We're green, we're cost conscious, and we're social. What's Next?

There's been an interesting change in the marketplace over the past 4-5 few years that has basically happened out of a mixture of necessity and coincidence and has yielded some long-lasting outcomes. I remember interviewing a potential intern candidate about 2 ½ years ago and we began talking about how every company out there is 'going green'?. The skeptic in me pointed out that it was all too easy to want to save the environment when gas was $4.10 per gallon. I predicted that, in time as energy costs began to go back to normal, the whole green movement might lose some steam, yet the idea of environmental stewardship would remain as a 'must have'? for every company because it became engrained with everyone during that time. Which I suppose is what happened. Gas prices dropped, and being environmentally responsible was no longer a market differentiator, but an expectation. But just as gas prices dropped, the stock market imploded and people started losing their jobs. The green movement could have lost steam, but luckily for the earth, reducing our impact on the environment is directly connected to reducing the impact on our wallet; the 'use less, spend less'? ideology. Simply put, the recession acted as an enforcer of green practices. It also, and very obviously, made everyone extremely cost conscious. In addition to corporate expense accounts getting slashed, marketing budgets also took a hit. Marketers asked agencies to produce similar results with sometimes a fraction of the money, which caused us all to rethink the most effective and cost-efficient ways to do things. Something that, like green practices, will become an expectation from here on out. With reduced marketing budgets, the most logical way to get your message out there is with unpaid media. The emergence of social media in the marketing mix couldn't have come around at a better time. Although, imagining George Washington tweeting 'RT: @BennyFranklin In a room w/ 60 dudes '?¦ Hancock needs a shower'? might have been amazing as well. We've all now seen that being able to have a conversation with your consumers at practically no cost has become invaluable. Once again, it's something that is going to become a must have for any brand out there. So that's where we are now. We've learned to be more environmentally friendly, do more with less, and create killer digital strategies that include social media. But what's next? What's the next big trend? All signs point to the next big thing showing up somewhere in the social media space, whether it's a new technology, or simply an update to an old one. What new trends have you heard about that could change the face of marketing?

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