10 predictions for advertising in 2010

Thge future of advertising: it's all about the consumer

The consumer used to be the one in the picture. Now he's the one creating the picture.

I know, I know, it’s totally pretentious to even make predictions. And yes, most are either obvious or wrong. But what the hell, everyone else is making them. Even really smart people.

In fact none other than Forrester is in search of the answers. I recently had a conversation with analyst Sean Corcoran to talk about this very subject. Sean has the enviable (or regrettable, depending on your point of view) task of collecting, evaluating and synthesizing answers (and predictions) from a long list of ad agencies, marketers and journalists in an attempt to define where this tumultuous business is headed. (Good luck, Sean.)

He asked six simple questions.

What has changed in the agency landscape in the past six months, two years, five years?

What are the biggest challenges an agency/company faces today?

Is there new competition from tech companies, PR agencies, and consultants?

Has the agency/marketer relationship changed?

What trends are emerging in agency models?

What will (your agency name here) agency look like in two years?

They are good questions and no doubt agencies and marketers will fill hours of tape with their prognostications.

You could answer these questions from any number of perspectives:  the economy, emerging technologies such as mobile, the impact of new social media platforms.

Of course the real answer to all of these questions starts with “the consumer,” a term that in and of itself sounds dated. After all, the elusive customer has become everything from a critic to a content creator. He has the ability to control the conversation. And with new tools and applications that offer mobile access to information and competitive pricing, he wields even more power.

Red Laser give you price comparisons on demand

Red Laser gives shoppers price comparisons on demand

It was as early as 2003, maybe earlier, when the more prescient media thinkers took note of the fact that consumers were leaning in rather than sitting back. But it’s only been in the last couple of years that agencies and marketers have really caught on and started to react to the change. Perhaps a little too late in some cases. The challenge remains unlearning the business of messages and story telling and mastering the art of conversation and community.

No one really knows where everything is going but it appears everyone is willing to wager a guess.  Google “the future of advertising” and you get 153,000,000 results. Knock yourself out.

In the meantime, here are my predictions and indirectly some answers to Sean’s questions.

1.  Consumers will play an even greater role as critics, commentators and content creators

2.  Crowdsourcing will go mainstream

3. Applications, utility and platforms will trump messages as an agency’s most important creative output

4.  Analytics will inform more and more decisions

5. Quality will be defined by instant, accessible, portable (less about polish, finish, and big production)

6. Everything will be social: print, mobile, TV, service

7. Brands will act more like people

8. Curator/choreographer will emerge as the new important role

9. Creativity will matter more than ever (the opt in power of consumers will demand that when they do lean back even sales messages better be entertaining)

10.  Whoever hires the best developers will win (the most important lesson from Googled and why the NY Times, Mel Karmazin, and traditional ad agencies have lost out to CNN, Google/YouTube and digital shops).

What about you?  Got any ideas on where things are going? In the next couple of months I have to give a few talks about the subject. Would love a little help.

31 comments
iris
iris

what's your opinion about Is there new competition from tech companies, PR agencies, and consultants? and what's your prediction about

Alex Allen
Alex Allen

mobile advertising would be the trend in the next few years because of the growth of mobile users.,~*

Jacob Patel
Jacob Patel

Mobile advertising would continue to grow as more and more mobile phone users get hooked on texting and mobile browsing.";;

Mimi V
Mimi V

Mr. Boches,

I am really interested in writing for TNGG and sent in an email using the contact form. However, I haven't heard back. I even contacted Stuart Foster to no avail. There is a great company in Malaysia, started by a Gen Yer and is a haven for Entrepreneurs and creative techies from all over the world. I wanted to do a piece on them because I think they are the epitome of an ideal place for Gen Yers to work.

What do you think?

Regards,
Mimi
.-= Mimi V´s last blog ..Social Media Monster =-.

Mimi V
Mimi V

First comment on the blog...gulp! The amount of talent and experience in this discussion is a little nerve wrecking for a newbie. Here goes...

No one appreciates the power of social media and digital branding more than I do but I do think there is a huge problem which will surface once avid bloggers, tweeters and Facebookers step back; there is too much information and too many people who don't know how to find or use it.

