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By Sean O’Neal

RISMEDIA, January 26, 2009-(eMarketingandCommerce.com)-2008 was a tumultuous year for marketers – it exposed cracks in many of the marketing strategies advertisers have relied on for so long. In 2009, marketers need to rethink their business strategies in order to remain relevant this year and beyond.

I may not have a crystal ball, but here are a few trends I expect we’ll see this year:

1. Drought across traditional media. Despite the decreased media spend across all channels, traditional media such as broadcast and print will suffer the biggest blows as advertisers place their existing dollars in digital strategies. The ability for advertisers to accurately measure whom they’re actually reaching will be the key selling point of digital media.

2. Show me the performance. Performance-based media companies will thrive in the downturn. They’ll exploit the demand for cost-per-action media opportunities and the ability to generate guaranteed results.

3. Smarter spending. With budgets shrinking, advertisers, marketers and agencies vigilantly will scrutinize where to allocate every dollar and resource they have. Investing in unproven channels and developing elaborate branding campaigns will end, while campaigns and channels that have proven successful in the past will continue to be leveraged.

4. Know thy customer. Marketers can’t afford to spend media dollars on messages that reach the wrong audiences. Instead, they’ll use advanced audience analytics to reach their ideal customers. Marketers will want to layer demographic targeting with known behavior targeting to further hone in on their perfect audiences. Marketers also will look to identify other pockets of interest within new audience groups for cross-sell, upsell and brand refocus strategies. By adding multiple layers of data to target, marketers will see a significant lift in campaign performance.

5. Existing customers are the best customers. Smart marketers will use cost-effective channels such as e-mail to extend the lifetime value of their existing customer bases through integrated retention, loyalty and cross-marketing programs.

6. Companies on equal footing. Finally, we’ll see an increased amount of consolidation among media companies. However, in complete contrast to previous years when companies were overvalued and taken over by larger players, consolidation will not be in the form of acquisitions, but rather in mergers of equals.

These are just a few of the subjects I believe will make headlines in 2009. While it’s difficult to be optimistic about the coming year, I believe if these predictions come true, it will help lay the foundation for recovery and prosperity in the coming years.

Sean O’Neal is chief revenue officer at Datran Media, an online marketing services firm based in New York. Reach Sean at sean@datranmedia.com.

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