'Tis The Season For Looking Back -- And Ahead

It's that time of the year already. Turkey Day has come and gone. Your neighbors have put their Christmas decorations up. Stores play endless Christmas songs. So brace yourself for an avalanche of 2016 predictions and “best of 2015” articles.

To get a head start, here's what I think these articles will talk about, so you don’t have to waste your time reading them all.

1. 2015 finally was the year of mobile. No, it wasn’t. Every year has been the year of mobile since it reached critical mass. If you still think you need a dedicated stand-alone mobile strategy, you just haven’t fully grasped that mobile is just another channel. It is pervasive and everywhere — and if you haven’t taken its role in your consumers’ lives into account yet, and worked on how you can best integrate this channel into your total communications mix — I wish you the best of luck.

2. 2015 was the year of content marketing. No, it wasn’t. Content marketing is, in fact, the oldest form of marketing. P&G more or less popularized it, together with the cigarette companies, when they developed and distributed radio shows way back when. Today, Red Bull is the content marketing champion. Content marketing can be important, but it is not right for every brand and every campaign.



3. 2015 is the year TV officially died. No, it didn’t. It's true that network and cable ratings continued to slide, together with the number of ads sold and revenue generated. The TV networks fought back with their time-honored tradition of raising prices.

But TV still commands a decent audience, and can work very well when used tactically and for the right reasons. Frequency seems to be back in fashion with many advertisers. I guess the thinking is that as we watch less, you need to hit more often. How about hitting better — with more quality and accuracy?

4. 2016 will be the year of programmatic. No, it won’t be. Programmatic is already here. The bigger question is whether or not we use it, or get forced to use it by third parties, as a weapon of mass destruction (ad blocking, clutter, invisible content, hyper-frequency, poor content context, fraud, etc.) — or as a means to improve delivery of messages (data analytics done right, paying for what consumers actually see whole and not for a mere second or two, real-time optimization, etc.).

5. 2016 will be the year of opportunity. True. Many in the industry feel overwhelmed, outmaneuvered, cheated, confused or even marginalized. But the reality is that the industry continues to go through a period of profound change. When we cleanse it and address its teething problems, there will be fabulous marketing opportunities.

The promise of data analytics leading to richer consumer insights and better targeting opportunities is there — and only a few smart geeks away from becoming a reality. The delivery of messages in an omni-digital, always-on environment is creating a smorgasbord of new and innovative ways to connect with consumers — and to let them find you and interact with you if they so wish.

There you have it. Thanks to this excellent article, you don’t have to waste time reading all those 2015/2016 listicles and let the scare-mongers and nay-sayers get the better of you. I am excited for what is to come. Full steam ahead!

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