Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Marketing Predictions 2009

From deep in the epicenter of the marketing brain-trust, right here in Vietnam, come my predictions for the industry in 2009. And how, you may ask, might I be equipped to delve deep inside the world of marketing from the vantage point of this very developing market? Because this is where I believe the immediate future of the business lies, not necessarily in Vietnam, but in markets like Vietnam, who can provide a petrie dish for embrionic business ideas before they are launched into larger markets. And I have not been the first person to have this idea. That credit goes first this year to Sir Martin Sorrell, who, aside from possibly being the most creative man in contemporary marketing, due to his Dell project and other WPP initiatives, has made no secret of his intention to focus his company's growth in emerging markets as opposed to the developed ones who are most certainly at the beginning of a global recession that will last anywhere from ten to eighteen months, depending on who you listen to. Developing market growth in advertising and marketing has been forcast for 25% whilst mature markets like the States, Europe and Japan will most certainly clock in well below ten percent, and could even reach into the negative numbers in some sectors, automotive and banking included.

Aside from the more obvious growth projections, working in a market like this provides a window into consumer behaviour and insights that will be the future of marketing engines for at least my lifetime in the business and a blueprint of how the Asian market, and I mean the Asian market alone, will be the salvation of global business in any great number of ways over the next 50 years. Before I launch into the predictions phase of this post, lets rewind to a few of my past entries and collect a little data: In February, my post,
"Are The Boggerati Missing The Market" began to point out the importance of Asia on the Internet with Korea, China and Vietnam playing major digital roles. In March, I followed up with "Old Numbers: Good Morning Vietnam", a post that pointed out, quite simply, Asia's Internet dominance in the world - currently, and for the rest of the future as anybody living will know it. I'm including a graph here showing Asia's Internet penetration superiority. But it wasn't until June when the pieces began to fall into place for me with the post "Martin Sorrell and The Siliconmunists Storm Saigon" where the link between traditional advertising and digital became blurry and started to seem like almost the same thing - because the company that Sir Martin bought into in Vietnam, is as much a media company as it is an advertising agency - not disimilar to the kind of company Dentsu in Japan was after being forged from the remnants of the ministries of information and propaganda after WWII. SocialJulio on Twitter furthered my thinking in this area with a flip/flop speculation that Google will buy Publicis, just days after Sorrell did his Vietnam deal. At virtually the same time as all of this, the US banking failure started to unfold as Fannie, Freddie and Lehman all represented by Dewey, Cheatham and Howe began to go belly up as illustrated by Brian Romero in my post, "America: Land of the Free, Home of the Slave" and continued with the mass bailouts requested in September as chronicled in my "Billion Here/Billion There" entry. All the while I continued my social marketing education with eclectic posts like, "Attracton vs. Conversion - How To Power Your Blog", a mix of exotic street observation, social theory, marketing and business speculation, that propelled The Wild Wild East Dailies to a Technorati rank well inside the top 1/2% of blogs worldwide - clearly there was a convergence of all this disparate thinking waiting in the wings. By fall it was beginning to hit me. Watching the Vietnam Advertising Association stumble through a quietly launched Advertising Institute and a mysteriously promoted awards show I began to wonder if they had ever heard of the Internet, much less thought of it as a means to promote their initiatives - but then I realized that this was not just a Vietnamese phenomenen but a global one when the local BIG SHOW, a distinctly multinational event, managed their advertising show without a digital category or even a website to show for it - all on the heels of a more than successful first BarCampSaigon, a digital non-conference held at RMIT University, the picture became crystal clear: If traditional advertising and digital didn't converge, they would kill each other, because neither one will be going very far without the other.

And so now, without further adieu, even though I've sufficiently let parts of the cat out of the bag - my Marketing Predictions for 2009:

#1) Traditional Advertising Expenditures (TV, Radio, Print) will shrink by 20% due to world financial contractions + the lack of Olympic and US Political spend - digital spend will more than double. And where do I get these numbers you ask? Well, I read all the industry data I can and then just pull them out of my ass of course. It's nearly as accurate as any Wall Street dartboard technique or the studied predictions of most financial analysts.

#2) Y&R will cease to exist. Or if you don't like that name, say DDB or Leo Burnett or any other once great agency brand that's been marginalized by it's present holding company. Maybe it's Grey or another. The point here is not to get the name right but to predict the end of a once great name. Why? Because when push comes to shove, somebody's going to get shoved out. It's not rocket science. Why did WPP create an entirely new agency to service Dell when they already had three perfectly good ones? Because the nature of the business is changing and some dinosaur needs to die.

#3) Google will Buy Publicis. Because Publicis already bought the search business from Google? Well maybe. And maybe there are enough synergies to have it all make sense. It seems as if this buying business has the possibility of going two different ways. Plan "B" is discussed in the next prediction.

#4) WPP will buy VinaGame. I know this is strictly a local prediction, but let's widen it to include the idea that it makes sense to buy digital delivery systems while they're available at reasonable rates to have waiting in the wings for clients who will want them anyway in the not-so-distant-future. Why not buy AOL? Advertising holding companies buying digital delivery media makes perfect sense because it guarantees that any message can be uniquely targeted right through to the final consumer with no weak links in the chain - and gives the digital company access to creative content providers who can create branded vehicles for clients - like the soap operas became for Procter & Gamble so many years ago.

So those are my calls for 2009. You can rake me over the coals on the financials until the cows come home because I haven't done financials on any of this, that's Sir Martin's job - but if you do that, you're missing the point - the point being is that we have two very complimentary businesses going through two very different trajectories right now - digital on the way up and traditional on the way down. There's bound to be some creative destruction in the middle.

For more information about Brand Marketing Training in Vietnam, go here <.

For more on Creativity, Education and the like, check below:

"Do Our Schools Kill Creativity?" - Sir Ken Robinson
Brand Marketing and Staff Training in Vietnam
2009 Marketing Predictions
The Language Barrier - An Asian Business Conundrum

For more on digital marketing and social networking see:

Xing vs. LinkedIn: Round II
Trial and Error: The New Normal
What's Wrong With My Social Networking? Xing vs. LinkedIn I
Low Tech Germany. Who Knew?
Advertising People and Blogs
How to Write the Best Blog in the World
What If Gutenberg Had a Blog?
If Blogs Are Free Does That Make Them Worthless?
Detri-Viral Marketing II: The Top 10 Social Media Blunders
Bright Lights, Big Internet and the WWED
Saigon Digital Marketing Conference Successfully Avoids Plumbers Convention
A Tale of Many Marketing Conferences
Detri-Viral Marketing I: How Web 2.0 Can Go Against A Brand
Marketing Predictions for 2009
Barcamp Saigon 2008
"Ignore Everybody" is Born: A Plug for Hugh MacLeod
Are the Bloggerati Missing the Market? Asia has Risen,
Into the Gapinvoid - Web 2.0 Social Networking Born 20 Years Ago

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