By Joe Pulizzi published December 21, 2008

42+ Social Media and Content Marketing Predictions for 2009

Some people hate them, but I’m a sucker for prediction articles. The switch over to the next calendar year always provides the perfect scenario to decide what the fate of marketing will be.

We reached out to the Junta42 community, as well as the Junta42 Top 42 bloggers, to get their take on what the new year would hold for content marketing and social media.  As you will see, lots of opportunity amidst great uncertainty. Just the way we like it.

Thanks to those who contributed. Some truly outstanding expertise (and frankly, free consulting from some of the best). If you don’t agree or would like to add yours, please do – and pass this along to any marketing folk you know.

The Junta42 Top 42 Bloggers

Name: Paul Bradshaw, Online Journalism Blog
Prediction: Marketers will get cheap. Budgets will be tight, which will make for more creative experimentation and rough-and-ready projects. As a result they will realize that polished product doesn’t work online. They’ll also be more concerned with analytics and measuring success, and we may see the development of more uniform models of measurement than we’ve had so far.

Name: David Meerman Scott
Prediction: Unfortunately, I have a bit of a dire prediction. But first some background.

Many marketers have now discovered Twitter. That’s a good thing. And many marketers are using Twitter in very interesting and useful ways.  However I’m seeing more and more Twitter feeds created not with a person’s name “Mary Smith at Acme Products” but instead the feed is created with the company name instead “Acme Products”.

While I’m sure that some people may want to follow their favorite company, I’m seeing many of these feeds as a derivative of spam because they just prattle on about their products and services all day.

Twitter is not an advertising tool.

I predict that in 2009 there will be a backlash against company Twitter accounts and either the Twitter community will need to self-police or the good people who run Twitter will need to make rules.

Name: Frank Martin, Marketing Magic
Prediction: Brand marketers will be exploring or building their Social Media presence in an attempt to further their messages and to boost the cost effectiveness of their marketing expenditures. They will continue to struggle with the lack of control over the content, which will push them to preach “living the brand internally. NOT a bad thing!

Name: Cimarron Buser, Texterity
Prediction: Combining traditional media with electronic media will increase. For example, in the print magazine world, the print magazine, website, newsletters, and digital editions for desktops and mobile devices will all be used to increase engagement with the reader. Interactivity is growing: not just “user contributed content”, but also allowing polls and commenting to seamlessly interact with a site or digital magazine, and then show up (again) in a print version.


Name: Giles Rhys Jones, Interactive Marketing Trends
Prediction: Distributed Eventing
The creation of an event to reach a few people, then the filming and merchandising of that event nationally, regionally and globally through both broadcast and digital channel to reach a much broader audience.

Name: Marcus Grimm, Nxtbook
Prediction: We’re a digital magazine and digital collateral provider, so it makes sense that I’d predict continued growth in that arena. But aside from my own bias, the stars are well aligned for that prediction: In a tough economy, dollars will always flow from expensive projects with unclear ROI to less costly initiatives with a well-defined ROI. For marketers, digital magazines and collateral do just that.

Name: Paul Dunay, Buzz Marketing for Technology
Prediction: I think you will see more companies acting like Media companies and even launching their own media properties based off of blogs, communities, and wikis they set up over the last few years.

Name: Scott Monty
Prediction: Content will be more focused around conversation than messaging. Brand marketers will begin listening to what their customers are saying and will be able to reply in an authentic engaging manner.

Name: Sally Falkow, co-developer of PRESSfeed
Prediction: News articles with images and video syndicated in RSS feeds should be a big part of brand marketers’ strategy in 2009.  The most clicked items on a Universal search results page are images and news. Americans are showing more and more interest in RSS.  ‘What is RSS?’ is on the top ten list of questions searched in the Google Zeitgeist list for 2008.  Brand marketers should take advantage of this increasing interest in RSS.

Name: Michael A. Stelzner, author of ‘Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged’
Prediction: Social media is the new frontier for marketing.  I predict a “gold rush” will take place as businesses quickly secure their spots in the social media frontier.

Many will rush to put up their Twitter sites and attempt to leverage LinkedIn and Facebook groups to further interact with their clientele.

These sites will be used to drive traffic to free content offerings, such as white papers and ebooks.  DON’T MISS OUT.  Get your social media plan underway now! You still have a first-mover advantage.

Name: Scott Howard, ScLoHo
Prediction: In 2009 the smart brand marketers will reach out via text offers and Twitter offers to the college aged crowd, money saving offers that they can use repeatedly to build brand preferences for the future.

