Don't Study Earthquakes, Trace the Faultlines

The following is excerpted from a Drift column published in October of 2008, when we were staring right into the jaws of the current recession. As things start to brighten a bit, the core theme seems just as timely now. Should we not be just as circumspect about boom cycles as we do about times of crisis?

As my good friend Charlie Thomas often reminds me, hard trends matter more than cycles. The current credit crisis and the resultant pullback on ad budgets is a cycle. But all the hard trends point to continued growth for our digital advertising and marketing world. To illustrate the point, a brief quiz:

  • In 3-5 years will there be more or less money spent in digital marketing and advertising?
  • In that time frame will the share of spending in digital grow relative to analog media?
  • Will the relative complexity and depth of digital advertising and marketing continue to demand professional knowledge and insight?
  • Will digital issues occupy more or less of the time and attention of marketers, agency leaders and media company executives in 3-5 years?

Most informed observers would answer "more" "yes," "yes" and "more" to these questions; so would I, and probably so would you. These are hard trends. If we keep this future in mind, our long term decisions will be about how we create value in that world. Our short term decisions are about staying afloat and building the capabilities and relationships that will help us realize future success.

Read the rest of "Hard Trends Beat Hard Times."