A lot of wonderful things happened in the world of marketing in 2011, but in the fast-paced world of inbound marketing, it doesn't behoove us to dwell on the past. So to get everyone excited for 2012, we reached out to industry influencers (deep breath) Anita Campbell, Valeria Maltoni, David Meerman Scott, Michael Brito, Jason Falls, Stephanie Agresta, Todd Defren, Aaron Strout, Rachel Happe, and Chris Brogan (phew! did I get everyone?) and asked them what they think is in store for inbound marketing and its 'Get Found,' 'Convert,' 'Analyze' methodology.
Read what they have to say, and leave your own predictions for the future of inbound marketing in 2012 in the comments!
In 2012, companies will get found online by...
"...learning to be fluent in their conversation strategies." Valeria Maltoni, Conversation Agent (Follow Her on Twitter)
"...finally realizing that real-time content creation is a great way to get found. Rather than rely on long-term campaigns, smart marketers will follow what's happening in the media with an eye to newsjacking their way to getting found." David Meerman Scott, Web Ink Now (Follow Him on Twitter)
"...being socially omnipresent and providing the right content, in the right channel, at the right time, to the right customer." Michael Brito, Social Business News (Follow Him on Twitter)
"...focusing on more compelling content. We're all going to have to get better to separate the signal from the noise for our customers. The days of top 10 lists and how-to's are coming to a close. We've all got to get better at becoming awesome at content." Jason Falls, Social Media Explorer (Follow Him on Twitter)
"...the investment they make in social. Not only will +1 impact search results, but social influencers will take on an enhanced role in driving consumers to FIND new products, services, and campaigns. It's a whole new world for acquisition. Social media will drive how companies get found and fuel all other marketing channels. If you think the tail has been wagging the dog, just wait until 2012. The tail becomes the dog." Stephanie Agresta, Weber Shandwick (Follow Her on Twitter)
"...producing ever greater volumes of content that will be increasingly relevant to their customers and prospects (instead of their bosses)." Todd Defren, PR-Squared (Learn More on About.me)
"...paying more attention to more non-traditional social channels like SlideShare, Flickr/Picasa/Instagram, discussion forums, questions and answer sites like Yahoo Q&A, podcasts, and new social networks like Google+. Obviously, I would be remiss if I didn't mention thinking about how getting discovered 'offline' using location-based marketing will lead to more discovery 'online,' so make sure you think through what role location and proximity play in your overall mix." Aaron Strout, WCG (Follow Him on Twitter)
In 2012, marketers will convert more visitors into leads if they...
"...ask their audiences to do so. The social media pursuits have scared people into believing you can't ask for the sale online anymore. That's bullshit. If you're providing value and pleasing your audience, they expect you to ask them to buy from time to time. Marketers will move past the social media hippie syndrome in 2012 and start converting." Jason Falls, Social Media Explorer (Follow Him on Twitter)
"...have a community. Good content will help you get found. People will come to your site to learn more about you and what you do, but it's community that keeps them coming back. Building collaboration and interactivity into your web presence will convert lurkers into friends and friends into customers." Rachel Happe, The Community Roundtable (Follow Her on Twitter)
"...focus on building trust with the community first, then figuring out how to monetize (or get a lead). Asking permission, in a way." Michael Brito, Social Business News (Follow Him on Twitter)
"...provide increasing levels of social proof of their products' excellence. Conversions increase when you can motivate positive customer buzz that's consistent, authentic, and easy to find." Todd Defren, PR-Squared (Learn More on About.me)
"...use more short form video intended to equip your prospective buyers for success." Chris Brogan, Human Business Works (Follow Him on Google+)
"...build their tribes." Valeria Maltoni, Conversation Agent (Follow Her on Twitter)
In 2012, marketers will analyze the effectiveness of their marketing by measuring...
"...the cost of acquiring social media followers and the cost of ongoing engagement with them. Understanding the costs will force companies to be more focused on which social media channels they use and cause them to tie their social media efforts more closely with business goals. After all, seeing what something is costing you has a tendency to clarify your goals, strategies, and tactics pretty quickly." Anita Campbell, Small Business Trends (Follow Her on Twitter)
"...the disconnect between online and offline campaigns." Todd Defren, PR-Squared (Learn More on About.me)
"...their own stuff. We've got to stop listening to the thought leaders and the bloggers about all this and start owning our own metrics. Why worry about 'likes' and followers -- or even click-through rates and downloads -- if they don't underscore a business metric that matters to you? Instead of following the social media lemmings off the blogocliff, marketers will start paying attention to their goals, their objectives, their bottom lines, and what their executives want reported up the chain, and start measuring what matters to them, not what some blog -- that knows nothing of their business -- said they should worry about." Jason Falls, Social Media Explorer (Follow Him on Twitter)
"...relevant social gestures." Valeria Maltoni, Conversation Agent (Follow Her on Twitter)
"...'in real time,' using robust social CRM technologies." Michael Brito, Social Business News (Follow Him on Twitter)
What are your inbound marketing predictions for 2012?
Image credit: Cillian Storm