Six hot media trends in 2009

IPG Emerging Media Lab's 2009 Digital TrendsEach year the IPG Emerging Media Lab issues its picks for the top trends in emerging media. Particularly for marketers, its an easy, painless way to get a finger on the pulse of a constantly changing landscape.

How we come to these trends is a journey in and of itself. There are endless brainstorms, weeks of handwringing, then drafts and more drafts. Ultimately, what emerges is a brain trust of sorts–one that comes out of spending a lot of time with new media, and an eye to the future…but not too-distant future, or we couldn’t call them 2009 trends.

You can download a copy of the IPG Emerging Media Lab’s 2009 Digital Trends, or check out this abridged rundown…cause this is where we’re placing our bets and putting our energy this year:

1. Economy making its mark
It would be impossible to talk about trends for 2009 (and sadly, we’ll likely be having this conversation next year too) without touching on the impact the economy is having on media and marketing. However, while we agree it’s going to be a tough time, the Lab mostly has a rather hopeful outlook for digital media–or at least in the long term. Case in point: A 2008 Marketing Profs survey found that 60% of marketing professionals planned to increase their online spending in reaction to the downturn.

2. Beyond the browser
The browser is becoming the new operating system with applications, content, and the “growing pipe” feeding off it as a platform–we’re excited about the possibilities that cloud computing presents, not to mention browser extensions like Cool Iris and StumbleUpon that take web browsing to the next dimension. We also want to see how technology providers can make more room for brands and marketers in these spaces.

3. Conversation is king
For individuals and brands, Web presence alone is no longer enough—now it’s about engaging customers in conversation and managing relationships online. Expert users will be particularly valuable to those brands who engage them in dialogue…ignore them at your peril.

4. Transmission effect
Conversations  and content are moving faster and spreading everywhere. Individuals become groups that become organized units that can move mountains. Live blogging of events and live mobile video are only increasing speed by which news is transmitted.

While content cannot be controlled, the tone of the conversation around the content can be set; brands need to be present at every stage of a conversation.

5. Retail solutions soar
From Smart Signs and interactive mirrors to RFID and loyalty programs, retail is undergoing dramatic changes to become more interactive and meet consumers’ and brands’ needs. Consumers’ shopping experiences are enhanced with the ability to constantly be connected to the web via mobile phone–and what marketers and brands need to understand is that it is influencing in-store purchase decisions.

6. Zen tech warrior
To facilitate our understanding of changing consumer behaviors, we crafted a psychographic profile we call the “zen tech warrior.”  The zen tech warrior wants to roam freely, with access to all the fruits of technology, but they don’t want to be restrained by cumbersome devices or clunky platforms.

Conscious of their pocketbooks and the environment, they are increasingly discerning about their choice of media and technology platforms. They are not afraid to cut their landlines or cable TV connections in favor of a mobile-only lifestyle.

For more on which way the wind is blowing, check out our 2009 Digital Trends deck.