2013 predictions, marketing predictions, future mega trends 2013

future marketing 2013

I went to a marketing conference last week. The entrance, enrollment and aura were ‘uber’ chic. The miniature pastries were impressive and the panoramic views of rolling meadows injected mini-shots of euphoria.

Throughout the presentations something strange happened. Everyone seemed to recall the real role of marketing. Never mind future megatrends, it was all about lead generation. Gee whiz we forgot our roots… Amidst all these conversations, engagements and connectivity, we collectively got sidetracked, meandered aimlessly down pixelated paths – only to discover they were split ends or dead ends.

We think we have it figured out…

At last we can make sense of the waterfalls of social media streams, SEO metrics and the big fat data. 2012 is supposed to be the year we harness social media to get results – the year we build real online communities and translate it into revenue. No more spaghetti throwing on the wall to see what sticks.  Finally we can make smarter decisions.

Hang on… Can we be so sure we got it this time round? What if we have lost the ability to know how we know?

Digital philosopher David Weinberger, in his book “Too big to know” flips the concept of knowledge around its very axel. Until not that long ago, knowledge in the form of science, marketing, education… was sourced from books and experts. Today knowledge is in the networks. Myriads of streams of data coil their way through connections and communities.

Supposedly, our friends, family, even you and I are churning out valuable information nodes. Believe it or not someone is actually tracking some of this information some of the time and measuring it in real time.

But who is to say these digital dust storms generate value? Since when did everything become so manageable? And who is to say that what we consider facts really are the facts?

Somewhere along the way, the line between – writers, bloggers, post creators, spectators and spotters, got blurred. Suddenly everyone is an expert.

So… how do you weigh the expertise of this crowd?

As a marketing consultant, not that long ago, I spent a large amount of my time researching  material and presenting it in polished power point presentations. Today I am also sourcing some information from “network experts.” Like many of my colleagues, I am experimenting with meta data gleaned from social media monitoring tools.

The question is – does it provide enough insight? We are trying so hard to hear the voice of the customer, we are hoping to analyze it, but there is so much noise out there. No matter how well we try to capture and present engagement, can we really create marketing intelligence out of it?

Too often there is a disparity in the demographics between those who, let’s say, tweeted about a product, and those who bought the product, and the disparity is large enough to overturn any predicted result.

The US Republican race between Romney and Santorum is a great example of how often one candidate is overrated based on network noise that was analyzed with the coolest tools to date (and you can bet on it that millions will continue to be spent on extracting that information and presenting it in glossy reports).

Towards 2013, what can we do to avoid marketing traps, digital delusions and data debris?

Social media data mining is growing but it is firstly and fore mostly a guide rather than the ultimate answer. We can’t just neatly enter all the parameters into an app, click go and hope that it spits out the answer in real time.

Sure there is a place for big data and its new cousin – affinity data (valuable relationships between consumer behavior, products and content used to create more targeted marketing), but social network platforms are mercurial. Just look how sites like Digg, Foursquare and Gowalla are declining and Pinterest is rising.

Sure we need to take advantage of the expertise shared around the networks. After all, collaborative sharing is spreading valuable information and network knowledge. But there are also endless echo chambers spreading masses of unedited mush.

In the end we still need to combine tools with experience, instinct and an ability to think.

Perhaps our greatest task is balance – A balance between data mining –with more direct information eco-systems.

Perhaps towards 2013 we need to focus more on lead generation by talking, yes physically talking  more directly, and more often to the market. We need to build smaller, more focused network communities, and never lose sight of why the hell should they listen to us in the first place.

Debbie Meltzer Canimpact

Future mobile 2012

Already last year it was painfully clear:  If you’re an independent app developer – your chances of competing in the app market have been sapped.  Apple’s App Store, once a dynamic mobile mall, has mushroomed into a 500,000 index.  App distribution through Amazon, the App store and other avenues got too pricy. App reviewer’s tactics, like luring developers into expensive exposure deals are proving to be vulture-like.

The app gold rush is over.

Paradoxically our appetite for mobile data is growing.  Smartphone usage is set to rocket to 1.7 billion by 2013 and mobile Internet access is projected to surpass PC access by 2014. Big mobile appetites for smart phones and tablets are also driven by demographic growth, particularly in Asia where over 2 billion mobile phone lines will be registered in 2012 alone.

Caught in a quagmire, mobile players are justifiably disillusioned…
yet there are rays of hope.

