia has evolved into branded response. We've gone from Mad Men to Math Men as marketers started harnessing the power of technology and analytics, combined with content-rich creative and created compelling, engaging, online-marketing. As noted in the post earlier this year: Advertising Isn't Dead. It's Becoming Marketing. Again.
Technology. 2010 saw a series of game changing new technologies introduced. None bigger than the iPad. So much has been written about the impact of the iPad that you could argue it's become over-hyped. Having seen a ton of technology innovations over the last 20 years I can tell you that the iPad has been under-hyped. Significantly. Like the Macintosh and the iPod before it, the iPad has launched a new category and created a vibrant ecosystem. The iPad is the missing link between the web and physical media. And we are only on the first generation.
2011. I'll leave the predictions to the economists and the futurists. Here are a few things I'll be watching however that I think will have an impact in 2011 and beyond:
- Social Technology. Social platforms have changed the way we connect and communicate with friends and family. They will now change the way we connect and communicate in our work, with our governments and our educational institutions. Facebook may well be remembered as the company that ushered in the social web but the implications of social technology will be felt well beyond even its broad reach.
- Mobile. The advances in mobile technology over the last several years have been breathtaking. The user experience of an iPhone or Android today is extraordinary. And getting better. From Skype over an iPhone to applications like Word Lens that converts English words to Spanish via a cell phone camera; smart phones today have made Science Fiction dreams a reality. Stay tuned. Your credit card is next.
- Information Design. Let's be frank. The average web site is not great at showcasing information in ways that engage and inspire audiences. Most sites look like cars at a NASCAR race, with logos, icons, badges and any number of flashing bits of content and advertising. HTML5 is a game changer however and is ushering in a new era in information design that will enable the creation of visually engaging content on the web.