GroupM reckons the UK could be one of the first countries out of the UK ad recession with a 0.1% year-on-year increase in ad spend in 2010. When it comes to good news, you take whatever you can get.
If the emaciated marketing budgets of 2009 are going to be all but mirrored in 2010 then marketers must continue to sustain the sense of pragmatism they’ve demonstrated this year. In fact that pragmatism, as has been written many times, will be a lasting feature for marketers. Yes, budgets may come back, although probably not to the levels seen previously unless you’re one of the big global spenders. For the rest, it might be that creativity becomes your best weapon in extending your budget. I was taken with the idea by German domestic appliance manufacturer Miele to stretch marketing spend through profitable events, with the events themselves providing lasting brand equity.
What will be retained though, and rightly so, is the sense that more can be got for every pound spent on advertising, through better use of data and targeting. That means a continuation of the trend that has seen agencies, media planners and buyers and indeed media owners having to work harder to win your confidence, and your cash.
Elsewhere, if we’re talking trends that will define the activities of our global industry in 2010, we’ll see further investment into brands engaging with issues of sustainability, no matter how successful our leaders are in Copenhagen this week.
We’ll see conversations about how a brand positions itself as premium in an era when nearly every conversation is about price (see Tesco slashing prices on its Finest range to win short-term battles with the likes of Waitrose and sacrificing its premium brand values in an instant). Elsewhere we’ll find new opportunities in an ever-expanding global market. Those of you who have already secured footholds in Brazil, Russia, India and China (the nations that will lead the recovery in ad spending while the US and Western Europe follow behind, according to ZenithOptimedia), will be looking further afield at the growth markets yet to emerge and reveal themselves. We’ll also be dealing with a newly-equipped and ever-more demanding consumer who will match the pragmatism of businesses when looking after their own budgets and will outpace you in search of great value and meaningful offers.
Perhaps the most significant trend in 2010 will be the continued speed of innovation by the hi-tech and digital brands. In the past week alone, my Twitter account has been alive with enthused Tweets about at least four different Google launches. The ability of such businesses to be creative, strategic, swift to innovate and solution-based will put them at the forefront of marketing.