1. There are healthy debates about the right and wrong ways to do social media but the fact remains that all companies from mom-n-pops, B2Bs, and corporations are rushing to catch that social media bandwagon creating a lot of content...most of it BAD. This causes an overflow of information that drowns out relevant, quality content.

2. Finding the right information is a nightmare. Its even more frustrating when you are fairly certain it is out there but a Google Search or Delicious tag is not enough to find it. What is the use of companies creating ground breaking content and messages that will never get heard?

3. If the shift away from traditional marketing to online continues...won't it be absolute chaos? Finding a product or a business was a little easier in the old days because you were limited to local ads, local messages etc. If more and more companies go online, it gets harder to find the right fit for your needs. Ideally consumers should be able to find information and content online like in this frozen pizza ad:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8yWjJXbaPA

The real value of internet marketing is the ability to give valuable information to customers who are genuinely looking for it. It seems to me that marketers are yelling on one side hoping to be heard, whereas consumers are seeking, hoping to hear what they want among the noise. There is a great need to develop tools that help consumers find the company or product they want. 2009 was filled with software to help companies gain marketing insight from social media/ online users. Shouldn’t agencies invest in tools that work the other way around? Tools more specifically made to improve the marketing process instead of forcing the consumer to rely on search engines or social bookmarking?

What I mean to say through all this is that 2010 will be the year this incredibly relevant problem will come to surface. Thoughts?

Gina Jennings
Gina Jennings

I agree. This falls in line with Seth Godin's concept of permission marketing, allowing the consumers to have more of a say in what they want, rather than being barraged or forced into a sale.

Being tapped into technology allows them to have more leverage. And yes, it will require more creativity to grab their attention.
.-= Gina Jennings´s last blog ..An Internet Marketing Training Program That Beginners Can Understand updated Thu Jan 7 2010 ... =-.

Tom Cunniff
Tom Cunniff

Good stuff. I'd suggest an 11th and 12th prediction. I am too superstitious to suggest a 13th :-)

11. Marketing Needs A New May 13, 1931. Modern brand management started with an internal Proctor and Gamble memo from Neil McElroy. But seismic changes at retail and media will force a new approach to how brand management is structured, what client-side skills will be needed and how work gets done.

12. Agencies Need Two New Revolutions: A Creative Revolution And A Cost Revolution. Looking back, the agency structure I grew up with was pretty straightforward. Its products were lovingly hand-crafted and built to last. And the cost structure was set up accordingly. But seismic changes in media are forcing a new approach to how agencies will be structured, what creative skills will be needed and how work gets done.
.-= Tom Cunniff´s last blog ..The Digital Future of Magazines? =-.

Aaron (Agency Future)
Aaron (Agency Future)

The most insightful predictions I've read yet. I'm on a similar quest to Sean and nailing this down is about as easy as drinking the sea through a straw.

The agency directors and CDs I've talked to here in Denmark (albeit from smaller agencies) are definitely seeing a more collaborative future - but less in terms of crowdsourcing solutions than in forging ever-closer relationships with clients and working at more points along the value chain.

More and more agencies are dipping their toes into own brands here too. One top digital shop opened their own fish restaurant last year and have made it one of Copenhagen's hippest destinations.
.-= Aaron (Agency Future)´s last blog ..Forrester tackling the agency future question =-.

Michelle
Michelle

I like your Top 10 Predictions for 2010. We added it to our blog with a link to your site. We know this will be a great year for our platform as it is very different from other mobile advertising. The tough part is getting ad execs to see the difference as they immediately hear mobile advertising vehicle and think those large billboard trucks-which we are not! See our 3D showcase option which is a phenomenal way to create entertainment advertising! Any thoughts on how to differentiate ourselves from them?

David Saxe
David Saxe

11. Emphasis on usability. We've only scratched the surface in two phenomenal mediums: AR and mobile apps. 2009 brought us new platforms but by and large, we've abused and saturated them with tens of thousands of completely "unusable" applications built on the premise of coolness. I predict a decline in the shock and awe and a return to what we realized we needed for web years ago. I don't care if my iPhone can fly - if you can figure out a way to make a flying iPhone usable, then we're onto something.
.-= David Saxe´s last blog ..Enter 2010 – Sustaining Creativity =-.