Name: Jason Falls
Prediction: While I’m not optimistic many will catch on to this in 2009, some will. Creating and distributing branded content will have to focus around something other than the brand to be optimally successful. Whether it’s a lifestyle, peripheral niche topics or by championing a cause or position, innovative brands will start to provide engaging content that allows them to intertwine the brand rather than push it as the primary selling point.

Name: Jacob Morgan
Prediction: It’s no secret that social media is going to be a killer way for brand marketers to distribute and create their content.  I think the main challenge is going to be how to measure the value or “ROI” on social media efforts and how to replicate social media successes.  I am hoping that 2009 will bring about the integration of traditional media, social media, and search.  Once a company can master the integration of all three, they will have a killer campaign.

I think we are also going to see Twitter blow up in terms of users – be prepared for a lot of spam and a lot of junk.  The quality of Twitter and it’s ability to filter spam is definitely going to be tested.  We are already seeing some of this now.  Truth be told, 2009 is going to involve a lot of testing and trial and error for brand marketers.  There is no formula for social media success.  However, we are also going to venture into an exciting time where companies and brands are going to try new things that will hopefully lead to case studies and examples that can be applied across the industry.  Will we see a television commercial mention a corporate twitter account?  We’ll see.

I’m hoping that in 2009 companies and marketers will really see the value in building relationships with their users and customers through social media.

Name: Karthik Murali H
Prediction: Embracing Web 2.0  with social networking and bookmarking sites will be the route most brand marketers would take and it seems the most obvious economical choice in the current scenario.

Name: Toby Bloomberg, Diva Marketing
Prediction: I hesitate to make predictions so instead here are a few “I hope the brand marketers get it” wish list for 2009.

I wish that brand marketers would realize that building relationships via mobile is not pushing ads but providing valuable content that can be customized a la iPhone apps.

I wish that brand marketers would understand that to build trust means to participate with customers within the social media communities/blogs. It’s not “social” until there is an exchange.

I wish that brand marketers would take the time to develop internal communication processes (that crosses silos) to support social media strategies before they launch social media initiatives.

Name: Dan Thornton
Prediction: Social Media Marketing will become a more mainstream approach, with a better understanding of how ROI is driven both directly and indirectly – this means an influx of brilliant examples, but also of the worst examples of jumping on something without investing the time and resources to understand it properly first.

Technology wise, Twitter will be officially mainstream, and will have monetized in some way, so I’d expect a rush of companies using whatever appears as a short term, low effort way to get into the buzz around micro blogging.

I’d also say video will continue to become more and more utilized – both as a publicity tool, but also as an interaction tool using sites like Seesmic, 12 seconds or mobatalk as ways to actually engage with people and provide a way for conversations to form via video.

Name: Mark Brownlow
Prediction: 2009 will see more brands providing opportunities, tools and experiences that allow or encourage others to create and distribute content on their behalf. It takes a leap of faith to let go of control of the final content or message. But that control started to decline from the day someone said, “hey, let’s connect these two computers together.”

Name: Marc Meyer
Prediction: I think  brands will take more ownership of the content they create this coming year, but I think they still don’t understand how to best reach the consumer. As many strides as we have made with social media this past year, much needs to be done for 2009. With that said, look for more cross promotional content creation this year as well.

Name: Rick Liebling
Prediction: This may be more of a hope than a prediction, but I’d like to see more marketers empower employees across the company to be content creators.  If I’m a fan of a car company, I want to hear from designers, engineers, assembly line workers, sales, you name it. Have them participate in a group blog network, or on Twitter, whatever, the platform doesn’t matter so much, it is the passion of the people that work for the company that really make the brand. Push that passion out to the consumer in an authentic manner and you’ll create fans.

Name: Becky Carroll
Prediction: I believe that brand marketers will put more resources into having their customers help them create and distribute brand content. As consumers are tuning-out traditional advertising and marketing efforts, they are turning to their peers for advice and recommendations. Brand content that is created and distributed by peers who are evangelists for the brand can have significant impact not just on branding but also on sales and customer loyalty.

Name: Patsi Krakoff aka The Blog Squad
Prediction: In 2009 we’ll see more brands developing a personality or a persona to represent the core values of the company. This ‘persona’ will be responsible for most of the brand’s blog content and social media messages.

Cutting edge companies like Razer, the computer gaming hardware developer, have been using their founder, RazerGuy, as spokesperson for years. Other brands will find or create a persona to embody the spirit of their company. How else can companies connect and build relationships unless there is a person with a real personality?

As The Blog Squad, my partner Denise Wakeman and I have realized the importance of ‘persona’ to connect with people and to represent what our company does. Fortunately, we’re real people. I pity those companies that are going to have to invent a persona because that will never work as well as authenticity.

Rohit Bhargava hit the nail on the head with his book Personality Not Included. I predict that 2009 will be the Year of the Personality!

