2010 – Fun or Fear

At this time of year it seems as though everyone who writes a blog or column tries to be “Wise Man” by forecasting what is going to happen in the next year.  As my only chance to be a “Wise Man,” I thought I would join the crowd and give you my perspective on 2010.

  • The economy will range from flat to down.  There is the potential for an implosion in the commercial real estate market, as well as one in the credit card industry.  The fear of these collapses will force banks to continue their stringent lending practices, meaning that credit for small to mid-sized firms will be tight to non-existent.  Small to mid-sized companies drive employment and the lack of credit will hold their hiring down, resulting in the un and under employment rate ranging from 15% – 17% throughout the year.   All of these factors will negatively impact the economy. In short, the only difference between December 2009 and December 2010 will be that millions of people will have been out of work for well over a year.
  • Being an election year, Congress will push out another “stimulus” program, be it giving $250.00 to Social Security recipients or sending more billions to the states.  Having learned that bailing out Wall Street and buying mortgage and car companies doesn’t stimulate the economy, Congress will go after votes by spreading money around.  However, the net effect of this new stimulus program will be minimal, in that most people who receive funds will use it to pay down debt.
  • The communication and collaboration that the Internet and mobile devices provide will continue to drive business and personal decision making.  For consumers, reference sites like Yelp will drive their purchase behavior.  For businesses, the ability to learn about competitors and suppliers will shorten their product and promotion cycles.  As a result of these communication and collaboration technologies , all elements that are part of a business will speed up.
  • Integrity and Transparency will rise to the top of Marketing efforts, as companies recognize that their reputation is more important than endorsements.  The Tiger Woods fiasco (on top of Edwards, Spitzer, Rodriguez, etc.) puts the nail in the coffin of “endorsement” marketing. Hearing/reading the comments of someone you trust, on the Internet, will become the key factor in every purchase decision.
  • Simplicity will become a requirement.  Google, Apple and others have been able to take complex technologies and products and bring them down to the “my mother can do that” level.  Everything new will be more complex than the old, and being complex means that it needs to be made simpler to the user.  Companies that follow this path in 2010 (and on) will be successful.

What are your thoughts?  Are they different?  I would enjoy hearing about how you see 2010 unfolding.

And, if you need help in adjusting to the new speed of commerce or making sure your messaging is on point, give us a call.

RHM — 12/17/2009

1 comment to 2010 – Fun or Fear

  • So you are basically predicting another year of zero innovation in America which will contribute to our downward slide from a World power. I think I will start planning on moving to Europe.

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