Adam Wohl
Adam Wohl

Edward / Ben:
Couldn't agree more.
The agencies who surround themselves with giants, (in this case digital and social ninjas that are at the top of their game) will win. And though devs and producers are essential in order for the final product to see the light of day, the idea -- however it works within the particular digital or social channel in question -- that is still king.

Jonathan Trenn
Jonathan Trenn

You wrote:

7. Brands will act more like people

What does this mean?
.-= Jonathan Trenn´s last blog ..Three lost months =-.

@crowdmanage
@crowdmanage

1 and 3 will drive 2.

I think that there will be a skeptical backlash against crowdsourcing by people who do not recognize that it is more than a logo competition.

I suspect we will see some issues with the recent Facebook privacy changes.

Real time search will be taken off the search engines - right now it is a spammer's heaven.
.-= @crowdmanage´s last blog ..What do we think? =-.

Ben Malbon (BBH Labs)
Ben Malbon (BBH Labs)

These are great; I find them extremely exciting, reading them on January 1st. We have a disruptive year ahead, there's no doubt about it. I think a lot of people have been looking forward to 2010 when the chaos might calm down and things would settle back into a groove, a pattern. But it's not going to calm down.

For me all of these predictions you have made somewhat revolve around people and talent. It is (as it's always been) all about talent.

So I think your last point is the most important. Whoever hires, retains and organizes the best people will win. Developers. Creatives. Planners. Relationship makers. Producers. Technologists.

To even begin to understand what you've written here Edward, requires a certain level of talent, an openness of approach, a restless appetite for new and better, a level of confidence (I should stress, I can barely grasp what you've outlined; my head hurts as I write . . . or is that just a NYE hangover?).

To bring these (& other) elements of change *together* requires talent, vision, an expansive view of what might be, and how it might become that. Because these aren't really separate points in practice. You've done us a service by pulling them apart, so we can understand them, but they're all connected.

To persuade other people in an organization to radically change how they work, and in some cases, even what they believe, requires talent.

I think if we learn anything from the oft-quoted usual suspects - Nike, Apple, Google - it's that without question they have the pick of the talent. They hire the very best and then let them loose. They manage their talent, but to a great degree it's self-managing.

The role of management in these cases is to find, retain, organize, and incentivize talent. Nothing else matters.

If I was a CEO of a creative business I'd start week one of 2010 by getting my talent strategy right: Who are my stars of the future? How can I get them doing more of what they love best? Where will I find my next 20 stars of the future? Which skillsets are going to be the most important? How can I radically shake up current models around finding talent, how can I try some different things to get new thinking not just into my organization, but driving change within it? Which other centers of excellence can I partner with (even if they are 'competitors')? How can I loosen our internal structures to empower our talent to show what they can do with less interference? How can I make myself more useful to the organization?

Best talent wins.
Always.
2010 will be no different.
.-= Ben Malbon (BBH Labs)´s last blog ..A Quick Glance Back - 10 of Our Favourite Posts From 2009 =-.

Jeff Shatuck
Jeff Shatuck

Great list. Can you expand on?

8. Curator/choreographer will emerge as the new important role

How is this different from today's creative director?

Jeff
.-= Jeff Shatuck´s last blog ..My new status: stroke victim. =-.

Tyler Sanborn
Tyler Sanborn

Regarding Prediction number two:

As creatives, we always thought our jobs would be safe from being outsourced like those in financial and customer service sectors. Now, we are seeing our jobs outsourced to our peers. How will creative roles adapt to this apparent shift?

Mark Harmel
Mark Harmel

I think about the next big product for 2010 - the iSlate, or whatever the new Apple tablet will be called. My guess is that they will use every method. The prediction buzz has started already, followed by the big announcement. There will then be ads on TV, web and print and lots of media attention.

Is Apple different because they concentrate on making great products that naturally engage customers? Their conversation is still controlled, yet I still engage in their ads. We have Lee Clow and a great client to thank for this.
.-= Mark Harmel´s last blog ..be social by adding commentluv to your blog =-.

Domenick Cilea
Domenick Cilea

Nice job anticipating what we can expect in the year ahead.

