What Will Interest Me In 2005?

Happy New Year!

Here are a few of the top trends I’ll be watching closely in 2005:

1. “Web First” Marketing Strategies — Forget integrating online into the marketing mix, I’m seeing more smart companies starting with the web and working out from there. For some of my clients this will be the first year where they have moved almost all their efforts (and dollars) to the web. Look for offline media to play a supporting role for many more savvy marketers in 2005. And look for web AORs to take the lead as other agencies fall in line with the online strategies set by the web shop.

2. Rich Internet Applications — With Gmail, Flickr, Basecamp, Bloglines, and the brand new 43 Things I think we are really seeing the dawning of a whole new class of online experience. By bringing far greater functionality to their sites, these services are showing that online applications can rival desktop apps. I think 2005 will see a blurring and stretching of our concept of what the terms site and software mean. Look for ways to turn content sites into tools that users can use instead of read.

3. Desktop Apps — The flip-side of the web-based applications trend is the rise of net-centric desktop apps. Think of iTunes and RealRhapsody, FeedDemon, or Google’s Desktop Search. 2005 will also see more sites creating custom Firefox extensions and IE toolbars to keep top-of-mind with consumers. Don’t expect all your marketing to happen in a browser or e-mail client anymore.

4. Firefox — With over 15 million downloads since November 9th, the best web browser on the planet will stir things up as it rapidly gains marketshare on the old, buggy, unsecure Internet Explorer. One of my clients (with a non-tech audience) had over 8% of December traffic arriving via this open source app. This makes the move to standards-compliant sites even more essential as “IE Only” sites will alienate too many visitors to be worth the risk. As a side-note, let’s see if heads roll over the dreadful non-standards redesign of Indigo’s site.

5. RSS Hits Mainstream — Feeds were the hot tech topic in 2004 and 2005 will find this incredibly powerful tool gaining broader awareness. If you’re not using a feed reader to stay on top of the industry already, you are definitely missing the boat, and if you are not thinking about a corporate strategy to benefit from feeds in 2005, then shame on you.

Of course search will be the online marketing success story for 2005 as it was for 2004, and blogs will continue to grow in importance.

What do you see for 2005?