New year, new positive outlook

Welcome to 2010. It looks like a tough year ahead. Trends and predictions are all very well but anybody can be a futurist. You need something more solid than famous people telling you what they think might happen.

What we offer in our first cover story of the year (page 14) is what will happen. We’ve asked no fewer than 24 top marketers, marketing academics and agencies exactly what they plan to do in 2010. How will they offset the fact that nobody can provide an undisputed view of the economy’s fortunes? What ‘truths’ are they relying on to succeed in a rapidly changing environment and how do they plan to spend their budget? The insight they offer is made all the richer by the marketers from our list of brands (including Coca-Cola, Expedia, Fujitsu, Zurich and Orange), providing a diverse account of their biggest successes in 2009, and the things they wish they had done differently. Few of them foresee 2010 presenting any easier a marketplace than 2009, but their confidence when describing how they plan to pit their strategies against their own specific challenges is reassuring.

Predictably, the World Cup and the run-up to London 2012 get a mention by those brands best-placed to leverage them, while UKTV’s Tom Lucas points to the General Election as a much-needed end to political uncertainty that could impact positively on consumer spending.

Some, such as male grooming brand Bulldog, believe innovative launches will be key to success in 2010. Elsewhere, there is talk of greater investment in everything from behavioural change science (COI chief executive Mark Lund) to mobile (Yahoo!’s European head of marketing James Tipple bases his speculation into mobile on the premise that there are 4.5 times more mobile users than PC users globally).

On the two occasions that we have asked trendspotters to tell us the future, Wolff Olins prinicpal Frank Striefler and planning supremo Richard Madden both give stark, practical tips that you would be foolish not to cut out and stick to the base of your computer screen. Madden, in particular, is at times so insightful that reading his observations made me giggle with nervous recognition.

And, back to politics for a moment, in a week that began with aggressive elctioneering by both main parties, Ray Snoddy uses his column (page 12) to explain what a Tory government could do to our media landscape. In a broadly positive piece, he signs off with an ominous note to agencies. I would counter-balance his pessimism with the following message to adland/ If you’re reading this, you should be encouraged by the open manner in which marketers outline their hopes for 2010 in this issue. They’re practically begging you to get on the phone and offer them your expertise.

As Striefler says, “Let’s not waste this recession.” Let’s “push the reset button” and find the approach that works for you.

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David Reed

The difference between best-in-class marketers and the laggards when it comes to customer acquisition can be as much as a factor of 43. On customer retention, the performance differential is a factor of 10.5. Those dramatic findings have emerged from research carried out by Aberdeen Group, sponsored by Neolane, into Offer Optimisation: Using customer analytics […]

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