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Innovate or Liquidate (Marketing Trends for 2009)

In their second annual survey of Top Marketing Trends for 2009, Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG) and Anderson Analytics list the top five marketing trends for 2009. For most marketers, the results will not be a surprise. But a couple of items cannot be stressed enough.

First, retention is important. However, you cannot retain your way into growth. Investing in research and insights are the keys to innovation and true innovation is the key to growth. During a slowdown, it is absolutely critical that companies invest in research, innovate and create new products.

Second, without a strong understanding of what value new products are providing, it is very easy for companies to drift off track. There's a big difference between innovation and simply creating more SKUs. Steve Jobs work at Apple is a great example of innovation, simplicity and understanding the heart of his customers. Proctor and Gamble's Tide would be an example of the latter, confusing innovation with product proliferation.

Finally, innovation is not only a key to growth. It is also the key to retaining and attracting talent. That talent is the sustainable competitive advantage organizations need to grow and stay ahead of the pack. Innovative companies are able to maintain employee excitement. When the markets turn, these companies will be left standing.

The Top Five Trends:

I. Insight and innovation are viewed as keys to combat down economic and business cycles. 72% of respondents indicated that innovation efforts would stay the same or increase, while 39% say their use of market research will increase in the next year.

II. Customer satisfaction and customer retention remained the top two marketing concepts, followed by marketing ROI, brand loyalty and segmentation.

III. The issue of global warming showed the largest decrease in importance (dropping 14 places in the rankings), while green marketing showed a statistically significant 5% drop.

IV. Twice as many marketers are "sick" of hearing about Web 2.0 and related buzzwords such as "blogs" and "social networking" compared to last year's survey; however, marketers still admit they don't know enough about it.

V. Despite well-publicized quality issues over the last year, China ranked the number one greatest area of opportunity for 53% of the marketers and India was a distant second. Interest in offshoring also diminished.