Wow, the year is almost over. You’ve already read or seen on TV dozens of retrospectives of 2009 and the decade we’re just concluding. Now it’s my turn to present some surprises in the world of marketing in the past year.

In “15 Things You Didn’t Know About Marketing,” from the AMA’s Marketing News (12/30/09), there were at least 10 things I didn’t know about marketing, and almost all of them reflect on recent trends in marketing. (Note: The article I’m referencing had not made it to the AMA website as of the time I write this. They seem to be a few weeks behind the print edition.)

First, the fact that didn’t surprise me: “attention-getting” internet ads can do more harm than good. As I wrote in an <earlier post, annoyance doesn’t work as a means of advertising. According to LinkedIn Research Network and Harris Poll, 80% of respondents find expanding ads that cover online content “very frustrating.” I am sympathetic to advertisers attempting to get your attention, but the aggressive techniques aren’t going to cut it.

Building the Case for Email?
Here’s a fun fact: E-mail marketing isn’t dead. According to Epsilon Data Management, open rates increased 18.2% in 2009’s second quarter, compared to the same period the year before. Who knew? Back in the halcyon years of email marketing, before spam and over-exposure killed the email goose’s Golden Eggs, email marketing actually brought results. I saw it happen, cuz I was there. Then, someone decided porn, meds and dating services should be poured into everyone’s email box in a steady stream, killing the medium. My theory is that open rates have increased because of anti-spam filters killing off a large portion of the spam (not all, unfortunately), so the email that does reach our inboxes is more likely to be noticed and opened if it is relevant.

Are marketers getting better at using email, too? I would say yes, and the surprising fact about email open rates confirms that.

Surprising Facts?

Some of the facts I found interesting but not as surprising are still worth mentioning.

With all of the focus on Twitter and social marketing, I believe most marketers like myself already understand that Twitter is not just for kids. In fact, only 16% of Twitter fans are under age 25 according to a Nielson NetRatings panel of 250,000 Internet users. Twitter isn’t text messaging. It’s a means of broadcasting to a wider audience – and it’s primarily a means of establishing yourself and your company as a brand. It’s a teaser ad, a service announcement, and a wide-casting communication tool.

Mobile telemarketing: wide open opportunity or a regulated network?

According to Jerry Cerasale, SVP for government affairs for the DMA, there’s a recurring urban myth that cell phones will soon be open game for telemarketers. Not true, according to Cerasale. Thank God. No sales calls while I’m at the New Years Eve party!

Happy and Prosperous New Year!