Lee Odden

3 Thoughts on the Future of Online Marketing

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

future of online marketingIn the world of online marketing, search and social media are evolving at an incredible pace.

Consider these stats: Google sites handle about 88 billion queries a month but did you know, twitter is approaching 20 billion?

Facebook added over 200 million users in less than a year and Hitwise has reported that Facebook tops Google in weekly web traffic.

Social media is hot, but is by no means mutually exclusive of search. Search has expanded beyond Google and marketers must now consider other search channels such as internal Facebook search and mobile search as channels where customers are looking.

The intersection of search engine and social media innovations are in flux with dynamics of changing consumer preferences for information discovery, consumption and sharing.  The blur of all this change is an opportunity for brands and marketers to engage an active marketing strategy that converges the disciplines of search, social media, content and online public relations.

I believe the future of marketing brings the best of these disciplines together. To meet consumer needs, whether it’s B2B or B2C, it’s inevitable that PR will know SEO and Social Media Marketers with be versed in media relations.

Because there are so many information sources online, sales cycles are getting longer. Customers expect more than being presented with features and benefits followed by a call to action.

For marketers, it’s not better to just give more. “Better” is better. Better content, better visibility in all the places customers might looking or influenced by. It also means a better experience in brand / consumer interactions.

For example, searchers expect not only to find what they’re looking for on a search engine, but to interact with the results through commenting, rating, joining as well as buying. A purchase is just the start of social engagement with customers and customer marketing with social media continues to be a growth area.

Active online marketing pays attention to those customer needs and creates a dynamic cycle of social and search interaction. Creating customer experiences that are easily discovered through search or social and continuously evaluating what works and what doesn’t will inform marketer’s subsequent editorial, optimization and social media marketing efforts.

There are so many changes and much to look forward to in 2011. Here are three areas in particular (of many) that I think marketers should pay attention to in the coming year:

Content Marketing – This area has been popularized in the past year by people like Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute and brands are indeed adopting a publisher model of marketing through content. Content extends beyond the browser and includes mobile, social and any other kind of search.  This will only continue and get increasingly competitive for those that can afford to scale original content creation.

Content Curation – The sheer volume of content out there now is overwhelming with social publishing platforms online and mobile making it incredibly easy to create and share. Original content creation is expensive to scale and creatively challenging in the long term. Content curation serves as an efficient model for marketers to engage consumers as a source of signal amongst the noise. Note: our client HiveFire offers a very good content curation tool for enabling this.

Social Commerce – Companies like Minneapolis based Alvenda are empowering ecommerce on Facebook with brands like Brooks Brothers, Delta Airlines and Best Buy. It’s still early days for social commerce but if companies can make it part of the social experience, I think it will serve as true channel for Social Media ROI.

I think the future of marketing is dynamic, challenging and full of promise for companies that can commit themselves to a process of testing, engagement, coordinating cross channel efforts and refinement.

This post is an elaboration of my 60 second tip from the upcoming event, The Future of Marketing, that features sixty tips from marketing industry thought leaders.  Look at the names on that site and imagine 60 information packed seconds each from the likes of Chris Brogan, Ann Handley, Brian Solis, David Meerman Scott, Charlene Li, John Batelle, Jeffrey Hayzlett, Danny Sullivan, Rohit Bhargava, Guy Kawasaki, Todd Defren, Jay Baer, Josh Bernoff and on and on.

The event is free and run by the folks at ThoughtLead and sponsored by IBM.

What would your sixty second tip on the future of marketing be?

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. to comment about your title , the marketing future is totally promising and i we can’t deny this , that’s a whole world !!!!! any way , your tips look very useful actually i do know how important is to take care of content marketing since it offers many chances , social commerce has to be very interesting i never knew deeply about it just reading but since commerce is going well with it , i bet this is a very good idea for business 🙂 Thank you for sharing this

  2. Thank you man for this awesome idea.. Im so blessed to read your point of ideas. Thanks a lot 🙂

  3. These are some good ideas, if face book did have a search engine facility, i think it would dominate Googles search engines statistics.