Name: Brian Solis
Prediction: Brand marketers will continue to experiment with existing and emerging forms of social media, concentrating their efforts substance and distribution and not frequency (maybe that’s a wish and less of a prediction). Content syndication aka Social Syndication is key for rising above the noise and connecting with the very people who can benefit from your words, thoughts, ideas, and passion. Social syndication will also require aggregated monitoring of all activity in order to not only “push” content at people, but also provide a hub for viewing, analyzing, and responding to their feedback, where those individual conversations transpire. We will also see integrated dashboards such as PeopleBrowsr and 8hands tightly intertwine the distributed web to enable true participation and cultivation of genuine relationships across diverse communities. The social web will expand and contract in 2009, but we will also gain access to the very solutions that will make the real and online world a much smaller place.

Name: David Reich, Reich Communications, Inc.
Prediction: Marketers will continue to experiment with social media in 2009, although they may not get into it as deeply as they might have hoped before the financial meltdown.  But tight budgets might work in favor of trying social media, since programs on various platforms, especially blogs, need not be costly to be effective at reaching and engaging customers.

Name: Rick Burnes, Hubspot
Prediction: In 2009 brand marketers will

  1. create more, higher-quality content
  2. become more respected as a source for content

Name: Neil Perkin
Prediction: 2009 is going to be a hugely challenging year for everyone, but the transition of all media streams to become social is a permanent change meaning that more and more brand owners will need to adopt distributed networked models over destination models. The challenging environment will see more focus on ROI, a desire for greater definition, and the rise in new forms of context.

Name: Ann Handley, MarketingProfs
Prediction: In 2009, an increasing number of journalists find themselves out of work at traditional newspapers, which continue to struggle with sustaining their business. Good news: the writers find a home as “content producers” and “content managers” on the corporate side, in companies of all shapes and sizes.

People who are trained as journalists are specifically geared to helping companies execute on their 2009 marketing strategy, which is to become trusted sources of information within their specific industries. They can help companies see the wisdom of talking less about the company itself, and more about solutions they can help their customers with. They are wonderfully creative in developing interesting and compelling content.

Advice: If you are thinking of increasing your content play in 2009, hire a journalist.

Name: Mark Nagurski
Prediction: 2009: The Year Small Business Comes Out to Play

If 2008 was the year that social media went mainstream, then 2009 will be the year that small businesses and micro-brands start using those very same social media  tools to make and distribute their content.

Take a sneaky peek outside the online bubble and for a sizable chunk of the small business world, the term web strategy still refers to a 4-page brochure website and a Hotmail address. And the small business world is a sizable chunk of the bigger business pie.

But the growth of social media and the importance of search have helped to democratize the tools needed to go beyond static sites and create and distribute content. Blogs are free, YouTube hosts your video for you and RSS makes syndication really simple.

So as individuals become increasingly familiar with these tools in their own personal lives, they will begin to play and experiment and otherwise dip their toes in the content creation waters in their business lives too. Some will take to it and some will prefer the seeming security of the status quo beach.

Either way, just as the trend junkies and early adopters begin to sound the death knell for blogging, podcasting and anything else established B.T. (before Twitter), 2009 will see us welcoming the early majority to the party.

It should be some party.

Name: Paul Gillin
Prediction: I believe 2009 will see the beginnings of a new approach to corporate blogging that is more genuine and open. Corporate Blogs 2.0 will admit that fallibility is not a sin and will trust their customers to help them make their businesses better.  The few businesses that have taken a risk and bared their souls have found that their transparency engenders sympathy, trust and support.  The business world will experience a great deal of pain during the first part of the next year.  There is no better time for them to ask customers for help and understanding.

Name: Heather Lloyd-Martin
Prediction: 2008 was the year of big brands sticking their toes into the SEO content waters.  More than ever before, companies were building out blogs, articles, FAQ pages, white papers and robust product descriptions in an attempt to gain better organic search engine ranking and capture market share.

Although many companies did a fantastic job (@zappos being one), other companies created what they called “content for the search engines.”  Unfortunately, this content was keyphrase-stuffed without regard to direct marketing principals. In essence, their content was written solely for the search engines without regard to their readers’ experience.

I see many companies shifting their content approach to one that’s less about search engine rankings and more about blending direct response writing with SEO principals.  Companies implementing SEO copywriting strategies in 2009 are focusing more on creating a dialogue with their customers.  In-house teams are stressing messaging and conversion – and less on gaining a particular keyword position or per-page keyphrase density (thank goodness).

Companies are also starting to put more value on SEO copywriting training – whether that means sending their team to conferences, building in-house training initiatives, or planning ongoing educational opportunities.