Expanding on numbers 1 and 7, I believe ordinary people (consumers) will become increasingly part of a brand and help define and communicate it.

Brands are no longer just entities or creative icons; they are experiences.

Mimi V
Mimi V

Thanks so much for the reply Mr. Boches! Nice to know your thoughts on it.

I definitely agree that Google etc. are great tools which can be utilized with some work. I think my bigger concern is looking forward. As content increases, and more businesses come online, will the average consumer take the time and effort to find that needle in the haystack perfect pizza for them?

I think I am a little pessimistic today about so many companies just maiming the real value of online marketing by saturating the web with awful content. Huge pet peeve!

In fact, after commenting here I wrote a rant on my blog about the same thing. Do check it out if you can. Thank you!

edward boches
edward boches

Mimi:
First, thanks for showing up and commenting. Second, don't worry, no one knows what they're talking about :-). We all learn from each other no matter how much experience we have.

You make some good points, but I think you're looking at some of the problems rather than the solutions and opportunities.

Smart marketers and brands have a host of ways to identify, reach, engage with, and inspire prospects/customers/loyal customers. There is advertising for awareness, good content that helps one get found via search, listening tools to know what people care about, and ways to both build communities and let them participate in everything from product ideas to content. If you're a retailer, it includes your in-store behavior. If you're an online service, it includes your UX and IA. None of this is easy, and it takes a curator/choreographer at the brand level, but it's possible. Look at brands as diverse as Starbucks (retail experience and social media) Zappos (brilliant service online and over phone, plus via Twitter), Harley Davidson (harnessing the power of its loyal community) and Wine Library (Gary V's YouTube channel, blog, fan page, and most importantly the content he creates that helps introduce people to wine.) They are all being successful in how they use media, open source software, social, and community.

Yes, if you are an individual, you need filtering systems to counter the impotence of abundance, but creating your own community/tribe of people you trust, via Twitter, Google Wave, etc. can help. And, of course, you can always shut if off and read the magazines you love and trust. (New Yorker and Wired for me.)

Finally, consider that everyone wants something different. There is no one pizza for everyone. So there has to be ways to opt in and find what you want. I'm a big believer in six degrees. Find someone you can trust. Read her content. Connect with others that are connected to her. Expand your personal community. You have people to ask. And if not, don't give up on Google. Master all it has to offer.

Anyway, keep thinking about it, and expressing your thoughts as you did here. It will help.

Thanks again.

edward boches
edward boches

Adam:
So true. But what constitutes "the idea" has and will continue to change. Who comes up with Nike +, or a Whopper Sacrifice, or a Chalkbot, or an Art of the Trench? Writer, art director, connection planner, developer? Doesn't the use of media offer as much room or original creative thinking as the execution? I think the days of assuming that developers, technologists, producers, or media planners are simply people who execute a concept or distribute the message are over. They could easily be the ones who conceive and inspire it. And more importantly, who inform a new mindset.

edward boches
edward boches

Jonathon,
Idea starts with premise that people would rather do business with a person than a brand or a logo. So following examples of Tony Hsieh, Frank from Comcast, Best Buy's Twelpforce, and the ability of SM to both empower and mobilize employees to speak on behalf of a brand, thought is that forward thinking brands will use their employees as well as make more senior execs available and accessible as people. It will foster better listening, engagement, and deeper connection with customers. In addition, the (good) qualities of people -- considerate, empathetic, open -- should be qualities that more brands embrace, joining their communities in a new way of connecting.

edward boches
edward boches

Ben:
Great recap. Jay Chiat said it a long time ago. Whoever has the most talent gets the most business. So you are right. Three questions remain: what kind of talent (less the traditional and more digital/technical); how do you acces the talent of others if you can't employ them all yourself (crowdsourding, alliances, partnerships); and as everything becomes more interdependent (digital, creative, analytic) how do we get them all to work seamlessly together with a mutual respect that enables the potential of great collaboration (Pixar has this figured out.) I'm planning on circulating your note to some of my partners. Good stuff (clear and cogent) especially for 8:00 am on New Year's Day.

edward boches
edward boches

Jeff:
Good points, though you could also suggest this is the new lead client job, augmenting or modifying the role of CMO. We shall see where it goes. And thanks for the vote of confidence, though I'm not sure that I have anything figured out other than there's a lot to figure out. Still, good ideas and great talent will, as Ben suggests, prevail. Happy New Year.

