Interesting and Challenging Times Ahead for Marketers

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At the coming of the end of each calendar year there comes a practice that appears to be an unavoidable part of our culture. It is understandable that at the end of something there certainly must be a beginning of something else, a sort of evolutionary ideology that mandates a certain continuity of things both past and present. Predicting outcomes of the future, whether by flight of fancy or scientific “guessimation”, has always had a certain risk of accuracy when measured in the hind-sight but it appears that the level of success has had little impact on stemming the seemingly unavoidable practice of prognostication as each old year ending approaches. So what’s coming ahead in the business of marketing in the New Year? How will it propose to be better or worse than from where we have just come?

The digital era will continue to dominate marketing efforts across the spectrum of business sectors. Consumers are dictating to marketers how they want to consume information. Users are no longer using 1 or 2 devices so mobile expansions for marketers is critical. This trend is likely to strengthen in the coming year as the technology continues to improve in scope and ease of use. In 2017, if you haven’t already, embrace mobile!

Content and marketers focused on providing quality content to audiences will continue to dominate the mainstream marketing environment. We have come a long way from the early efforts to first imagine the potential impact of social media marketing and then to follow through on its promises by mastering effective and more conversational and interactive content messaging. The conversation will continue to project the brands promise to seemingly individualized consumers while finding that efficiency sweet spot. The keyword in content will become “personalization”, which doesn’t fit in 40 characters or less.

The Influencer factor will continue to motivate consumers’ as confidence and trust rise in those who will be viewed as thought leaders. Selecting the appropriate influencer will be critical in establishing brand credibility.

Purpose Driven Marketing continues to extend marketing efforts beyond the sale and promotes a feel-good impression with customers. Look to see more brands form charity partnerships with non-profits in 2017.

Social media channels will continue to grow in quality and selection as yet unproven technology like livestreaming, virtual and augmented reality arrive to satisfy the appetite of 2.5 billion active social media users worldwide. Marketers will be challenged to identify and utilize those channels that work best for achieving their goals. Messaging apps will begin to find their utilization. Chad Martin, North American Director, Social and Emerging Media at VML, states that, “The idea of being able to engage with a customer in a one on one way is huge. The hurdle will be figuring out how to develop relevant content to so many.”

Given the surprises in the geopolitical world in 2016, we cannot underestimate the likelihood of something unforeseen and unpredictable in 2017, whether it’s new technology or yet undetected swings in consumer tastes. The unexpected can certainly arise. Whatever the reality of marketing trend predictions, it promises to be a very interesting and challenging time ahead.

What’s Your American Dream?

American Dream

The phrase “The American Dream” is rooted in the United States Constitution and Declaration of Independence and propagates that “each person’s desire to pursue happiness was not just self-indulgence, but a part of what drives ambition and creativity.” Defined by James Truslow Adams in 1931, the idea is a fundamental component of our democracy, our inalienable rights, freedom and collective liberty. Adams stated, “The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” He went on to say, “… not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”

Such high, revolutionary acclamations  prevailed from the very beginning of our Country and found universal appeal among people from all around the world, motivating tens of millions to brave uncertainty and death in order to immigrate to this new promising world. With each new generation the promise was expanded to include many who had previously been excluded, either by race, creed or religion and the definition redefined to include an ever expanding number of social and individualized personal issues. Throughout our history, the Dream implied an opportunity for Americans to achieve prosperity and realize their dreams through hard work, personal sacrifice and service to the defense of the Nation and to others of us less capable. Today, the Dream is often expressed as an entitlement, paid for by the energies of some, confiscated in part by government, and decreed to others.

For decades, American elections and our politicians have divided the populace by race, national origin and economic position in an effort to acquire and maintain power. Such infractions created divisions in our Nation’s community, separated by wide breaches of commonality on issues both social and economic. The current political campaign brought unprecedented hostilities to the forefront from both camps. The harsh rhetoric and broad disparity of positions has left scars on our people and has served to tarnish the image and the very promise of the American Dream. For many, the dream seems destined to be an ethos past, for others thought to be out of reach.

It is time for this period of great turmoil and division to end. We are one in democracy, served by multiple opinions but united in a single purpose of providing to all of us the benefits of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For those of us who live and have lived their dreams, we must temper our appreciation with the realization that for many others the opportunity remains just a vision or a hope. Let us rededicate ourselves to building our companies on creating tangible products and services that celebrate the skills, talents and work ethic of our people and less on elevating our fortunes by crunching the numbers based on rationing and exclusion of our Country’s most capable and valuable resource.

“As a child, I can remember much discussion about the American Dream as we learned about the history of our great Nation. I grew up in Gettysburg, PA, where soldiers fought a pivotal battle in the Civil War to secure the freedom of slaves.  I was raised to believe that I had the power to create that which I could dream of and work hard to attain,” comments Julie Gareleck, CEO & Managing Partner, Junction Creative.  “I still believe in the same notion. The path has never been easy or without challenge.  I recommit myself each day to forging ahead with the next goal in mind.  I encourage you to put down the smart phones and smart devices. Turn down the rhetoric and take a break from social media. Let’s be quiet more often, listen more often, be passionate, yet be compassionate. Let’s focus on contributing to the idea that the “The American Dream” remains a defining element of our great society for all, now and in all of our futures.”

We’d love to hear about your American Dream!