It’s a very exciting time.

Name: Valeria Maltoni
Prediction: Execution is the new strategy!

I strongly believe this. With the speed at which things are changing in today’s business environment, it will become critical to do and adjust as you learn while doing. Yes, strategy and planning are important, but doing is and will be critical.

This will especially be important when creating content. In many companies and businesses, there is way too much planning and way too little creating. My prediction is that success will come to those who do and edit on an ongoing basis. The year of the “doer” is here – now repeat after me “can do”.

Name: Ardath Albee
Prediction: In 2009, content will help companies become ubiquitous in their area of expertise. Instead of only sharing their expertise with people who come to their websites and fill out a form, B2B marketers will start spreading (syndicating) their content across the Internet to intersect with where their customers and potential customers hang out.

Marketers will employ content to attract interactive dialogues. They’ll learn how to have meaningful “social” conversations and come to understand how to use storytelling content to build relationships that more easily progress to sales opportunities.

Instead of one-off content developed for a specific company event, or campaign, marketers will develop their content using an overarching story as a thematic guide to map content to buying stages. And, they’ll start to personalize content to address specific target segment needs as they get better at reading virtual behavior and responding to the interests that prospects indicate.

The result of this shift in the creation and use of marketing content is that companies will attract more prospects who opt in to dialogue and that, by using content to create momentum in the buyer’s journey, salespeople will be focused on selling to opportunities, instead of qualifying leads.

Name: Joe “Giuseppe” Zuccaro
Prediction: Obviously through social networks that provide transparency and authenticity.  Video will play a larger role.  But the authenticity may have to come through a person whose role is more like an “ombudsman” than a brand manager or PR flack.

Name: Chris Moritz, Campbell-Ewald
Prediction: Social channels (for real this time) – talked about a lot in 2008, but low participation when compared to what will happen in 2009. Microblogging, syndication and aggregation via RSS, email newsletters wedded to social network profiles – this will positively explode in ’09.

A mixture of company-, user-, and agency-generated content facilitated and directed by a dedicated content strategist, powered by antediluvian content management systems (for the unlucky) and b
logging-style publishing tools (for the fortunate).

Delivery of content may be seen more often via API-powered Javascript widgets/gadgets like Google’s OpenSocial. Allows for quicker deployment without the need for manual coding or complicated back end modifications.

Name: Neil Marshall
Prediction: Consider this both a prediction and a plea from someone in marketing and a consumer of content …

Let’s make 2009 the year of true 1:1 content distribution.  Send me the content I want, when I want it, in the form that I’d like to consume it.  Let the challenging economic times inspire challenge to convention … drop the one size fits all newsletter in favor of on demand delivery of targeted 1:1 messages driven by variable content.  Lose the plain text marketing pieces in favor of interactive video.  Use email, RSS, widgets, and portals as distribution points, and let me choose which of those work for me.

From Junta42 Content Providers and Content Agencies

Name: Kari Rippetoe – Social Media and Content Strategist
Prediction: Businesses are still catching on the phenomenon of blogging and realizing the value it holds for their brands.  I think more brand marketers will be including it as an essential part of their strategy, and budgeting for content development/management and community building/management.  With all the talk about social media measurement and how to prove ROI, blogging will be the best way for the late adopters to ease into social media and content marketing.

Name: Diane Evans, Sunlit Communications
Prediction: Word of mouth — with a different twist.  In geographic communities, local businesses build as word spreads of high quality work and reputable service.  The Internet brings together a different kind of community, where people “know” one another according to common interests and/or intersecting fields of work.  Either way, word spreads when work is done well, on time and for a fair and reasonable price.

Name: Paul Barron – Publisher & Producer
Prediction: Webinars & live or pre-recorded Video events

Name: David Crew
Prediction: Podcast & Video Podcasts

Name: Scott Frangos
Prediction: Many will use the suite of Google tools to create presentations, surveys, slide shows, and even plug in lists using web published spreadsheets.

Name: Marilyn K. Dayton, EOTO Custom Publications
Prediction: As we at EOTO Publishing look ahead into 2009, we can foresee the potential effects of both the recession and the associated drop in overall marketing budgets. We predict an approximate 10% drop in overall ad spending, especially in Corporate America. Depending on the industry, small business may find a need to cut ad/marketing spending at a higher rate than Corporate America. To compensate, there will be emerging opportunities that will increase the replacement of traditional media spending with e-Commerce, in the form of:

  • email blasts – a fast, quick method of personalized marketing
  • e-newsletters – frequent informational deliverability
  • e-magazines/e-brochures – due to segmentation potential

There will be less tactics and more strategy and innovative, fresh thinking to connect and interact branding with consumers. We will see increased collaboration through cross marketing opportunities with web ads as well as an increase in bartered marketing. However, the growth of eCommerce marketing listed above will be overshadowed by increased paid searches and social networking techniques.

