M-Commerce and SM-Commerce – Just as e-commerce refers to people making purchases online, this refers to customers making purchases via their mobile devices. Near field communications technology will explode in 2012, and consumers will find it easier and cheaper to use m-commerce as an alternative to credit cards.
Consumers are fed up with credit card companies’ high or hidden fees and interest rates, which they can avoid simply by using m-commerce. This also means that cell phone providers/carriers might be able to better discern your creditworthiness: You have a history with them in terms of making payments, as well as how often you have to pay overage fees.
Also, Google or Facebook soon will get in the game and sm-commerce (social media commerce) will be more prevalent.
Google+ Trumps LinkedIn – Google+ will prove to be a more effective business tool than LinkedIn because of Google’s new formula for search engine optimization: Search has officially become social, and there’s no going back now.
Using Google+ means that your business will have better search engine rankings. Posting on Google+ means that your public posts will be seen more quickly in search engine rankings — and that means more visibility for your business.
Google+ also has far more to offer, such as the opportunity to make more lucrative connections, better privacy options, video conversations/meetings, Gmail, smart lists that are easy to use and more — and it’s all free of cost.
M-Health – Consumers will be able to discretely track their health with mobile apps that assess and analyze behavioral lifestyle data. This will allow consumers to manage their health more productively and effectively (as opposed to simply using online tools to do so).
The new m-health apps also will include non-traditional factors, such as the number of hours you work, the length of your commute and the state of your finances (i.e., stressors). And after that, get ready to see clothing with embedded m-health applications.
The big trend for 2012 will be collecting information about and tracking “the optimization of the self,” and even sharing that information with friends.
Natural User Interfaces (NUIs) – Interfaces will begin to be based more on movement (think Nintendo Wii games), so the manipulation of digital content and information will be easier. The new NUIs also will allow the user to intuitively control computer applications and online content based on his movements — thus creating a bridge between reality and the digital world.
NUIs will replace the trend of “adding more features” (i.e., it will be about what your devices can do for you, rather than how many features they have). NUIs like voice-command will become standard, followed by gesture- and location-based NUIs and biometric response NUIs. For example, Microsoft’s next-generation Kinect is rumored to be able to read lips, voice pitch, facial characteristics and complex finger movements and gestures.
SoLoMo Content – Content that is social, local and mobile — and instantaneous. Location-based marketing will change the relationship dynamics between consumers and marketers. Tracking consumers’ behavior in real time, and via social networks, will be of utmost importance because marketers will be able to reach consumers at the exact time and place when they will make a decision to buy — which is better than almost any other “ad campaign” out there.
Social and mobile will go hand in hand for effective marketing, and marketers will realize the importance of monitoring consumers’ needs, views and values on social networks as the consumers go about their daily lives. Traditional statistics on consumers will be “old” by the time they’re printed or released on the web. The here and now is the only thing that matters.
Ken Mays is CEO & creative director of Mays & Associates (www.ad-mays.com), a web site development, online marketing and graphic design company located in Columbia. Mays specializes in dynamic web site development, SEO, online advertising, e-mail and social network marketing. An award-winning writer and designer, he can be reached at 410-964-9701 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send him a Facebook friend request or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mays_associates.