    • Facebook’s internal search is one of the top 15 search engines according to comScore and rising every month. Who knows, maybe they’ll get into the top 3?

  4. Avatar Mike DeHerrera says

    The internet is changing at such an alarming rate only those who are able to adapt will survive. I completely agree about content, because the majority of users are seeking free content. But the thing is they still have money, so if some program comes along that really looks promising then you can make bank.

    That is what I try to do with my blog, only provide real value to people. Not just some over hyped sales pitch.

  5. My 60 second tip – the playing service changes but the rules stay the same. Know where your customers are and how to reach them. From word of mouth to newspapers to radio to billboards to TV to the Internet, the goal has always been to get your message to someone who will act on it. For some newspapers still work, for some it doesn’t. Social media may work now for someone who may have to change 5 years from now. It’s always exciting.

    • “Aligning customer and brand objectives through online content” That’s my definition of content marketing but obviously, as you’ve pointed out, offline content still works in the right situations.

  6. social commerce has to be very interesting i never knew deeply about it just reading but since commerce is going well with it , i bet this is a very good idea for business 🙂 Thank you for sharing this

  7. Just saw a youtube video on how we are evolved around social media, and it is overwhelming. I guess by next year with more development of smart phones, the era of marketing through brochures/pamphlets, paper related etc would be gone.

  8. Wow! Great thoughts. This is something that most people haven’t been talking about but I have been thinking about in my head. Thanks for sharing! Becky

  9. Avatar Charles Bailey says

    Once we find a way to harness the Social Media Network being used for search engine rankings just think of the competition lol.

  10. For B-to-B marketers I think LinkedIn shows a lot of promise:
    -the audience of decision makers and buyers is there
    -unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn does not use the “no-follow” attribute and links on the site are counted by Google.

    Britt Brouse
    SmartBug Media

  11. We’ve played around somewhat with Facebook advertising and so far we are less than impressed. I think as it evolves over time it may improve as a B2B medium.

  12. Great information. Thanks. There are still a lot of companies and marketers out there that don’t realize the advantages of online and social marketing. Companies that can take advantage of this will leave their competitors wondering what hapopened.

  13. The future of Marketing is forever changing, the idea is to keep the goal in mind no matter the changes, and do your best to reach the goal, which is ultimately sending your message over to your customers. So no matter how marketing changes over time, you must be able to evolve along with it to keep up.

  14. Avatar Pete"BloggingGenius"Carr says

    Hi Lee,
    All the different strategies being implemented these days require a lot of work, nearly become a full time job, Arghh. If you stay on top of them and consider them in your traffic strategy then I think we will survive.
    I can see sights like Facebook becoming the places to go on the internet, people are generally lazy, so if they can go to one place for everything, like shopping, chat to friends, watch videos then they will. This is where Facebook will completely dominate in the future.

  15. Hi Lee,I have a question about about page rank, My web page rank is 5. And its apply to almost all pages . Why is that and is there any think i can do simply to increase my home page rank to 6 ? Any thing to do with “no follow ” Thanks in advance for your help

    Sorry for posting this question here

  16. Avatar Mandi Hudson says

    I find it very interesting that Facebook shows Bing search results on queries now. It will be interesting to see if people evolve their behavior to start using Facebook search in place of Google search. I am not holding my breath that this is where it will go though, just interesting to watch. 🙂

  17. Avatar Williamayden says

    Great to see you again. Internet marketing is a play of quality content and timely services. Nothing else man.

  18. Avatar Richard Bligdon says

    It’s amazing just how much Social Networking,etc is coming into the picture as far as marketing goes now,as well as being a great way for fellow marketers to keep contact,but then people are all about relationships and marketing is all about branding yourself,your company and developing relationships with your leads,prospects and customers.The future of it should interesting!

    • Hey Richard, I hear you on the growth of social networking, but I’m always left thinking when I see that: Hasn’t networking always been a big part of business? Technology or social technology has changed but the value of relationships is and always has been important. It can be easy to get caught up in the technology, sometimes forgetting the reason it’s valuable has always been important for business.