Less than five years ago, the Interactive Advertising Bureau had just tracked digital ad spending at $50 billion (with a B) dollars. They recognized and celebrated that milestone by subtitling that year's Annual Leadership Meeting "The Next $50 Billion." So, guess what? The same organization has just announced the cracking of the $100 billion mark. To a guy (me) who was on the Internet Advertising Bureau (yes, that's what we called it then) board when the first million (with an M) dollar year was announced, this all still seems quite remarkable.
So why the long faces? Consolidation got you down? Latest tracking prohibitions making life tough for your tech solution? Old ways of competing for RFPs not working anymore? Yes, change and dislocation are what happens in a dynamic market that's growing geometrically. Our inability to handle that change may be - in part - because we're losing touch with our core beliefs. Into that void, let me toss out a few of my own.
I believe that we must tirelessly align what we do and build with the creation of true value for marketers. The creation, distribution and enhancement of advertising is a means, not an end... a service to business, not a business in itself.
I believe that truth and delivery are not relative terms. When I buy a dozen eggs, it's not OK if two of the slots are empty or half of them are occupied by ping pong balls. Everyone should get what they pay for, every time.
I believe that consolidation of power is inevitable in any open marketplace. I also believe that markets and societies will ultimately reject and create remedies to prevent hegemony. I believe that's happening now.
I believe that the growth curve of digital media consumption and the corresponding shift in marketing behavior are hard trends that will not only continue but accelerate. For those creating real value and operating fundamentally strong businesses, the playing field is still wide open.
I believe that we are approaching the end of iterative thinking, and that very soon we will stop comparing and contrasting what we do with earlier forms of advertising and marketing. For that reason, I believe we need new models of value creation and commerce on which to draw, and new people who don't share our common background.
I believe that in five years the current boundaries between publisher, agency and platform will dissolve, and that anyone threatened by that dissolution will either have left the business or will be looking to.
I believe that there has never been a better time to be in sales. In the asymmetrical world of today, selling becomes a creative profession, and the seller has more impact on outcomes than ever before.
I believe the future cannot be navigated by historical precedent or experience, only by imagination, ambition and the right questions.
I believe that values are the ultimate platform on which satisfying careers, good businesses and great lives are built. I also believe that there is no team too small or too temporary to benefit from a strong culture.
What do you believe?