Top 9 of ’09 – #7 Desperation

Desperate times call for desperate ledgers. Oops, I meant measures.

If the deals for this coming Thanksgiving weekend are any indication of what to expect for ’09, business is in trouble. While the experts remain largely confused on the future, all signs point to continued trouble well into the later part of the year.

I expect the first part of the year, the traditionally slow months, to culminate in a push to win at all costs – as long as the cost is reasonable. Digital marketing succeeds in terms of price. Traditionally conservative brands will be lured into social media through a low cost of entry and a potential for return as evidenced by some of the early players.

This does not mean we should expect success. Rather, I expect these efforts to be half thought out and focus more on the channel than the message and strategy. Not good news for those of us that enjoy the relative sanity of new digital tools (looking at you Twitter). Expect friend/follow/join requests from brands in the coming year. Expect little in return as these accounts will fill with offers irrespective of consumer needs.

The good news: this is a start. As agencies and companies alike begin to tweak these new communication channels, they will provide improved relevance and actual meaning to consumers. While panic will resonate throughout most of 2009, it may just be the driver needed to bring products and customers together in these new communication channels.

We may be hitting the point where customers no longer have to seek out the services they desire. The services will be growing smarter and coming to them. But don’t expect this to happen overnight. 2009 will only mark the start of this move.

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