The Industry Is Facing Serious Headwinds

February 11, 2013

For the marketing industry, 2012 was pretty much like any other year — lots of highs, lots of lows, lots of news, and lots of changes. When you bundle these up, we moved the proverbial ball forward. That’s good, in total, but it leaves a lot of questions unanswered, like:

  • Are we ever going to solve the measurement equation?
  • Are we ever going to figure out if mobile is really the next great marketing platform?
  • Are we ever going to advance the client/agency relationship, procurement issues, and compensation?
  • Are we ever going to come to agreement on privacy and tracking?
  • Do we really think we’re going to solve patent trolling issues, ICANN, and the wacky world of Washington, D.C.?

We’ll get more of the “great reveal” on these and other ongoing challenges in the 2013 chapter of this great novel, but I’m not sure how much more. We’re facing serious headwinds that we need to truly recognize, acknowledge, and challenge.

Headwind 1: The Economy

We’re going into the fifth consecutive year of subpar growth. Without economic growth, there will be no robust growth in marketing spending budgets. What is quite frightening is that there are few forecasts that suggest healthy growth levels for several years, largely due to U.S. budget deficit management, European stagnation, and concerns over economic leadership in China and India.

Headwind 2: The Government

The regulatory and legislative arenas are chock-full of land mines — and they threaten to blow up whatever semblance of opportunity we have in our industry. For example, despite extraordinary industry responses that provide self-regulatory vehicles to address children’s advertising and privacy/data collection issues, the government continues to battle us. Why? They don’t know what they really want and ignore the accomplishments we bring to the table.

Headwind 3: The Industry

We are not aligned. Does anyone think that marketers, agencies, and media/publishers are on the same page? Of course not. Consider the fact that we have more than 30 trade associations in our industry — and we fail to act collaboratively across the entire spectrum of issues. While progress has been made, we have only scratched the surface. Our lack of alignment truncates our ability to develop a common agenda, organize to pursue that agenda, and then resource it adequately.

So what’s next? Well, if you liked 2012, you’ll be pleased because we’re getting a heavy dose of the same for 2013.


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