Top 9 of ’09 – #4 Uncertainty

Claiming that uncertainty will reign in 2009 is a little like saying the ocean will be wet. With all economic signs looking a little like the fun side of a ski hill, we’ve been innundated with messages of uncertainty for the coming year. In fact, the words have come out of both the outgoing and incoming president’s mouth.

However, in digital marketing, the uncertainty points to opportunity. You know all those side projects that have been simmering for the past year? They finally have a chance to take center stage. Investments in newer technologies (social media and microblogging) come relatively cheap. They carry the advantage of learning from the market. There’s nothing like being able to speak directly to customers in lean times.

Of course, recent history has shown that building trust and authenticity in these new digital spaces takes time. Whether companies will be patient enough to nurture these investments remains a large question. However, we should expect to see more forays into new digital spaces in the coming year. I expect to see more large brands participating on Twitter and Facebook.

What will this mean for digital marketers? A lot of failures.

However, there will be some success. Pareto’s law almost guarantees some efforts will find success. Regardless of strategies, the uncertainty of the coming year will yield some actual case studies to support future efforts. Expect the first half of the year to be fraught with many versions of false starts. This will yield some intelligent customer strategy in the later part of the year that just may make a large impact when the promised rebound comes along.

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