In an analysis and forecast for the marketing industry for the year 2005, Renegade Marketing's president, Drew Neisser, concludes that the coming year is going to be a tough one, with marketers working much harder than before for each success along the way.
Only 12 months ago Neisser was very optimistic about the year ahead of the marketing industry but this year's perspective is very different, he says. "If 2004 was the year of the CMO, 2005 will be the year they get fired," Neisser warned. A recent study suggested that the average CMO's tenure is only 17 months - seven months shorter than the average corporate CEO. The problem with such a short tenure is that many initiatives take longer than that to see through.
Consequently Renegade expects to see a lot more research being done in 2005. It may also be a year of favour for new marketing tools such as Intelliseek's BrandPulse, which measures "buzz", and Who's Calling, which allows advertisers to use a multitude of toll-free telephone numbers to track the performance of individual ad units.
In the offline world, some gains are likely to be made through the continued pursuit of rich brand experiences. "As big-chain, product-brands-be-damned retail environments proliferate, more and more marketers will look to create their own high quality interactions with 'pop-up stores' (like Sharp's Aquos store in SoHo), mobile marketing tours and guerrilla encounters," predicted Neisser.
Even in the online world there are changes ahead. If 2004 was the year of online search, 2005 will be the year marketers rediscover direct mail. Direct mail will benefit from an implosion of e-mail (which seems set to be the big loser of 2005 as spam filters protect us from all but the friendliest of personal messages). Savvy e-mail marketers will then try to fight this trend by offering better quality and less frequent correspondence in the hopes of maximising their effectiveness.
Online gains will be made through larger ad units, better blogs and more games. According to DoubleClick, larger units sizes such as leader boards and skyscrapers are increasingly popular while the standard banner accounts for less than 30% of the total ads served. Marketers will be experimenting with blogs, creating their own, attempting to influence others, and advertising on yet others. Believe it or not, Renegade's prediction is for even more online games in 2005 because they just keep scoring well with consumers.
Break or build?
Pressure to perform in a slowing economy will reduce risk-taking, despite the real need to take more. Sale signs, rebates and discount coupons will flood the market, dispersing brand value all too rapidly.
But a select group of marketers will be bold, demanding ideas - really big ideas - that inspire brilliant executions across a full range of media (not just television), and that are built upon genuine consumer insights. These, of course, are the CMOs who will keep their tenure longest.