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Media Intelligence : 2008 Intelligence
expert analysis CHARLIE NELSON Managing Director/Founder, Foreseechange How do you see the outlook for the marketing industry going forward? All of the economic settings are very good and overall I expect it to be a good year. Just how good depends on how much of an extent the money spent last year on advertising by the government can be replaced. While the underlying growth is strong, because of that one-off eff ect, it might not appear as good. We need something to replace it. I think one of the major challenges that the industry faces, is that in 2008, 250,000 people will turn 55 and the industry will forget about them. That is a problem which marketers can’t continue to ignore. People in that age bracket are the people who are spending and there is no evidence that they are more loyal that any one else. If you keep ignoring all of these people turning 55, then your marketing eff ectiveness could start looking pretty bad. Haven’t some companies started to address this? There are some small movements in that direction – people in the industry say that there are more companies taking notice, but the point I am making is that advertisers and their agencies need to specifi cally address the older consumer who has become disengaged from advertising because the advertising isn’t relevant and doesn’t communicate with them effectively. They’re letting these people get away and they are not maximising their opportunities. It is really the only segment that has any real growth and they are big spenders. Another fairly fundamental issue in the industry, is increasing the requirement for fi nancial accountability. The Australian Marketing Institute is taking that pretty seriously and are developing a marketing metrics project that is coming to fruition now. We must be very careful as a profession to ensure that we are able to prove that our spending is generating profi ts. Ifwe can’t do that, next time there is a downturn in the industry,we’ll get our budgets slashed. It is important as we are trying out new technologies and coming to grips with the splintering of consumer segments, that we are able to clearly demonstrate that the money we are spending is generating profi ts for the company. “ In 2008, 250,000 people will turn 55 and the industry will forget about them. That is a problem which marketers can’t continue to ignore.” – Charlie Nelson, Managing Director/Founder, Foreseechange 30 MEDIA Trends + Strategy What sorts of trends are we seeing in terms of consumer behaviour? In terms of consumers there is continuing time poverty. People feel like they don’t have any time to do the things they want, so it is important that advertisers don’t waste their time with ads that are not relevant or, in the case of direct response, that you are not left hanging too long on the phone, or any other way that consumers are going to resent time that is stolen from them. Consumers are feeling pretty stressed and they are looking for change. And everything that marketing does has to centre around reducing rather than increasing consumer stress levels. They are looking to implement changes which can help them reduce their perceived stress and time poverty and a lot of consumers have a longing for a simpler life too. Obviously people are much more concerned about the environment, which is why there is so much pressure on companies to deliver when it comes to corporate responsibility. Is there enough long-term strategy planning happening? Not at all, and it isn’t the fault of the industry.Most companies these days are too focused on the next quarter because the fi nancial analysts are demanding it, but at the end of the day, the company share prices are a function of what investors think will happen in the longer term, rather than the next quarter. Brands are built over years rather than quarters, so in our fi nancial accountability, we need to make sure that we are demonstrating that we are putting money in the bank for tomorrow, by showing the link between strong brands and future profitability.