Jeff Shatuck
Jeff Shatuck

Edward, thanks, this helps. I guess what I would suggest, though, is that both the curator and the choreographer report to the ECD, rather than to the GM. Call me a traditionalist, but the ECD is the one who directs creative output, and if that output now includes code, platform knowledge, keen insights on on social trends and the like, then the creative director has to expand his skills to the point where he can swim in these new waters, as you clearly have. Honestly, your take on all this is impressive and if I am ever in a position to hire an agency, I'm calling yours first.

Jeff
.-= Jeff Shatuck´s last blog ..I can't let 2009 end on a bummer of a post, so here'e one more. =-.

edward boches
edward boches

Jeff:
Thinking this. Once all you needed to do was run an ad and measure results. Now you have to combine and integrate: advertising, search, social media, pr, blogger relations, CRM. In social alone, you have Twitter, FB, YouTube, your own content. You have prospects, customers, advocates. You need to reach, engage, inspire, mobilize. The old questions was: "I know half of my advertising is working, I just don't know which half." The new observation is: "I know that my advertising is working I just don't know if it is all working together." Do I have the right balance? Is my budget allocated properly? Are resources applied efficiently? Where are the tradeoffs? You can't do everything yet you want to maximize the effectiveness of what you do. Call it convergence planning, whatever. I believe it will take a new skill, from someone who knows and gets how to connect everything to everything else. What good is it if it's all siloed. So, my prediction is that we will need curators (to gather the best of breed resources and capabilities) and choreographers (who know how to get them to all work together). A slightly different role from today's creative director. Make sense?

James
James

The boxes creative work used to fit into, defined largely by media type, will continue to break apart, the boundaries blurring and new types of creative work emerging.

Creatives will have to be entrepreneurial and flexible. They'll have to be part a larger picture, with far less buffering between them, their work and clients.

This will excite some folks and scare others. Those that tackle the opportunities will learn first how to make crowdsourcing work for them.

Those that stand on the sidelines and wait for others to show them how it's done will be left behind.
.-= James´s last blog ..Classic Lego TV Ad: Kipper =-.

Anthony Butler
Anthony Butler

Edward,

There has been a lot of discussion on why Apple continues to prosper as a brand and a social media phenomenon despite the fact no-one from the company blogs, twitters etc. As you implied in your response, why does the company need to spend resources advocating for its products etc. when there are millions of rabid (and technology enabled) customers willing to do the work for you?

Check out this piece from Ken Segall, the former Chief Creative Officer of Enfatico and the guy responsible for Apple's "Think Different" campaign.

Simply throw the rock into the pond and watch as it causes a thousand ripples.
http://tiny.cc/fY7CW

arb:

edward boches
edward boches

Mark:
True, but name one other brand. It's always Apple, Nike, Apple, Nike. For one reason. Those brands know who they are and it emanates from the top. It's not left up to product managers. Also Apple does a few other things. Great interactive OLA. Magnificent retail. But they are the most social brand out there. Why? What sells more iPhones? Ads? Or seeing your friend with an iPhone when it comes out on the table. Or better yet the fact that you love the brand already. Too easy an example to use, but one that everyone should emulate.

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  1. [...] 10.  Whoever hires the best developers will win (the most important lesson from Googled and why the NY Times, Mel Karmazin, and traditional ad agencies have lost out to CNN, Google/YouTube and digital shops). I agree with Edward Boche’s predictions, however I am not completely thrilled by them. #6 “Everything will be social”. This makes me apprehensive, because I believe our society is now relying too much on social media. Although it is definitely beneficial in many ways, I feel that social media may be taking over, which provokes some nostalgia. #9 “Creativity will matter more than ever”. This is extremely exciting! In relation to the “Rise of the Creative Class”, this means us designers will benefit more than ever during our years ahead. This prediction is exciting and reassuring. Read more: http://edwardboches.com/10-predictions-advertising-in-2010#ixzz0g7Pam14I [...]