Time to put the COVID pilates lesson to use

This piece by Alex Hayes was first published as the Executive Summary for the Advertising Week 2020 Trends Report, created by Clear Hayes Consulting for AW. Download it here.

Download the full report here.

If 2020 were an emoji, it would be 🤦.

It won’t be a year many look back on too fondly – COVID-19, mass protests, environmental disasters, and a Presidential Election verging on the farcical.

But, believe it or not, there are many reasons for people involved in marketing and advertising to be optimistic. Your jobs just got really important.

It’s been a nine-month pilates session for everyone – we’ve never been so stretched in different directions, or so flexible as a result.

That flexibility is what’s going to stand you in good stead in the face of more uncertainty.

All the upheaval has seen marketing emerge as the most crucial business function for any future-facing company. Technology is becoming commoditized, customers are scattered, and creativity is required to win the day.

Fernando Machado

A good marketer is on the front line of the societal shifts, understanding where their customers are and how they’re feeling. It’s not following every fad, but seeing where sentiment is shifting.

Crucially, it’s taking a seat at the board table and explaining to people steeped in history why the old ways are no longer cutting it.

Businesses have increasingly filled some pretty major voids in society in recent years, and with the looming spectre of massive government debts, it seems likely you’re going to be called upon even more to do your bit to help the communities you want to service.

This means for marketers, it’s time to put down the crayons of the promotions department and get your hands dirty with product, pricing, and placement. Not to mention the increasingly crucial fifth P of marketing – purpose.

This report is an entry point for anyone looking to understand some of the most important changes happening today, and learn the lessons of those already blazing a trail. We look at the impact of Black Lives Matter, bask in Barbie’s renaissance, explore the future of customer connection in a cookieless world, examine the cultural data and how people are changing, and even take a hard look at the porn industry.

If you’re ambitious and want to make a real difference, now is the time. If we’ve learned one thing this year, life is short, and unpredictable.

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