Year 2011 is going to be a challenging one for everyone, especially for marketing professionals year 2011 is yet another tough year with minimum marketing budget and competition. Apart from traditional marketing marketers should need to learn how to leverage all the new digital marketing capabilities. Because digital marketing is the best way to cut down marketing expenses and reach the target audience more accurately. Following are the predicted marketing and digital marketing trends for the year 2011.

1 – Customer value is the key – Customers will never think of buying excessive, whatever buy they might have a reason for buying. Purchase matches the need. That’s it.

2 – Firms will only perform well in the market when they deliver superior value to the customers.

3 – Understanding customers well is a key factor for success. It is not about just selling, knowing the customers well and selling is the concept. Database, data mining and one to one marketing is going to be important in marketing activities.

4 – Winning the customers heart is the key, not just by offering superior products and services, but through social responsibilities. These efforts will need to be believable, sustained and engaging.

5 – Innovation- Brands / firms need to pull the “me too” mindset away from the customers. They have to differentiate themselves compared to competition.

6- Right word of mouth is going to be the key in driving the business. Their purchase decision will strongly influenced by peer group thoughts and views towards the brand. Social networking is growing and people talking about their lovable brand everywhere.

7 – Customers will seek for human touch / human interaction. Automation will further irritate customers in several ways.

8 – Loyalty marketing continues to be the important. Probably point based loyalty scheme will continue to work but not the privileged based one.

9 – The importance of digital media continues to increase. Marketers need to know more about digital media and how they can take maximum use out of it for less cost. Following are some digital marketing trends for the year 2011.

• Marketing budget will continue to shift online – Customers spend their time more on internet. People are bombarded with ads and other traditional medium. Digital media has changed the way customers purchase products. Post purchase evaluation will start in the beginning; people will build initial relationship with brands and then only buy it. Most of the firms in Sri Lanka actively recruiting people to do online marketing as they know the city population is now online.

• Traditional media tends to lose their prominence in marketing activities. Click here to watch a video

• Social media marketing will take new shapes such as social listening research, influencer marketing, community marketing and social gaming.

• Mobile marketing will take off – I would say year 2011 firms will continue to use mobile marketing than before. I would name year 2010 as a year for spamming.