Trends to Watch in 2008

Plus Micro Trends That Will Affect America in 2008

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See also: 10 (More) Trends for 2008
2008 will be about the economy and politics. Growth is slowing, fuel prices are high and credit is tight. That's a difficult mix for marketers to face as consumers will continue to pull in the reins as disposable income tightens dramatically. With caution flags waving, marketers will keep expectations and spending plans modest. Combined with lots of political "tax-raising" rhetoric , there will be plenty of room for nervousness. But political ad spending will more than make up for sluggish brand-marketing investments.
Marketers' ingenuity will continue to expand as the competitive marketplace challenges brands to devise ways to reach their audiences online and via other "out-of-the-box" avenues. Targeting consumers using unconventional methods in creative places will be the gold standard for outstanding creative. Marketers won't run away from traditional media -- but will leverage technology and new media to accentuate message delivery to consumers and customers. There is no turning back -- and creativity will rule.
In ANA's 2007 marketing accountability study, it was startling to find that, despite enormous efforts, 42% of marketers were dissatisfied with ROI measurements and metrics. In about half of the companies, marketing and finance don't speak with one voice or share common metrics. Enough! Recognizing the critical importance of accountability, companies will appoint a czar -- the chief accountability officer -- to lead a disciplined, internally consistent approach to marketing measurements, metrics and productivity.
As Steve Ballmer proclaimed at the 2007 ANA Annual Conference, all media ultimately will be created and delivered digitally. Can anyone legitimately argue with that? Naahhh. And the beat goes on in 2008. Digital offers richness in information management, communication delivery, metrics -- and portability. Simply look at the iPhone and similar devices to know consumers will have all forms of media at their fingertips 24/7. The challenge: Are marketers skilled enough to take advantage of this rapidly changing landscape?
Marketers will move decidedly in the direction of DDB CEO Chuck Brymer's "swarm theory" -- the notion that people and their opinions coalesce to form critical forces that massively influence marketplace ideas and concepts. "Swarm theory" will elevate social networking to new levels, confirming the immense impact that consumers have on each another. Marketers that embrace this trend can form consumer brand "advocates" and drive brand loyalty and trust to new heights -- if done responsibly.
Compensation models will evolve in 2008. Agencies and clients will work together to create mutually fair value- and incentive-based approaches. The ANA 2007 Trends in Agency Compensation study showed that only 25% of respondents were very satisfied with their compensation models. Marketers will pay well for great ideas and superb media management. The key is to get expectations right between agency and client. Perhaps Procter & Gamble's just-announced compensation model is a blueprint of things to come.
Going beyond traditional focus groups and consumer surveys, market research will embrace scientific approaches that literally tap consumers' brains to learn how they neurologically respond to commercial messages and make brand choices. The Four A's and ARF have begun researching this topic in earnest with an intensive study, "On the Road to a New Effectiveness Model." In 2008 we will start to see practical applications of these insights as advertisers and shops begin to truly understand engagement.
A new breed of marketing professional is emerging -- individuals with a holistic view of the world and extraordinary observational powers. These "renaissance marketers" will be part humanist, part psychologist, part anthropologist and part technologist. Cookie-cutter marketing will no longer survive as marketers must take a broader view of the consumer and customer. This includes the need to be socially responsible and to embrace key trends such as green.
Marketers succeed when brand messages are fully integrated and synchronized across all media channels. That requires strategic alignment -- leadership that ties everything together -- particularly when the forces of change can potentially pull them apart. Strategic alignment is one of the most important roles of the chief marketing officer, and In 2008 more CMOs will ensure organizations are strategically aligned. Lead agencies will be appointed to make sure all supporting agencies carry out the same brand message.
In 2008, marketers will become increasingly sensitive to privacy issues. With "digital-intrusion" and identity-theft issues as paramount consumer concerns, marketers must be extraordinarily careful to respect worries of access to private information. This tug of war between consumer privacy and information access will require marketers to work hard to explain and justify the lifestyle benefits of highly individualized, personalized commercial communications.

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Bob Liodice is president-CEO, ANA

Micro Trends That Will Affect America in 2008

By Mark Penn and Kinney Zalesne
Older Americans today are the biggest, richest and most active group of seniors in the history of the world. And three out of four baby boomers say they have no intention of seeking a traditional retirement. Employers, social-security reformers, Madison Avenue ... is anybody paying attention?
Sunbathing is still wildly popular, but there is also a growing group of dissidents who say: Stop being blinded by the sun's dangers. Going forward, look for new interest in sun-safe clothing and permanent sunscreen. And look for more litigation and regulation as the movement gets hotter.
In the late '70s, the average dad in a two-parent home spent about a third as much time with his kids as the average mom. By the late '90s, that number had jumped to 65% on weekdays, and 87% on weekends. Are marketers paying attention? Where are the ads for dads buying gifts for kids?
Of course, gender stereotypes also exist on the other side. Would you know from car ads that women make up the majority of car-buyers in the U.S.? Someday soon, smart carmakers, dealers and marketers are going catch on.
Single women are on the rise and now make up the second-largest group of homebuyers in America, just behind married couples. Watch for their interests -- in everything from home security to vacations -- to get some attention.
All those single women are spending lots of time at work -- evidently with attractive peers. As of 2006, almost 60% of U.S. employees said they'd had an office romance, up from just 47% in 2003. HR policies could be up for an overhaul.
With all that work, it's hard to get the sleep we need. The average American now sleeps fewer than seven hours a night, which is about a 25% drop from a century ago. For the moment, it's big business for the sleeping-pill people and the caffeine people. But we need to tackle its huge repercussions for our safety, productivity and civility.
Speaking of kids, more and more of them are growing up left-handed. It's a little about genetics, but mostly it's about liberalized parenting practices that now stress individuality instead of conformity. It used to be thought that southpaws were about 1 in 10; the truth is they may be closer to 1 in 6. Look for more lefty-aimed products and services.
Thought all Latinos in America were Catholic? About 25% of them -- some 10 million people -- are Protestant, and more specifically Pentecostal or born again. They played a big role in re-electing George W. Bush in 2004. Watch them closely in 2008.
Almost 3 million adults say they turned online dates into a long-term relationship or marriage. From to Positive Singles (a site for singles with STDs), singles now have unprecedented tools for finding the one they want.

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Mark Penn and Kinney Zalesne are the authors of the bestselling book "Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes" (Twelve, 2007).
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