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Middle School Marketing - Reflections & Predictions

Like many of our peers in the media "middle," we've been doing a lot of thinking about 2009. So, we kicked off this month's Middle School Marketing meeting talking about our online marketing predictions for the new New Year. Rightfully so, this week there's been a lot of chatter about what's to come: Peter Kim's compilation of social media predictions, eMarketer's article of what lies ahead, and Clickz's What Next piece, to name a few.

Like many of our earlier MSM meetings, we talked about the utility, usage and future of Twitter. Lisa mentioned that she was surprised to learn over Thanksgiving that many of her high school and college-age relatives had never heard of Twitter. Dispite the 1.3 million users, how many of them are active, and what's the demographic breakdown? Even within our small group, there were various use cases: keeping up with current events, networking, RSS feed, following friends, following clients, and networking with other industry types. In the end, Twitter is simply another medium which can be used to broadcast message... in 140 characters or less, of course.

We all agreed that more companies will dip their toes in the social-media water in an effort to try and reach customers in 2009. Nicholas predicts that many big companies will continue to misuse the tools to engage customers. One thing we all did agree on was the need for companies to hire online community managers. Too many companies have made failed attempts at online social engagement. One of the things the successful brands have in common is guess what? And online community manager, of course! The potential impact of social media involvement is real, but not all companies see its potential... or are intimidated by it. For those that are, Zappos is offering to help out fellow companies via Zappos Insight.

We wrapped up our meeting talking about companies latest strategies to win over customers online, and whether they're working. JCPenney and Sprint came up, but there are dozens of other examples. Effective or not? Guess fourth quarter numbers will tell.


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