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Marketing Predictions for 2023 (?)

Johnny Molson

Before I question my Ogilvy & Mather Tarot Cards and tell you exactly what will happen in 2023, let’s see if past predictions have held up.

Let’s go back to the groovy year of 2018!  5 years seems to be a fair amount of time for predictions to come true.  You may remember 2018 as the year:

Before the year began, marketing prognosticators around the globe were proclaiming that 2018 was the year that everything you’ve done in the past is dead, and everything you’ve never heard of was coming to kill you.  Ya know…like every year before and since.

Watch this article in about 5 minutes with pictures n stuff!

2018 Will Be the Year of Gen Z!

This horseshit prediction was in Forbes and warned us that “generation Z commands $44 billion in buying power” and that Gen Z-ers are “value-oriented…”.  That’s right, friends…there has never been a generation that has valued values before value-oriented Gen Z.

If you buy into the disproven notion that generational groups all act, think, and buy the same way, $44 billion sounds like a scary number. 

Until you discover that $44 billion is dwarfed by the $2.4 trillion Gen X has in their wallets (2.4 trillion being a provably larger number than 44 billion).

Optimize for Voice-Enabled Devices!

2018 was the year of the smart speaker, according to an NBCNews prediction.  You’d be able to say words into the air an Amazon drone would fly a box of kitty litter to your doorstep.

While the speakers themselves sold well, the marketing riches have yet to materialize.  Instead of buying goldfish food and 80-inch televisions, most people ask their smart speaker for a weather report or to play a song.  Echo and Alexa at Amazon are looking at losing $10 billion and laying off 10,000 people.

In fairness, it’s not hard to use 20/20 hindsight to poke holes in these predictions. 

But that’s the point, isn’t it?  Everybody wants to grab onto “the next big thing” rocket, but the discipline of marketing hasn’t changed.  Not in the last 5 years, 15 years, or in its 100-year history.  While some tactics have evolved, the fundamentals of making them work remain the same. 

Jeff Bezos famously said, “I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ […] you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time.” 

Amazon is often decried for causing the death of retail stores.  After all, “everybody” shops online and “nobody” ever shops in person anymore, right?  But the predictions of a “new normal” haven’t materialized.  At all.  Amazon’s stock price is back to pre-pandemic levels, and online shopping overall only accounts for 14.8% of retail dollars

Most people… MOST people shop at brick-and-mortar stores. 

I’m not unsympathetic.  No industry would want 14.8% taken out of its hide.  But 14.8% is a provably lower number than “everybody.”

The biggest challenge business owners face isn’t change in the world, but their own distractions caused by idiot articles titled “Marketing Predictions for 2023.”  Your keen instincts that made you such a good entrepreneur are also your weakness.  I never imagined that my best advice as a marketing consultant would be to tell my clients “Don’t touch it.  Leave it alone.  Let the pot simmer.” 

Given a choice between Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffet, be more Buffet. 

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