This time of year, we marketers love to make bold predictions about the year ahead. We are perennially excited about the shiny new thing.
That excitement can keep us informed but it can also distract us from what may actually be most important for our marketing strategy, our brand, and our business. It can also keep us tethered to the marketing herd, chasing the same tactics as everyone else.
I always learn from the contrarian perspective of Mark Ritson, and his sober advice on how to approach 2019 is particularly apt:
“Rather than glorying in the pornography of change, good marketers should be learning from 2018 to improve their strategy and execution in 2019…
“When you lose your shit talking nonsense about all the massive, gigantic, tectonic changes, you miss the possibility of making good solid strategic decisions for the year ahead. Things are not going to change that much next year so how can I, a good marketer, benefit from that knowledge and the things I have learned this year?”
Mark goes on to propose a futurology drinking game for all the different types of marketing predictions we hear this time of year: “the ‘now it’s really going to happen’ prediction”, “the ‘new will kill the old’ trope, “the ‘re-name an important concept and declare it essential for 2019’ prediction, and “the ‘I predict the business I am in will be huge’ move.”
It’s a good reminder not to lose sight of marketing fundamentals as we prepare for the year ahead.
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years.
“Shiny Object Syndrome” January 2015
“40 Years of Marketing” May 2018
(I drew this one to help Marketing Week celebrate their 40th anniversary. The more things change, the more they stay the same.)