Last year we did our “11 Must-Have’s for Your 2011 Marketing Plan“. We think our list for 2011 is just as important for 2012, but this year we thought it would be fun to get another marketer’s take on the best and worst of the year. Nikki Gore is this week’s guest blogger who helps us wrap up 2012. She is a product marketing specialist and founder of Siren Marketing.

By Nikki Gore

This is one of my favorite times of the year.  Yes, I’m a Christmas junkie.  Yuletide trappings make me very, very, happy. The other thing that makes me exceptionally happy are lists and this time of the year is full of them.  Highlights of the year, plays of the year, stories of the year, photos of the year, scandal of the year, celebrity meltdown of the year — I love them all.

So, I got very excited to start my own, short list of the Good, Bad and Ugly in marketing in 2011.

The Good

Kobo beats Amazon to market with a tablet This may seem like a small, obscure story to some but let’s look at this again.  Kobo — small, Canadian, David taking on Goliath.  Yes Amazon announced their tablet first but Kobo got it into market first.  Add some icing in the form of Japanese giant Rakuten buying Kobo for over $300M to make it the largest transaction in the Canadian market since the sale of Workbrain in 2007.

The Bad

Motorola Xoom Tablet Launch If you are thinking about the four P’s, Motorola missed a big one on the price side of things and, I would argue also fell short on the product itself.  While the Xoom reviewed reasonably well with the tech crowd there were some glaring shortcomings when compared to the iPad in terms of simplicity of the user experience and application availability.  However, what should have been a big glaring neon sign of warning to the Motorola powers that be was the price tag.  Who in their right minds were going to pay $800 for a tablet ($600 if you tied yourself to a Verizon contract and spent a boatload on a monthly data plan).

The Ugly

RIM’s Playbook Tablet Fiasco I almost put this in The Bad but this was not only bad but so, so, ugly.  Aside from being late to market, lackluster advertising and the comedy of errors around inventory and distribution (Black Friday?  Please) the failure of the Playbook, in my opinion boils down to one key question: How does a mobile device manufacturer, known for email, release a device that has no email integration?  I rest my case.

The Jury is Still Out

There were a few things this year that aren’t definitive high points or low points so for me the jury is still out:

Facebook Launches Another New Interface What’s so different about another new interface with Facebook?  The most recent update, including timelines, changes to brand pages, fan pages, any kind of pages was introduced with a little more fanfare than the normal under the radar, log in and surprise, Facebook is somehow different.  The reactions have also been widely reported on – impact to user experience, impact to advertisers, impact to Facebook itself as rumors start to swirl about a possible IPO.  There have been some real issues with the way messages are treated but there are also some nice new features on the interface (I personally like the timeline summary).

Google + Google has never been known to make a big deal out of new features coming out of its factory.  Google is a master at creating excitement and demand that goes viral without actually promoting.  This serves well when things don’t go so well with experience or uptake on its experiments.  Google + seemed to have more buzz than usual.  There was a high demand for beta accounts.  People talk about it on Twitter, speculate about the impact on social media marketing and the like.  I’m not sure about this one though.  For all the chatter, I still don’t have a sense for adoption and I’m seeing lots of “why do I do Google +” and “I don’t get Google +”.

I know there are hundreds of other marketing events I could have included. Believe me, as a chronic list maker, it took a lot of restraint to pick just these few.  While it’s always interesting to look back, I also believe that it’s even more exciting to contemplate what’s coming.

We look forward to all the exciting marketing prospects awaiting us in 2012.