Name: Anna Prokos
Prediction: Marketers will reach out to custom media providers who specialize in digital magazines and online applications—a more cost-effective and fast way to get their content into the hands of readers.

Name: Michael Blumberg
Prediction: The big challenge for brands is going to be reaching consumers without appearing to be selling anything. Consumers can smell ads a mile away, and tend to avoid them when they can (witness DVRs and extremely low click-through rates on online search and display advertising). People do not like brand messaging with a hidden agenda.

However, giving high-quality content as a gift with no strings attached is likely to increase consumer appreciation. I therefore predict that brands will shy away from ads and toward sponsoring more independent editorial. They may also increase direct response tactics that appeal to consumers’ wallet, like offers, promotions and sweepstakes.

Name: Russell Sparkman
Prediction: In 2009, there will be continued enthusiasm for online user-generated Content and Social Media. However, there will be increased recognition that UGC/Social Media isn’t a fit for every communicator’s needs or goals, leading to an increased awareness of, and demand for, professionally produced content in online corporate communications.

In particular, 2009 will herald the widespread emergence of marketing and public awareness communications content that sits at the nexus of corporate communications and journalism. As more and more non-media organizations begin to think and act like publishers there will be increased emphasis in quality and professionalism in content creation.

Corporate, non-profit and government websites will become more and more like online magazines or channels. And those who recognize the importance of compelling, authentic storytelling content in their online communications will see the greatest long term ROI from their content investments.

All sectors that are engaged in marketing communications activities will be influenced by this trend. This includes not only consumer product manufacturers and retailers but also non-profit organizations and governmental organizations.

A by-product of this trend is that professional writers, photographers, videographers, illustrators, animators, etc., — many of whom are wary of the “anybody can publish” world of free UGC/Social Media – will see increased demand for their professional services.

Name: Paul Conley
Prediction: I expect brand marketers to begin buying media properties — particularly well-established brands with both Web and print products — from traditional B2B publishers. The economic crisis in publishing offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for marketers. I expect them to act on it.

Name: Simon Kelly, Story Worldwide

  1. Media will end before advertising. The collapse is well under way. Consumers will need to get information elsewhere.
  2. With nowhere to go, advertising will follow very quickly. Consumers won’t care.
  3. Story listening will become prevalent as brands realize they have to do that before telling their story.
  4. Social networking will continue to proliferate and P+G will not spend any more on ads on facebook.
  5. Clients will start to create their own private social networks – as brands turn into media channels, social media will lead the channel delivery.
  6. Large agencies will collapse. See point 2. They will try to drink from ever smaller (digital) pools and realize they have neither the skills nor nimble approach to survive

Name: Tammy Wise, The Wise Group
Prediction: As mainstream media pares staff and traditional media readership declines, opportunities for brand marketers to get out their message will evolve dramatically. No longer needing to persuade mainstream media gatekeepers, brand marketers will realize the critical need to provide relevant, quality content. Marketing messages will follow a less-advertising, more journalistic approach that offers relevant stories that show impact, offer counsel and demonstrate fairness. Target audiences will seek content, particularly online, that fills their need for relevant, useful information.

Name: Gordon Plutsky, King Fish Media
Prediction: Traditional media companies will continue to lose ad revenue from companies who are now creating their own content to own their own media channel.  However, smart media companies will prosper by offering innovative lead generation programs for companies to distribute their content to new audiences.   Content creating companies and media companies will create win/win partnerships to leverage the relationship’s media brands have with their audience to marry with company created original content.  The combination will result in a positive environment for content marketing.


Did we miss any?  If so, add yours below.

If you liked this, check out 10 Content Marketing Tips to Start Now for 2009 or Content Marketing on the Rise for 2009.

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Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute , Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, including best-selling Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill) and the new book, Content Inc. Check out Joe's two podcasts. If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

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  • Gavin Heaton

    Agencies will need to hire brand storytellers to add long form storytelling to their capabilities.

  • Rama Vadakattu

    The blog links are not working properly,
    as their is an extra space at the end of every link (like / instead of ).

  • Joe Pulizzi

    Rama…thanks. Not sure what happened, but the links are fixed.

  • cal miller

    yes…content is key for next year, and more focus for consumer & B2B will be placed on the quality presentation of that content…from messaging ( succinct & clear ) to professional production; far too much – even from pr & agency sources – was mediocre, and even harmed some well known brands

  • Michael A Stelzner

    Great predictions everyone!

