At this stage of an economic cycle and at this time of the year, "be thankful for the important things" would be an all too common read. What usually follows is the garden variety friends, family, health, etc. So I'd like to be a little more direct and use this Thanksgiving as an excuse to point out what I'm truly grateful for in our business.
1. The New Marketing Vanguard. While they don't dominate the conference circuit or the cover of Ad Age, a cadre of smart, aggressive digitally oriented brand and product managers are beginning to take full control of American marketing. Just north of age 30 (you know who you are) this generation of marketers have never lived in a world that didn't include the web, file sharing, online buying, e-mail and more. Because of them, today's recession won't end in a simple retrenchment to what's 'always been done.' They'll see the opportunity to truly reexamine and realign the marketing mix.
2. The End of Analog TV. I know that from a practical standpoint, February 19th won't immediately change most of our lives. But there's huge symbolic importance in knowing the last pair of rabbit ears in America will stop working that day. This could be the "Berlin Wall Moment" that finally causes us to see the future in a radically different way. I think this is the moment where our vision of electronic media tips and where we start thinking about audience accountability, message delivery and measurement in more concrete terms. I think this is the point when television starts to mirror the web.
3. The Election. To those of you well aware of my liberal/progressive inclination, it's not what you think. But on behalf of us all, I'm thankful that we've got a president-elect who's fretting about losing his Blackberry and whose presidential campaign may well be the best single interactive marketing campaign ever imagined. And as a bonus, I'm pretty excited that Alaska Senator Ted "the Internet is a series of tubes" Stevens was defeated and will no longer have a senior role on the Senate telecommunications committee. That's just gotta be a good thing.
4. Networks. Yep, you heard me: Networks. Everyone bitches about the emergence of ad networks, but they've come to life - and come of age - based on a real need in the marketplace: Scale. The truth is that advertisers don't want to take a thousand different meetings to buy the equivalent of 100 GRPs online. In fixing that problem, ad networks gave a lot of publishers agita by competing (successfully) for ad dollars. But they also forced those same publishers to work harder and create value that can't be replicated by an aggregator. They made us better in the process. Thanks Networks.
5. All of You. OK, so maybe this is the place where I start getting all 'Hallmark' on you guys. But the simple truth is that over the past 15 years I've gotten to know thousands of people in this digital advertising world and I'm here to say that collectively you're a pretty amazing group. Digital ad people are creative, social, brave, curious and smart. And I get to work with you guys every day. So about this recession thing....I like your chances - our chances - a lot. Don't freak out, because the hard trends are all in your favor. The world of media and communication and commerce is all reorganizing digitally, and we're right in the middle of that. It's pretty cool to be us right now.
So what are you thankful for?
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Reader comments on "Hard Trends Beat Hard Times"
"This stuff is priceless! So often I read your materials and every time I love it. Just had to send a note to share a similar quote an experienced dealer shared with me... In good times we develop bad habits, in bad times those same bad habits make life even harder (as he put it, they kill us). Good habits/practices make good business sense." "Beautifully said. The industry needs this kind of perspective right now."
"Once again - really good."