Russell Parsons: My challenge to you for 2019? Break from consensus thinking

It sometimes feels that the route to success has been decided by committee and applies for all brands everywhere. 2019 should be the year consensus thinking is challenged.

This has been an eventful year – in politics, in economics and yes, in marketing. Although the world of marketing doesn’t move at the breakneck speed of the daily drama around the Trump presidency and Brexit, there’s been plenty to chew over in 2018.

Over the past few weeks, we have looked to make sense of this year’s milestones in marketing. We have highlighted the campaigns that can be held up as examples of best practise in tackling every day challenges, to those that for better or worse demonstrate how brands see themselves as playing a role in highlighting societal ills.

There’s also been analysis of the ‘marketing moments’ of the year. And there are plenty to choose from. By way of a preview, brand architecture conundrums, the resurrection of print (sort of), influencer marketing’s moment of reckoning and the role of micro targeting are just a handful of the defining moments of the topics dissected.

As well as sober reflection on what’s gone while also providing intelligence for what is next.

Some of our predictions should be read as challenges: rallying calls for customer centricity to be realised and not just endlessly mused over, for the race to efficiency (and the bottom) to be replaced by the pursuit of effectiveness, to name just two,

To this short list of challenges I would add this – challenge yourself and your own view of the world.

There is a lot of consensus thinking in marketing. Strangely for a profession made up of many roles across a huge range of verticals in both consumer and business-to-business, opinion can herd around certain received wisdom, often at the expense of evidence to the contrary.

From acceptance of customer behaviour as they themselves perceive it and an ignorance of behavioural data rooted in reality, to an obsession with technology several steps ahead of customers. From the belief that customers want ever more personalised messaging to the belief that millennials wholesale need your brand to take a stand.

It sometimes feels that the route to success has been decided by committee and applies for all brands everywhere. It may well be that your customers demand you have a purpose. It could well be that your existing and prospective customers want to have a relationship with you and receive ever more precisely targeted messaging. Equally, you might be way off. Stop, think, find out.

All of these commonly held beliefs have been interrogated, challenged and analysed in depth this year on marketingweek.com and at our events and will continue to be next year by my wonderful colleagues and our fantastic contributors.

We will continue to prompt and give air to debate, to offer the contrarian view. To give a platform to what works and what doesn’t. In short, we will help you in your pursuit of what is right for your customer, right for your brand.

Here’s to 2019!

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