  • Brian Massey

    Predictions: “Conversion” will replace “Traffic” as the marketing watchword in 2009. “Social Conversion” will enter the marketing lexicon as marketers struggle to choose the appropriate social media strategies from those available. Content creators will be in high demand.

  • Keith Wiegold

    Prediction: While I am hopeful that many of your “prayers” are answered as above, if I were a betting man, I’d have to say that facing this historic economical bottoming-out, marketers will sadly revert back to the tried and true: product-focused and discount-oriented, with tunnel-vision for loading the sales funnel.
    Where many should focus their efforts is on retention of loyal customers who are most apt to stick with a favored brand during difficult times. Content marketing plays a very key role here, providing more than just product info, but also customer-centric content that speaks to the higher-order benefits of the brand.
    Look at it this way: in times of strife, would a person look to the quick-fix promises of an acquaintance, or a true-blue friend who knows them and their needs, who will be there for them regardless of good times or bad?
    Engaging content helps form these true-blue relationships.
    So, a toast for the new year: relish your true-blue relationships, and hope that marketers recognize their importance as well (right, George Bailey?)!

  • Hal Goodtree

    Prediction: Filmmakers rejoice! 2009 will see widespread growth in video content.
    Comment: Great list!

  • Scott Abel

    Prediction: Marketers with an eye on the global marketplace may start to realize that it’s not the Illinois or New York Web — it’s the World Wide Web. This realization should cause them to keep an eye toward creating content that avoids ambiguous terms (this includes most nonsensical marketing blabber and industry jargon that may be easily misinterpreted) and that is created using a controlled vocabulary (like Simplified or Plain English). Graphics, charts and illustrations also need similar attention. Images that may be appropriate for a US audience, may be offensive to a Chinese audience, for example. Colors, hand gestures, symbols, and words can cause misunderstandings when used universally, without regard for language, culture, social economic levels, etc. This trend will gain momentum as more and more web content management system vendors begin to support dynamic content personalization and component content management strategies.
    Marketers will be challenged to deliver far better results than they have in the past as new case studies and success stories make their way around the conference circuit this coming year. Variable data printing techniques (including personalized URLS) will be big attention grabbers as hotel chains, large equipment manufacturers, and healthcare organizations release new campaign results.
    You can learn more about content technology predictions by reading Dave Kellogg’s Ten Content Technology Predictions for 2009. Dave is the CEO of Mark Logic, a very successful content company helping organizations solve huge content analysis challenges using powerful new approaches and technologies.

  • Michael Gass

    Comment: This is an excellent list.
    My community happens to be small-to midsize ad agencies and PR firms. Unfortunately our community has not be leading but reluctant followers of social media. I would like to predict that they will have an epiphany moment to see its importance next year but feedback from the trenches, I don’t see that happening. But for those that do, who are willing to be out in front, I believe they will be greatly positioned for more market share in 2009 and beyond.
    Social media has been a will continue to be a great tool that forces ad agencies to conduct their business development the way they should have been doing it all along. Leading with “benefits” rather than “capabilities” stating their point of differentiation and appeal to a specific target audience rather than being a generalist.
    I’m excited for our industry. This is a revolutionary time to be in advertising.

  • Grant

    The average marketing department will have a 20% cut in budget, resulting in the need for low-budget, highly-efective marketing. So-alled agencies will offer to help them with the low cost social marketing but will charge huge fees for the service. Marketing departments will say forget that and go DIY and discover that it doesn’t have to be that slick to work. In fact, that’s the beauty of social media. This will be the beginning of the end for advertising agencies. They will be replaced by the new information/content specialist working within the company.

  • Joe Manna

    Prediction: I feel that companies will make juicier mistakes before they embrace the truths in social media. Motrin™, for example, is the best end-of-2008 social media mistake and I expect similar examples to rise out of the woodwork.
    I also believe at the same time, many more companies will be LISTENING to their consumers more through social media. I think it’s known that people will be on social media at higher capacity, and companies will continue to explore the social media terrain before they commit budgets to it.
    I see more customer service type of initiatives leveraging social media MUCH more in 2009.

