As 2011 winds down and you find yourself thinking about everything that is good about the holidays, it's also time to consider the 2012 marketing trends on the horizon—and how to take advantage of them in your marketing plan.

It may or may not surprise you that the one "forever" trend, real-time marketing, won't make my list. But one 2011 trend will continue to be huge in 2012, and all marketers need to embrace it and harness its power. That trend is Big Data.

Here are my picks for the Top 5 marketing trends for 2012, and all five are related to Big Data.

1. Big Data

Though "Big Data" may be a hyperbolic term, when you think about it, every marketer accumulates customer data every minute–whether from the Internet, from sales conversations in their customer relationship management (CRM) tools, or from ongoing service history. That's what Big Data really is: customer interaction history. Every minute you are not using Big Data means a lost buying opportunity.

A recent IDC study found that digital information is doubling every two years. That kind of information growth is what Big Data is all about. The information available about buying behavior across many, many channels constitutes real opportunities to engage potential buyers in different ways to drive revenue at every stage of the customer lifecycle at the right time.

Big Data is not going away, it's just getting bigger.

2. Marketing Automation 3.0 (or the Rebirth of the Marketing Data Mart)

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Joe Cordo is chief marketing officer of Extraprise, a leader in right-time revenue optimization for B2B and B2C enterprises, providing database marketing and demand-generation services. For more information, contact Joe via or call +1(888) i2iMKTG.