Now, let us clarify. “Social” – as in social media and networking – isn’t going anywhere. In fact, businesses and consumers alike are only scratching the surface of the potential of social. But we do believe that it’s time to get real about what the digital landscape is…and isn’t.

The digital and social marketplace has exponentially increased communications real estate wherein consumers and businesses can share, interact and persuade. It has not, however, revolutionized communications fundamentals. It’s all communications. And communications is commerce.

In 2012, we challenge you to make this subtle but profound shift in thinking. Consider that social networking is networking; e-commerce is commerce; digital marketing is marketing; and online audiences are, simply, audiences. It is in this way that qualifiers like “social” and “online” will ultimately become irrelevant and their usage the mark of someone who still regards anything from the digital realm as a mysterious phenomena to be decoded rather than utilized.

There is already a fragile line separating the social, digital and virtual from actual experiences, but it will become even more tenuous in 2012. We’ve identified clear indicators that 2012 will be the year “social” (and other increasingly outmoded adjectives) goes away…from our sales and marketing vernacular, that is.

Visit this blog every week through the end of the year for a deep dive into our 2012 predictions, including those that explore:

  • The demand for customer-brand experiences that are hyper-intuitive and seamless across platforms.
  • How virtual and reality are merging…really.
  • Why Google+ will fail.
  • Social media ads will refine the art of push-and-pull.
  • Proof that social media traction correlates to brand affinity

As always, our thinking is rooted in experience and corroborated by data. Check out the statistics below for micro-illustrations of these macro trends.

Sooner than you might expect, “social” will no longer matter. Businesses must plan less for the channel and more for shifting consumer behaviors that flag the devices, circumstances and experiences they respond to. Are you ready to let “social” go in 2012? We want to know why or why not…let this blog be a place for keeping the dialogue alive around the future of communications.