If you’ve been thinking about how to spend your marketing dollar for 2011, listen up.  Predictions are rolling in from various technology and market research sectors and you may be surprised by their findings, especially when it comes to TV, radio and print advertising.

The greatest shift is the exponential growth of the new digital world, which has opened up new and exciting opportunities for the wine industry or for anyone marketing a brand or product.  And the good news is that whether you have a thousand dollars or a hundred thousand, there are plenty of options to spend your money wisely. If you are looking for ways to spend your next dollar with better ways to measure results, here are four emerging trends to help you prepare for 2011.

Innovation #1: Go Digital for Advertising

This is a game changer. For the first time, U.S. advertisers will have spent more on internet ads than on print newspaper ads for 2010, according to new estimates by New York-based researcher eMarketer. “Marketers are devoting bigger shares of their budgets to digital media as they see more customers shifting time toward the web,” said Geoff Ramsey, CEO of eMarketer. “It’s something we’ve seen coming for a long time, but this is a tipping point.”

Mr. Ramsey also points out that, “Online ads are increasingly seen by many marketers as a more reliable bet than print ads, which are often difficult to tie to a measurable financial result.”

Newspapers are not the only ones facing competition from the Web. According to Forrester research, U.S. consumers for the first time are devoting as much time to online activities as they are to watching TV, listening to the radio and reading magazines. While Gen Yers have been spending more time online than watching TV for a few years now, this is the first year for Gen Xers. And Boomers? They now report spending equal time for both.

What you can do to prepare:

  • Take a seminar or class to learn the ins-and-outs of digital marketing
  • Do your homework by investigating how your competition is using digital media
  • Ask colleagues, business partners and friends for digital media contacts (who do they know and trust?)
  • Use social media (e.g. twitter followers) for advice on how to best use digital media for your business. Loyal followers will happily give you suggestions!
  • Digital advertising can get complicated, from display advertising and search marketing to rich media and smartphones. Decide what you want to accomplish and contact a pro to make it happen.

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Innovation #2 : Allocate Proper Time to Social Media

Social media was once seen by some as a quick and easy way to reach consumers—but in reality, it takes commitment of not only time, but resources to make it a successful effort.  A recent survey conducted by R2integrated, a marketing solutions firm, showed that the biggest mistake US marketing professionals made with social media is not allocating proper time and resources to support the marketing effort, followed by not having a strategy.

What you can do to prepare:

  • Social media advertising is already accessible and affordable to businesses, but remember to allocate a realistic budget based on your strategy.
  • Don’t invest in a new social media tool or advertising strategy until you are sure you can allocate the necessary resources and time it will take to make it successful.  Make sure to track your results and compare them against other opportunities as well.
  • Stick with what you know. Don’t get bogged down with all the available choices.  If you are just getting started, stick with some of the basic tools.

Innovation #3: Interact with Customers via Smartphones

More and more people are accessing websites via their mobile phones. According to Gartner, the third quarter of 2010 produced record sales of more than 81 million smartphones. In 2011, this trend will continue to grow and change the way consumer’s access information and interact with businesses. In 2014, half of American’s web browsing will be done using a mobile device.

What you can do to prepare:

  • Consider making your website mobile friendly. If you have a blog platform such as wordpress, use plugins that allow easy conversion.
  • Consider using QR codes. It’s a marketing tool not fully being utilized in the wine business. Why would you  want to use it? Because it’s much easier for consumers to take a snapshot of an image to get to a landing page than it is to Google a term or remember a brand name or a long URL.

Innovation #4: Break Your Own News

According to Mashable, social media has empowered brands to break their own news instead of relying on advertising or PR pros to disseminate their message.

What you can do to prepare:

  • Don’t go out on a mission to fire your advertising or PR firm.
  • Consider growing your business 140 characters at a time.
  • Unleash your employees’ social media potential. Build a social media strategy and get your employees engaged in the action.

Do these results surprise you? What advice can you share? What will you do to enhance or change your marketing strategy for 2011? What strategies have succeeded? Failed?

~Pamela Heiligenthal