Marketer of the Year 2009

Three Marketers to Watch in 2010

This Trio Didn't Quite Make the Running, but Are on the Path for the Next Marketer of the Year

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Apple has the hottest product in the land with the iPhone, posted a record quarter for both revenue and profits, and its "I'm a Mac" effort is the most durable campaign around, with many devoted fans. One of those fans asked why we didn't look at Apple as Marketer of the Year in a comment on "I actually watch their commercials," wrote The Scoopz of Raleigh, N.C. "I do not watch any TV in real time."

Just try to find a brand with a bigger mass of loyal followers. That fervency has led to a soaring share in the smartphone category, and even the Mac line of laptops and desktops is making some headway in a competitive set where Apple stands as the pricier offering -- not too shabby given the current focus on value. But when you boil it down, Apple's story in 2009 is one of continued excellence. While it managed to gin up hype around a new version of the iPhone and communicated the non-musical capabilities of the iPod, there were no new breakthroughs. 2010, however, could be a different story, as Steve Jobs and company are likely to unveil a new tablet computer that could change how people communicate, just as the iPhone did.


"What about Ford?" wrote Cdwriter, of Owings Mills, Md. "Not accepting the government bailout was smart marketing. These days, getting back to fundamentals like improving the product line, which they did and are doing -- that's smart marketing. Developing a strategy that'll withstand market cycles -- that's smart marketing." As we near the end of 2009, it's clear Ford is the best positioned of what's left of Detroit's Big Three. Not taking Uncle Sam's money kept Ford from getting a big black mark with consumers and allowed it to keep its independence.

With that freedom, Ford has concentrated on building its brand, in sharp contrast to most other carmakers now focused almost entirely on retail pushes. Ford has also been smart about using digital, especially social media, as with the launch of the Fiesta in the U.S. Budgets have kept up, with Ford expected to spend big for the remainder of this year and the first quarter of 2010. All in all, there's plenty of reason Ford has a long-term marketing strategy that could help lead the company to continue to grab share from Chrysler and General Motors and out of the auto mess. Last week, Ford said it had snapped 17 consecutive quarters of losses, announcing nearly a $1 billion profit.


How can you talk about value and not talk about the home of the $5 footlong? That's what readers asked us after we put McDonald's up for the vote. To be sure, Subway has a lot going for it. It will soon be the world's largest chain by stores -- bigger than even the Golden Arches, which still crushes them in sales per store -- and 2009 performance is estimated to be flat to slightly up. That's not bad, considering it's been, well, an awful year for business, and considering that last year's double-digit increases made for tough comps. But, as with Apple, Subway's 2009 has mainly been about maintaining what it did in 2008, even though you could argue the sandwich chain has dialed down the corniness on many of their spots. Part of that is due to a better outreach to sports fans, partnering with the NFL, and adding Michael Phelps to the roster. The chain is counting on Mr. Phelps' participation in the 2012 Olympics, and that promotional tie-ins will build their stature at home and abroad. Subway is also pushing harder into breakfast, a move that leaves some observers skeptical. Nevertheless, its 1,900-location test with Seattle's Best shows that, if nothing else, Subway is willing to innovate.