co Can Marketers Predict The Future? |

I found an interesting article that proposed 13 prophecies in Internet marketing. I don’t agree with all the prophecies, but many are right on. Nevertheless, I found the article interesting and I’d like to share my own insights into which prophecies might come true:

First, the prophecies:

  1. Onsite Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will be History
  2. Searching will become more User-friendly
  3. More Personalized & Localized Results will Influence SEM
  4. Natural Language Reputation Algorithm will be a Great Factor
  5. Copying Themes will be punished by Near Duplicate Content Filter
  6. TrustRank will be Stronger than PageRank
  7. Online Social Media will kill Traffic from Search Engines
  8. Handheld Devices will Rule Future Traffic
  9. Email will be the Least Used for Personal Communication
  10. Personal Power to Influence Purchase will Increase
  11. Web-based Consumer Analytics will be Major Internet Marketing Process
  12. Web Cluster and Widgets will mean Businesses for Small Companies
  13. Future Internet Marketers will be Personal Helper

First, I see No. 1 and No. 4 as nearly the same thing. Perhaps a slight nuance between the two, but I’ll treat them the same. In a word, this prophecy has already started being fulfilled. The search engines – most of them – use some sort of natural language algorithm already. While it is in its most primitive form at this stage, I believe this technology will improve and the search engines will get better at analyzing context for meaning. SEO as we know it won’t disappear completely, but it will change to be idea-based rather than keyword-based.

Regarding user-friendly search, it’s already becoming more user friendly, but there will always be people who won’t figure it out. There is no way to make search so easy that anyone can do it. But I do like the idea of searching for a product on the search engines themselves and purchasing through them. That may very well be likely in a couple of years.

Regarding No. 3, that’s not really a prophecy. It’s happening as we speak. What I think will be a major move toward local and personal marketing online will be more widespread use of mobile marketing.

I’m not so sure about No. 5. Unless he means themes within the same niche. I can’t see Google penalizing people for using the same WordPress theme, especially if they’re in totally different online niches.

Again, we’re already seeing PageRank fall by the wayside. Only a few Internet marketers even rely on it any more. TrustRank is on the rise, but this is old news.

Regarding social media replacing search engines – I doubt it. But I do see the two integrating. Someday you’ll see search and social media being so integrated that you won’t be able to think about either of them as separate entities.

I’m not sure where this author is getting the handheld device prophecy. He seems to be saying that users will switch from using mobile phones for online use to PDAs, but why have two devices? Unless the PDA and mobile phone integrate into the same tool, which is happening in some ways, then I think this prophecy is way off base. Mobile marketing will be big.

It will be a long time before e-mail dies. Don’t count on that prophecy coming true.

Once again, the author has broken the same prophecy up into two (so he really only has 11 prophecies). The personal power and “philanthropy as marketing” is already taking root. Those who give the most build the best reputations. Become an expert in your niche and people will take you seriously. We’re already seeing it but I do believe this prophecy will come true and some day you’ll see social internet marketers carry the same influence as someone like, say, Oprah – make a recommendation and there will be best sellers.

Prophecy No. 11 is right on. This is already starting to be the case. Tools like Trackur is making online reputation management a high priority for everyone. And I like the idea of “Search Engine Reputation Management.”

Prophecy No. 12 is interesting. I do see some potential here for small businesses and widgets as a business, but we are a long way off from that now. We’ve first got to the small business man and woman online to conduct business and there’s a lot of progress to be made before widespread widget use is making people money.

All in all, I’d say that Asif Anwar is right about most of his predictions, but most of them are already starting to come true, which doesn’t say much for his skills as a prophet. It just means that reality is sinking in a little faster than expected. You don’t have to be Nostradamus to see where we’re headed now. The future of Internet marketing is bright.