The market is strongly indicating consumers want a fast, streamlined mobile web experience. What’s more, the dilemma, whether to develop a native app or web app is fading and the case for creating mobile websites is firming. That’s good news for mobile. But does it go far enough? Should future mobile players place their bets on super-sizing their offerings for smart phones and tablets alone?

Truth is, no matter how fast we’d like to ride the mobile highway, no matter how much mobile bling catches our eye, the power is and remains in the network.

Mega tech giants like Intel get it, so much so they are embracing a new network design called Cloud-RAN. Intel wants Cloud-RAN to replace the big-iron wireless networks of today with server farms that can be built and deployed at a fraction of the cost. Other Titans like Texas Instruments and Freescale have rebuked their visions as “wishful thinking”. Sneer they may, but Intel and other visionaries are not just embracing a next level technology.Their leaders are adjusting to the future impact of the current socio-economic transformation and the drive for new sources of energy – from networks to road ways

The outcome, in the next few years, could mark the next big thing after the Internet.

If only we could just rise above the mobile, social media and location smog, and project beyond this era of uncertainty. If we did, we’d see the emergence of an Energy Revolution.

My colleagues and I are so caught up in social media mind shafts, Windows Mobile, Android apps, hyper location, e-Wallet, and other 2011-12 buzz words, we are distancing ourselves from a budding power play. We need to start looking at different ways of harnessing energy and focus marketing efforts on driving its agenda.

Futurist and trendologist Gerald Celente: “We’re going to see … an energy revolution. Breakthroughs in new energy could shift the whole game. “We need a productive capacity and the best way that we see it is with alternative energy — not wind, solar, geothermal, bio-fuel, but something much bigger.” he added

I tend to agree with Celente – Going back to 1990. What got us out of the recession? A productive capacity – the Internet Revolution. Products were invented, designed, manufactured and serviced. Back casting from 2015, what got us out of the double-dip 2008 – 2014 recession?

The energy revolution.

In the next posts I’ll outline what will it take to create an energy revolution and how smartphone technology, social media, crowdsourcing and politics can help to advocate the transition.

“Riots will hit the streets of America if we can’t resolve our economic, fiscal, social and monetary problems,warns Bloomberg.

Debbie Meltzer, future trends, mindful consumption, predictions 2012, canimpact

Mindful apps - combining technology, social media & mindful consumption

What do Micro-capitalism, Mindful consumption and “Mindful apps” have to do with spring protests and even winter blues? More than you think.

Looking back at the protests map, the only thing that’s hard to understand is why they occur so seldom? Protests tend to be sparked by an incident or a concrete injustice that inflames massive moral outrage. The Arab spring, the London riots, Israel’s social protest and the anti-corruption demonstrations in India were amplified by people who did not believe they were validated by anyone in a position to make a difference.

Probably no one explained it better than Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963: “When you cut facilities, slash jobs, abuse power, discriminate, drive people into deeper poverty, whilst refusing to provide answers or justice, the people will rise up and express their anger and frustration if you refuse to hear their cries”. “A riot is the language of the unheard”.

Nothing truly fundamental has changed since he uttered those words.

For all the “economic and social progress” governments still act on behalf of their wealthy sponsors, and the most privileged still see themselves as superior and deserving while pretending to abhor that very idea. And since the debt crisis continues to fathom desperation, you’ve got to ask yourself – Where to next on the riot map?

“Riots will hit the streets of America if we can’t resolve our economic, fiscal, political, social and monetary problems, warned New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg last week.

Although reticent about going public, the U.S. government is making contingency plans to deal with all-out- collapse scenarios. Rumors have it that the US Army is studying financial market trading floors with J.P Morgan to better understand how a economic attack may occur, what will be the ramifications on US stocks and bonds and how to control rising civil unrest.

While mainstream economists worldwide join the dribbles of tirade on anti-Fed funding, dollar doldrums and double dip recession, a new economic movement is offering an alternative outlook.

Micro capitalism is a third-way economic direction favoring small business and small government. It’s about preserving productive property and capital in the hands of as many private citizens as possible. It ties in with mindful spending to offer a radical shift in social and economic responsibility. One thing that bothers me – is it yet another –ism that typifies the aftermath of turmoil?

