7 Predictions for Startups in 2012

Everyone else likes to wax on about what we might expect in 2012, so I thought I’d throw my hat in and give you my two cents about what I think we’ll see in 2012.

1. Businesses will continue to ignore the economy. If you haven’t noticed, we stopped whining about the down economy about a year ago, yet conditions haven’t really improved. That shows that the startups and entrepreneurs who have survived the recession are finding ways to trudge on, despite financial conditions. In 2012, I think we’ll see more of that. More businesses reporting profit, more startups launching.

2. Freemium products will grow. A few years ago, no one had heard of MailChimp. Now the email marketing provider is seeing 2,000 or more signups for its free accounts, and has increased paying customers by 150%. Clearly the freemium model works. Small businesses are abandoning companies that charge in favor of free services that offer more. (see my post about why I switched from Constant Contact to MailChimp for that very reason)

3. Content will explode. Just a few years ago, I was begging my clients to start blogs. Now everyone and their dog has one, and companies understand the value of content (finally!). Now that we’re adjusting to the new rules Google Panda has created, I believe content will increase rapidly in 2012.

4. Email will have to get smarter. We’re getting tired of email marketing, aren’t we? I don’t think email will die off, but I do think email marketing providers are going to have to come up with some fancy bells and whistles to keep people subscribing to mailing lists.

5. Marketing will get more interactive. I can’t wait to see what marketers come up with this year to tie in Social, Local and Mobile. Already, we’re hearing about things like review sites setting up kiosks in stores so customers can instantly review them (not sure how I feel about that one). Every year, I’m surprised at what comes out. It’s exciting.

6. Startups will have to find creative funding. We may be a bit oversaturated when it comes to startups. There are only so many amazing ideas VCs and angels can fund. So what’s a startup to do when it needs funding? Crowdsourcing is one current answer. I suspect we’ll hear about others in 2012.

7. Daily deal sites will dial down. We’ve had about all the fantastic deals we can stand, I think. I expect some daily deals sites to vanish, while others get acquired by the bigger players. Or they’ll find innovative new plays. Scoutmob is one I’m currently excited about. You don’t actually have to buy the deal; you simply redeem it at a 50% discount once you’re in the store. Groupon is now offering deals that are good “right now,” which can help vendors get foot traffic on slow days.

What do you think will happen in 2012? Share your own predictions here!

Photo: Stock.xchng user aleheredia. Royalty free.