A few weeks ago, I had lunch in Chicago with several members of Forrester's Interactive Marketing Council. 

Chris Gorz, Hospira
Steve Furman
, Discover Financial Services
David Blanchard, Motorola
Ken Zinn,
Abbott Laboratories
Matt Eaves
, Cancer Treatment Centers of America
Rich Lesperance
, Walgreens

We had a terrific conversation about their plans and concerns for 2011.  You've no doubt seen Forrester's interactive marketing predictions for the upcoming year.  Well, here are the 2011 predictions from this group of interactive marketers:

  • Ad prices increase. Purse strings are loosening enough that new, organic budget is coming into online media.  This will increase competition for the same media, driving up CPCs and CPMs.
  • Marketing will blend promotion and content. These marketers said click through rates on typical online ads continue to decline.  This means that not only are many ad buys not efficient, but it also puts marketers on a quest to find the right way to deliver relevance while still promoting their brands and products. The outcome, "Marketing will become the content."  
  • Targeting gets even bigger. In the words of one marketer (over his club sandwich), "We can't out-spend our competition.  But we can out-target them."
  • Netflix pulls out of mail. This is an interesting one that speaks to the further digitization of media. Here, the expectation is that Netflix will strike more deals with more film and television producers to stream more content to connected devices. (The aside raised here was also a good question:  Why haven't cable companies done a better job of creating personalized experiences? They already own access to me, they have the ability to push me direct content, and they have record of my programming interests.)
  • Mobile commerce will boom. Walgreens shared that already 10% of the prescriptions it manages are renewed via mobile. Aand everyone around the table agreed that even simple mobile tools (like SMS) were transforming both their consumer communications as well as their internal collaboration and sales enablement. A few marketers had purchased iPads for their sales teams. Others have programs in place to enable mobile transactions through apps, WAP sites, even text messages or through mobile optimized email.
  • Lastly, these marketers expected that 2012 would be a year of even more aggressive innovation brought about in part because '12 is an election year. Interesting angle, no? The theory here is that people will do things they don't normally do (marketers, politicians, consumers, economists, media firms) because of the presidential election, which will invoke both more creativity, faster development, and potentially also more public mistakes.

I'd love to learn what you think of these predictions. Or hear some of your own. Share your thoughts here or as part of Forrester's Interactive Marketing Discussion Board.