Just after the 2008 crisis the Rasmussen Reports series published a survey showing Americans under age 30 were split almost evenly when asked about what economic model they preferred: 37% preferred capitalism, 33% preferred socialism, and 30% were undecided. In February 2010 a Gallup poll showed Americans across the political spectrum overwhelmingly support small business and entrepreneurs.

These results, together with street-level economics, show a need for new models and technology platforms that echo future values.

Micro capitalism, mindful spending and mindful consumption offer more practical alternatives because they encourage and support more enterprising and accountable citizens, with no distinctions of age or place in the economic food chain.

Despite the scale of revenue of corporations like Google and Apple or the billion dollar plus valuations of new players such as Groupon, they do not employ equivalent numbers to firms with similar turnover in sectors such as manufacturing, retail or tourism.

With diminishing job growth, governments will need to start offering more support to micro-businesses. In future we need to see more micro-capitalist schemes facilitated through technology platforms like Google’s cloud based eBooks programs and Google ideas.

“Google eBooks was specifically designed so indies could leapfrog into the e-book game without having to invest a lot of upfront costs beyond the time to integrate our platform…,” Tom Turvey, Director of Google Strategic Partnerships.

In fact the more you think of it, the more technology trends like up and coming NFC payment and eco-conscious social games can help facilitate mindful economics. NFC is rumored to be offered on iPhone 5 from this October, according to Al-Gore’s slip up. If future smart phone e-Wallets truly deliver, we will be able to compare at point-of-sale each item with its local competition, track purchases, manage expenses and more…

With the slew of endless apps and mobile buzz, let’s hope more budding entrepreneurs can marry technology with business models that create Mindful Apps – Apps that encourage smarter spend, social responsibility and death to debt.

*Image from new game Trashy Tycoon created by Guerillapps. www.guerillapps.com

Israel tents protests for social change July 11, Debbie Meltzer, canimpact

Israel tents protests social change July 11

A year ago, in July 2011, Israel’s middle class raised a collective fist and raged against the near-impossible plight of making a decent living. Here are three scenarios what happened after. They signal what could happen if no political connection is made. 

At the time it felt like the winds of change ushered in hope… that yes, maybe finally, a new era would propel tax drops, public housing, anti-cartel laws, decent wages….

Scenario 1:

But then, with the conclusion of Ramadan, the UN vote and the first thud of rockets from Gaza edging to the center, the movement gave way to the inalienable fight for survival. Eventually the rockets died. The threat of UN sanctions was narrowly avoided and the no solution-solution won again…for now.

It’s August 2012, and the scent of elections is in the air… Last year’s proposals and promises were buried in cyber file morgues.

Now it was the turn of the political hounds. They were back camping out in coffee shops, on the very side walks of last year’s tent cities, carving deals for the morning after.  A year after,  Bibi’s back-flips championed. Once again Bibi and his cronies were cow towing to old allies – the ultra religious, the West bank settlers, the tycoons. And, aside from menial wage raises, an influx of food imports and measly tax deductions, nothing changed. Nothing!   

Scenario 2:

Finally you could sense it. By the end of the summer of 2012, the polarized left and right rivalry gave way to the politics of economics. Last year’s social protests seeds planted a field of new political movements. At the realm – The populist Yair Lapid.

Yair cut though Bibi’s rhetoric and challenged his duplicitous charisma. By now the middle class movement was seething. In a bid to budget for better housing, better wages and more equal social conditions, they protested. But this time they focused their protests  against hand-outs to the ultra-religious, inflated defense budgets and cheap buildings for settlers.

The inner as well as the outer demographic threats captured center stage.

Failing to negotiate a path to a Palestinian state, failing to orchestrate real socio-economic changes, failing to elude international isolation and boycotts, the Likud lost a third of their seats.

The country was paralyzed and deadlocked in a political debacle. No party had the power to carve a sizable coalition. The threat of elections were looming in the air once again.

A fragile but forthcoming deal was brokered between the three leading factions – the Likud, the extreme right led by Liberman and Lapid’s party. Oddly enough not one religious party partnered this coalition for the first time in Israel’s political history.

Scenario 3:  

By the end of the summer of 2012, Israel was exhausted from almost a year of intense violence. Come September 2011, thousands of Palestinians responded to the Rothschild’s tent town with their own tent cities.

Shame on you, they cried. As opposed to you, we are not protesting about food cuts, lower rents or petrol prices… We are protesting our lifelong eviction. Tent cities were set up in East Jerusalem and Hebron.

