December 28, 2008

2009 Multichannel Predictions

Add your predictions in the comments section of this post.

At least 250,000 trade journal articles and blog posts will start with phrases like "5 Easy Ways To Increase Revenue During These Challenging Economic Times". The articles will tell us to do things like offer "great products and great service".

Employees of a major brand will team up with social media advocates to attack the brand for unfair labor practices, beginning a trend of "online unionization" to fight brands that are cutting back on salaries and benefits. This will be more than a simple "Twitter-Storm" over Motrin.

Catalogers, facing declining response and increased costs, will begin to sell advertising to subsidize mailing costs. Catalogers with average circulation of at least one million will be able to generate $20 per thousand, at least $20,000 per page, in advertising revenue from non-competitive advertising partners. Cataloging, as we know it, is forever changed.

Multichannel retailers will struggle with prioritizing capital to meet the needs of an internet channel that is being torn in three different directions ... e-commerce ... search/information/education/entertainment ... and social media, focusing efforts in one directions, instead of three directions.

A dramatic slowdown in offline advertising will result in a lack of online demand generation.

Google stock will dip below $190 a share, as online marketers begin to realize how much of e-commerce is fueled by offline advertising.

The e-commerce slowdown will cause an upheaval among online marketing executives, with CEOs looking for new talent capable of driving sales increases in a lackluster economy.

Late in 2009, one or two catalog co-ops will consolidate with other marketing entities, given the dramatic falloff in catalog customer acquisition performance.

The economy will technically pull out of the recession in Q3-2009, posting exceptionally tepid gains that do not restore business to pre-2008 levels. We'll feel this downturn for four or five years.

A leading third-party catalog opt-out service will continue to see a dramatic slowdown in new users. This should not be seen as a failure.

The ACMA will partner with the USPS to offer catalog brands a significant one-time mailing discount in November 2009, in response to dramatic reductions in catalog mailings during Q1-Q2 2009.

States desperate to increase tax revenue will turn their focus to e-commerce brands for relief.

At least one new social media platform will rise to prominence, cause pundits to decry the imminent death of Facebook and/or Twitter.

The Carolina Panthers will defeat the Indianapolis Colts, 19-13, in the 2009 Super Bowl.

"Influenced Sales" will become an important part of the multichannel analytical toolkit, as business leaders look to identify channels that do not directly generate sales, but participate in the sales generation process.

By the end of 2009, online brands will embrace business intelligence software from vendors that will ultimately replace long-standing tools like Business Objects and SAS, and rumors of a free Google Analytics enhancement that merges offline and online data will shake up the BI world.

A two-day cyber attack in Q3-2009 will illustrate how fragile cloud computing can be.

One out of eight mall-based stores will close in 2009.

A popular YouTube channel will become a network television program in December.


  1. "The e-commerce slowdown will cause an upheaval among online marketing executives, with CEOs looking for new talent capable of driving sales increases in a lackluster economy."

    Yessirree. You nailed it. It's all about moving that top line.

    Harry Joiner
    As seen in Internet Retailer magazine

  2. Anonymous7:33 AM

    Kevin - excellent and through set of predictions. It paints a bleak but necessary view of the year to come. You didn't mention anything about the Obama stimulus package that will be announced in a few weeks. I can agree with almost all of your predictions except for the Superbowl (go Chargers...)

  3. Maybe I could have predicted that an Obama stimulus package would have very little impact on e-commerce and retailing!

  4. Anonymous10:45 AM

    Love that first prediction Kevin….

    Here are a few of mine for 2009:

    Twitter by Q2 2009 will begin charging brands for use of their service through premium service channels with enhancements offering analytics data, blog and rss feed integration, and direct customer service support.

    Display advertising will continue to lose executive support as spending shifts to direct response as a result of increased efforts by companies to reconcile attributed marketing channel orders data.

    Online retailers will increase their initial email subscription options in terms of frequency and subject. Companies will increase targeting subscribers as they realize past over-mailings have burned through customers and reduced engagement.

    The strong sway of coupon and deal websites will force retailers to create systems that offer single use individualized coupon codes that cannot be shared and leaked online. These coupons will then have to be rolled up at the campaign level for a full measure of marketing success.

    Companies will increasingly attempt to create and launch products and services that address customers highly personalized requests via social media.

    Web analytics will be further absorbed in form and function into BI, but there will be a widening reputation divide between those with pay service vendor experience (Omniture, Coremetrics) and free analytics tools (GA, IndexTools, AdCenter).

  5. That last prediction of yours is interesting ...

  6. Marketers are realizing: they are no longer "marketers" at all anymore. In doing so, they're gaining proper perspective. Those who are surviving and thriving are adopting PUBLISHING as a core demand creation element... one that can be measured and optimized. Accountable.

    Yes, multichannel retailers will struggle with prioritizing capital to meet the needs of an internet channel that is being torn in three different directions

    IF they choose to look at the 3 silos as being disconnected:
    - e-commerce
    - search/information/education/entertainment
    - social media

    The above 3 are intertwined -- even at the tactical level they span not only marketing communications but the entire enterprise.

  7. No disagreement with the concept of marketing becoming publishing.

  8. Anonymous5:32 PM

    "The e-commerce slowdown will cause an upheaval among online marketing executives, with CEOs looking for new talent capable of driving sales increases in a lackluster economy".

    Interesting comment, I am looking for work - former Big Box Merchant - and many ecommerce and/or ecommerce-catalog CEO's do not want Mass merchants whom know how to weather a downturn and make lemonade out of lemons...comments have been that they'd like to pursue other ecommerce execs whom know how to manage an ecommerce business. What is interesting is that ecommerce has been new, its leveling and the easy sales are coming to an end and the traditional pure plays are not used to working for sales, coming up with programs and understanding the basics of merchandising. Its managing a product line through the life cycle and brand development and less about the tech. The best pure plays will have a hybrid management mix. Kevin, you have this one right on the money.


  9. Maybe we'll need to see e-commerce running negative comps before we start to see a recognition of the importance of offline skills.


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