  • Nettie Hartsock

    As a former technology journalist (way before the dot com bombed and after, with Mark Brownlow as one of my first editors) – I predict that many of the social media tools currently being used will have to be balanced with a better understanding of how and why and the real applicability of those tools in marketing.
    Does everyone need to Twitter to reach their target demographic? No. Does everyone need to have a blog to count in Web 2.0? No.
    What everyone should have is relevancy, authenticity and rather than a “persona” (defined as “The role that one assumes or displays in public or society; one’s public image or personality, as distinguished from the inner self.) – they should instead be themselves.
    Just as journalists are most interested in the real story, not the persona, consumers and buyers are interested in the real story.
    David Meerman Scott also consistently during his presentations, his blog and his book notes that it’s a good idea to hire journalists to build your content. I agree and my vote is for folks like Richard Pachter of the Miami Herald – . Brilliant journalist and writer. (And no, I’m not his publicist!)
    I also really believe in the power of using social media for good. For instance, the plane skid that happened today and someone twittering as it was happening.
    I hope for 2009 that more people will strive to find how social media tools can be used for the greater good of mankind in hospitals, urgent catastrophe, and schools.

  • MLDina

    Thanks for the list! I’m always on the hunt for interesting new blogs, or at least ones that are new to me. You should do a 2010 follow up post looking back at your predictions!

  • Jesse Liebman

    Convenience, research capabilities, and customization of products are the main reasons consumers choose the Internet.
    I see convenience being enhanced via more and more products having the ability to be downloaded or instantly obtained.
    With more companies turning to some form of search marketing transparency will be key because shoppers will be in all different phases in the buying cycle. We have the power to instantly change our minds and find a competitor for even the silliest reasons.
    Lastly, we’ve seen major corporate companies and small out of the garage businesses all move towards one common theme. Customization. If you don’t like how those jeans look you can find someone to make them exactly how you want them and on your doorstep tomorrow. Give the user what they want or they’ll create it themselves.
    As a result of these parameters creativity will be at a premium and once again companies will have to find a way to cut through the media saturation. Patience has dwindled at the rate of budgets. Those who find a way to give, connect, and respond will be the ones who succeed in the long run.

  • Joe Pulizzi

    Gang…some excellent additional predictions. This is some list.
    @MLDina…after this type of feedback, we definitely will do a follow up. Should be interesting to say the least.

  • Jeanniey Mullen

    Prediction: We’re already seeing a confirmation of a continued desire to capture highly coveted editorial quality, design, and layout digitally — all of which originally sparked Zinio’s conception and continuing evolution of technology and marketing services for the industry. In the next year, we predict that digital publishing offerings from major magazine and book publishers will grow rapidly, and that e-commerce and reading experiences across digital platforms will continue to improve and expand to keep up with this increased demand.

  • Paul Chaney

    2009 will be the year “content” and “conversation” combine.
    Content will be created in various forms (blogs, articles, webinars, videos, podcasts) and brands will continue their expeditions into use of social media. Facebook and Twitter will continue to gain ascendancy and prominence. Essentially, it will be a continuation of what we’re seeing at present. More of the same.
    The ROI of social media question will continue to be asked. What works in social media will be on everyone’s mind. Proving the case for social media marketing will be a high priority item.
    SEO will continue to play a significant role and both “content” and “conversation” marketing will contribute to that as well.

  • Barbara Rozgonyi

    Top 10 2009 Content Predictions
    1. Short: Twitter bursts conversations
    2. Visual: YouTube channels content
    3. Graphic: Images supplant words
    4. Multi: Diversity stands out
    5. Mobile: Texts buzz word of mouth
    6. Stories: Tell me something good
    7: PRx2: Public relations meets page rank
    8. Music: Can you corporate Karaoke?
    9. iPhone: App, app and away
    10. Search: Precisely matched
    @wiredprworks on

  • AJ Kohn

    This is a great list of contributors with interesting predictions. They’re all a bit more rosy than my own expectation, which is contraction in social media which will likely scare brands from making a big investment in the short term.
    I think Nagurski and Falkow have some savvy insight in particular. Small Businesses will be better suited to test and use social media in 2009. The economy many force them to find new ways to connect with users and/or do so with less money. Social media will be the advantage small business has on big business in a weak economy.
    As for RSS. I think this is the year someone figures out how to actually market it appropriately. Because once it is presented the right way, a large number of people WILL adopt RSS. So, those brands who already understand RSS or who get on the bandwagon sooner rather than later will be better positioned.
    In my opinion, 2009 will be the year that brands abandon CTR as their over-riding metric. That’s a big step and it will take the entire year to make that conversion.
    Finally, I’m predicting that Facebook changes dramatically and that Twitter is passed as the platform of choice for conversations.
    The rest of my predictions are on Blind Five Year Old:

  • Dana VanDen Heuvel

    Wow! Thanks for getting all of these folks together to share their insights for 2009. What a resource.
    I’ve added a link to this post, along with over 50 other 2009 marketing prediction posts and articles over at
    Here are my 10 predictions to add to the mix…
    1. Marketers apply lessons from the 2008 Presidential campaign.
    2.Marketers will measure absolutely everything.
    3.Insurgent marketers will win big market share.
    4. Customer data will be the most precious marketing resource.
    5. Corporations move to a model where “everyone becomes a marketer”.
    6. Marketers focus on targeting.
    7. Consumers expect feedback loops; companies respond.
    8. Mobile and location really begin to matter.
    9. Tactics will still lead before strategy.
    10. B2B Marketers will increasingly seek a ‘thought leadership’ based approach to marketing.