Groups of extremist right wings physically protested opposite their tents daily. On the eve of the UN vote riots broke out and spilled into the streets of Ramallah, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The day after, protests resumed in Um El Pachem and Jaffa.

The threat of international boycotts began to impact the economy.

The political crisis gave birth to a new political leadership from inside the Likud. The new government began to make concessions to recognize a Palestinian state.

Here’s a first of a series of mega-trends zoom-ins.

This time – What will it take to make you a Super Centenarian?

Debbie Meltzer, canimpact

Super centenarians coming our way

Not so fast. Maybe not you, but our children have entered the age of the Super Centenarians. The question is – how are we preparing them? By 2050 more than 9 billion people will be living on earth. The average life expectancy is predicted to pass 100 years by 2050… or before.

Jeanne Calment of Arles France had the longest recorded living life pan – 121 years. She died in 1997. Incidentally she attributed her longevity to a diet of olive oil, port wine and a kilo of chocolate a week.

Assuming there will be millions of Jeanne Calments, what technologies are going to help sustain them in the future? Some of them are already here; pacemakers, knee and hip replacements, power knees, bionic arms…

Zooming in closer – by 2025 it’s predicted the average life expectancy will reach 85 – 90. Here is a close-up on research and technologies envisaged to mass transform us to a ninth decade:

DNA research – will help identify causes of diseases. Stem cell research will hopefully cure them. Advances in DNA research are predicted to help us understand most of today’s killer diseases; Cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer, Diabetes…

“By 2013 a complete human DNA scan could cost only $1,000 and take only 15 minutes.” Fortune magazine.

Our children will probably request a scan before conception, as though it was another blood test. Imagine if that information surfaced on the Social Media waves? Yikes.

Today, stem cell developments are moving full throttle. By 2030 day clinics for multiple stem cell injections could become a common preventative lifestyle fad.

Heard of the next banking system? It’s called a Bio-bank. In Canada and the US placentas and umbilical cords are increasingly being banked. The trend is likely to spread fast.

Fast on its heels – robotic surgery. After all, four hands are better than two. Gamification could help surgeons master robo-surgery. Video gaming could be a pretty useful skill. Ok, does this mean my video game obsessed 12 year old could become a Doctor? Truly a Jewish mother’s dream come true…

A lot of us have already seen viral videos of bio-skeletons to help physically impaired and older aged people move. But What happens when bio-tech becomes wearable?

Soon bio-monitors will be personalized and wearable. Bio-gear will wirelessly track our metabolism and condition in real time while hooking us up to GPS.  Eventually they could be embedded inside us. Let’s hope we will always have a choice here.

Looking inwards, Nanobots – tiny molecular machines could help cure diseases. Imagine going to Doctor for a persistent fever. Instead of giving you a pill or a shot, the doctor refers you to a special medical team which implants a tiny robot into your bloodstream. The robot detects the cause of your fever and subscribes a dose of medication directly to the infected area.

So my dear Super Centenarian – You are entering a truly exciting age. Your cyber generation faces fantastic career opportunities and a lifestyle beyond recognition.

As for our generation – our next mentors are our children!

Resources – Deka five.

Debbie Meltzer, canimpact, design trends 2011

Gonzaga Manso

Sustainism. Sustainism is replacing modernism say the dutch duo Architects Michiel Schwarz and Joost Elffers. They would like us to believe Sustainism is shaping everything; from design and business, to food, housing and community.

Their book (oddly enough called Sustainism) –splats slogans like: “Less is more” to “Do More with Less”, From “nature as resource” to “nature as a source”…. “From planning to co-design, from appropriation to open-source exchange….

Ok I agree, these elitist terms make you want to grit your teeth and gag. But, call it what you want, “green” design is setting the tone. Still, why create complex terms when you can use EcoDesign?


Digital surfaces transforming spatial designIn an era of mobile everything, where we touch, slide and click to access the world, digital design was bound to break through walls. Digital panels make the perfect peep holes!

Huffington Post writer and guest curator Jacob Slevin claims that digital surfaces combine two concepts: The first offers a non-static alternative to paint, wallpaper, wood paneling…
The second challenges consumers to experience teleportation – where you are potentially in two locations at once, dually experiencing the here and the anywhere. Cool.

