MarketingVOX yesterday reported “Marketing Trends for ’09“.  Is it just me, or does someone somewhere at the beginning of every year say, “Marketing executives are going back to basics this year, putting renewed focus on satisfying and retaining customers and investing in research and insights.”  And at the beginning of every year do I really believe it, or is it just wishful thinking?

The article from an a report by MarketingCharts examines a white paper by Anderson Analytics conducted for the Marketing Executives Networking Group.  The study surveyed MENG members opinions on marketing concepts, buzzwords, global opportunities, targeting, as well as where members look for inspiration.

The first two trends seem pretty basic to me and to be expected.

  #1. Insight and Innovation Key: Insight and innovation are viewed as keys to combat down economic and business cycles.

#2. Customers at Top of List: Basic customer satisfaction and customer retention remained the top two concepts of interest to marketers.

It was the third in the list that stood out to me.

#3. Green Marketing and Global Warming Lose Importance: 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.

Now how can that be?  With all the “green gushing” going on?  (I’m still waiting for someone to come up with a Dr. Seuss parody, “Green Email and Spam”.)

Those of you over 45 should remember that in the mid to late ’70s the dire warnings were of a coming Ice Age.  From Freezing to melting in just 35 short years….  I mean, come on, Irena Sendlerowa saves over 2,500 Jewish children during the Holocaust, but Al Gore beats her out for a Nobel Prize!?  What kind of messed up world do we live in?

I remember a conversation around last Earth Day with an Industry insider for whom I have a great deal of respect.  He used Bass Pro Shops as an example of a company promoting “green”.  Now, truth be told Bass Pro Shops probably makes more money from owners of big smelly Sport Fishers (I’m a sailor, so all power boats are smelly to me) than the guys in waders.  Does one really think that the Sport Fisher owner wants to buy from someone that tells him he’s destroying the planet?  That kind of thinking only works with people who subscribe to the same ideology.  You’re just pissing off everyone who doesn’t. 

Here’s a tip: Survey your users opinions and segment messaging to those who want “green” emails from those who don’t.  We have the technology, let’s use it. 

In the prologue of Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton wrote, “You think man can destroy the planet?  What intoxicating vanity.”  Crichton went on to say, “This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale.  We can’t imagine its slow and powerful rhythms and we haven’t got the humility to try.”  Don’t just drink the Kool-Aid because everyone else does….

But I digress….

#4. Marketers “Sick” of Web 2.0: Twice as many marketers are “sick” of hearing about Web 2.0 and related buzzwords such as “blogs” and “social networking” compared with last year’s survey.

Before you get your panties in a bunch, consider that 67% of respondents consider themselves beginners when it comes to social media and admit that they don’t know enough about it.  I can fall into that category as well.  Fortunately there are some great resources to help bring us up to speed, like Jason Baer’s Convince & Convert and the gang over at MarketingProfs Daily Fix.

#5.  Most Opportunity in China and among Boomers: China ranks as the #1 greatest area of opportunity (53%) for marketers with international responsibility, while India is a distant second with votes from 17% of respondents.

In terms of the best opportunity for customer targeting, marketing execs also still feel that Boomers hold the most promise. However, the perceived importance of Generation X and Generation Y grew significantly compared with 2008 survey results.

Something that I find interesting is that respondents ranked their tiring of incessantly hearing about “going green” and “Web 2.0” higher than marketing opportunities.  The pecking of a thousand ducks can do that to even the most stalwart.

While there is a quid pro quo for Web 2.0 with most surveyed admitting that they don’t fully grasp social media, that same excuse doesn’t fly with Green Marketing and Global Warming.  Smart marketers will do well to temper their zeal for “green” this year and maybe consider that not all of their customers and prospects agree with them on what are essentially more political issues than marketing opportunities….