  • RedEvo

    Marketing to a cash strapped and shocked audience will introduce many marketers to an alien world.
    Putting food on the table and paying the mortgage will polarize many people’s thinking on spending, not just in 2009 but for some time IMHO.
    Marketers who really ‘get’ the situation will win. It’s time to really REALLY understand your market.

  • Agitationist

    A few you missed – slightly more bold…

  • Banagatiz

    Making money online is strike different but Foundation of marketing strategic online is still the same. The top reasons are :
    * The internet is world wide
    * The internet always open–never close
    * Only You to responsible

  • Steve Schmidt, Web Strategist

    I believe 2009 is the year for a major paradigm shift in marketing for the small business. We’re already getting inquiries about social media consulting.

  • SEO Dubai

    Good ideas here. Will have to dig in further to the webinar tools. As for the fan page, I think its a great idea for B2C companies in particular but I think B2B companies may have a harder time when it comes to finding fans. I mean, I just don’t see many people becoming a “fan” of say, Accenture or Sun.
    I think that most people forget that personal touch. Social media is great for connecting but it can’t take the place of putting name, face, voice and a handshake together.
    Another thought: set up an automated search for your company and products with Google Blog Search ( Whenever someone writes about you, be sure to comment, even if it’s just to say

  • Christopher John

    Thanks for posting some ideas here. Have been using google and I believe this is the best website. I got everything I need using google search.

  • mlm leads

    Nice predictions, well let’s just say that’s what you foresee of what’s going to happen in 2009 on the world of social marketing.
    I got my prediction too, maybe you can add this to your list.
    Traditional Advertising Expenditures (TV, Radio, Print) will shrink by 20% to 10% due to world financial crisis + the lack of World Political spend – digital spend will more than double. And you might ask where do I get these numbers? Well, I read all the industry data, I can and then just pull them out of course. It’s nearly as accurate as any Wall Street dartboard technique or the studied predictions of most financial analysts.

  • Jeff Ogden

    My prediction is that businesses will finally learn to talk to customers and learn where they get information. Further, they will learn that more and more, businesses are using Facebook, Twitter and to a lesser extent, Linkedin, to get answers to questions. Then they will start investing in listening and creating thought leadership content.
    This is long overdue.
    Jeff Ogden, President
    Find New Customers
    “Lead Generation Made Simple”

  • Junta42 Content Marketing blog

    100 Social Media & Content Marketing Predictions for 2010

    Some things amaze me, like this year’s social media and content marketing predictions list. What does one sent email and two tweets equal? Over 100 predictions from 60+ of the best and the brightest in marketing, content marketing, custom publishing…

  • Content Marketing Tool Benefits

    That is a very good sign on creating an impact on what you know of his industry and what you will do to solve a problem, what solutions you will offer, what services you offer, the products that can solve their problems, increase efficiency and reduce complexity.
    You can provide industry-specific information more often than providing your company-specific information.

  • Mikey

    I stumble this productions and I like it. Some would not be true on these. Thanks..

  • Lance

    yes…content is key for next year, and more focus for consumer & B2B will be placed on the quality presentation of that content…from messaging ( succinct & clear ) to professional production; far too much – even from pr & agency sources – was mediocre, and even harmed some well known brands

  • Copywriting Services

    Great post and interesting to see which ones have now come true. The points about clients/companies creating their own social networks and advertising through them is perhaps most relevant now. This could spell the end of the traditional advertising agency and the start of micro-niche marketers who help businesses to grow their own networks organically within their industry sector.

  • Influence strategies

    Looking back on this I can’t help but think about David Meerman Scott’s prediction that people would get fed up with company Twitter handles. Many of the other predictions came true, especially about hoe social media advertising has taken off, but so far people are fine with company Twitter handles. At the beginning of 2009 I was expecting David’s prediction to come true but was surprised when more people began embracing company culture instead of turning it away. It seems that as long as you plan your influence strategies with creative content that people will approve.

  • Christina Perri

    The Twitter prediction was an interesting one. It most certainly has become an advertising platform and the community doesn’t seem to have a problem with it. “Social media is the new frontier for marketing. I predict a “gold rush” will take place as businesses quickly secure their spots in the social media frontier.” – This one the other hand couldn’t be more true!

  • Wisdom

    If it was for 2009, then it is worth reading.