Here comes 2019. Brace yourselves
Welcome to annual predictions issue. We have played Scrooge to the industry’s Bob Cratchit, asking a lot of contributors to spend their Christmas breaks channeling the Ghost of Advertising Future and predicting what 2019 will hold for the industry. These predictions are fascinating on a number of levels. They show us what the people shaping the industry are thinking, their hopes and their expectations. They help us plan better for the year ahead. And when not every single prediction in these pages comes true, the rest of us can put on our told-you-so faces, while secretly being relieved it wasn’t us tasked with nigh-impossible soothsaying for an industry that has never been so unpredictable.
While there are some fascinating wild- card projections ( more beards is perhaps my favourite), there are also themes that run through this issue, topics and concerns that are shared by many of our contributors.
For a start – and this should come as no surprise – no one is expecting 2019 to be easy. Budgets will continue to be squeezed, as clients cut their spend and look for more efficiencies. This will have implications through the whole ecosystem.
2019 is likely to be more tactical than strategic. In other words, clients will be looking for shortterm savings and profits over long-term brandbuilding. That’s not to say that there won’t be room for big ideas, but be prepared to be opportunistic.
There are likely to be more mergers and consolidations among agencies as holding groups look for more efficiencies and ways to bring their tech and creative offerings closer together. This will play to clients looking for simplified agency models rather than having to juggle multiple suppliers. Some clients will take skills in- house – and, since there is likely to be more restructuring among agencies, there will be talent to spare.
A couple of contributors talk about consumercentricity moving ahead of brand- centricity, as marketers work out how to join their customers’ conversations rather than interrupting them. This will become essential in an age of ad- blockers and increasing consumer choice, and 2019’s learning curve will include lessons on how not to drive people away.
This will even extend to influencer strategy, which is not going to go away any time soon but will mature as brands develop long-term strategies and relationships with influencers and their followers, reclaiming an integrity damaged in recent years by copy-paste sponsored posts.
It’s going to be a tough year, it’s going to be an interesting one, and my personal prediction is that a lot will change. That’s a safe prediction.