Responsive web design –The idea that websites should respond and adapt to all devices and situations – smart phones, tablets… is already game changing. Designer Ethan Marcotte  explores the concept in architecture. In architecture, responsive design looks at how physical spaces respond to the people passing through them. It demands from the designer to re-imagine what a space can do.

In his book he explains why responsive web design makes sense and why it could change the rules:

“A more responsible approach would mean building our stylesheet with “mobile first” in mind, rather than defaulting to a desktop layout. We’d begin by defining a layout appropriate to smaller screens, and then use media queries to progressively enhance our design as the resolution increases.

Infographics makes a splash – 2011 and onwards is supposed to be the era of infographic designs. Infographics are beginning to invade the digital world. Their value comes from our need to makes sense of the senseless streams of content. It promotes greater use of interactive graphic maps, charts, diagrams and instructional designs.

As a result we are seeing more and more visualized data. The positive outcome of this growing trend is the generation of a more pleasant experience. See some creative examples here –  http://blog.templatemonster.com/2011/02/04/20-infographic-driven-website-designs/

New age photography –I love the way photography is twisting and turning lately. Take Madrid based photographer – Gonzaga Manso and his ghostly fashion photos. He is truly re-defining aesthetics. Enough with the dramatic white backgrounds framing every brand shot. Finally someone has the balls to go for the mystique to create high visual impact. Take a peep at http://www.gonzagamanso.com/.

Three years ago a video presentation landed in my email box and boomed; Social media is here to stay!

Maybe so, but every trend, every movement or social experience, rides its own cycle. And every ride eventually takes a curvaceous turn downhill.

Debbie Meltzer, Canimpact Blog, Brian Solis

What will happen after Social Media peaks?

As I ink this blog, LinkedIn is experiencing “float euphoria” and the thrill of a Wall Street rush. Within hours, their 7.84 million shares, created a market value of over $9 billion.

So how much will LinkedIn make in profits in 2011? Zero… That’s right, with all the hyperbolic aggrandizement – a big fat zero.

LinkedIn is the first social network to go public, trail blazing ahead of Facebook, Twitter, Zynga and Groupon. These sites are set to pursue their own IPO in the next few months. Oh yeah, this is a hot industry. It’s sizzling.

Punters say Facebook and LinkedIn’s potential revenue growth, has not even scratched the surface of markets and opportunities.

How could they? They haven’t even begun to ankle their way through the largest Internet user’s market – China.

Zuckerman gets this… So much so, he is learning Chinese, co-habitating with his Chinese girlfriend and planning a second visit to the mainland shortly.

But China and its freedom-of-information phobia is no match, even for the invincible Zuck.

Somehow I won’t be surprised if Facebook announces plans to float soon after Zuckerman’s Chinese courtship capitulates at the feet of the Chinese Firewall. After all, that is the precise moment when the daunting truth will sink in:

Facebook’s market share is about to reach its peak.


“With fewer new users signing up, social network users will be more sophisticated and discerning about the people and brands they want to engage with,” said Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer principal analyst.

From this year onwards, social networks will need to cement their relationships with users, particularly people aged 35 and older, to keep them engaged.

Although market share is about to peak, market opportunities will continue to grow…For now.

B-2-B Social Media is finally carving its own slice in the action. More than half (54%) of B-2-B companies plan to increase spending on social media this year, according to a report from Worldcom PR Group.

But those who will neglect a holistic approach to customer engagement, those who get caught up in the Social Media whirlwind, are bound to experience a profit backlash. I am a staunch believer that using a wide range of marketing methods produces better results than executing only one or two activities.

According to Gary Halliwel, co-founder of NetProspex, Social Media will penetrate deeper into company structures.

A study his company conducted showed marketers were still the biggest social media users.  Interestingly, human resources professionals ranked 2nd while CEOs were number 11 on the list, outpaced by office managers and customer service representatives.

But a growing number of CEOs, who realize the potential to grow opinion leadership, are embracing the “Power of Now.”

What about the B-2-C market? What about brands? According to Social Media Futurist Brian Solis: “We are looking at decades of almost anti-social brand behavior…..”

I tend to agree, brands to date, nurtured a one way channel between them and the consumer.   As marketers we were all structured to create compelling stories and indoctrinate them through persuasion.

Social media is forcing all of us to become more intimate, more transparent and engaging. Companies are not structured to be so today. Brands and their entire organizations need to undergo organizational transformations to accommodate for a new social speak, social intelligence and social connect.

The transition, although painful is inevitable.

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