Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Track Record for Our 2015 Predictions

A lot of people issue predictions, but we feel it's important to look at the prior year's predictions to provide some integrity to the process. But it also helps us focus on changes for the following year.

We try to cover a lot of ground when making predictions, certainly covering our client's sectors (without taking away from what they're doing or hyping what they're doing). But there's a lot of things we miss. For example, we -- like most of the rest of the world -- did not predict that Donald J. Trump would be a GOP front runner for five months. (We're guessing that only Donald J. Trump would have made that prediction last year.)

So here are our grades based on the trends we predicted for 2015:

Here are our predictions for 2015:
  • Wearable tech will be big in 2015. Wearable tech was successful but not necessarily "big." That's in part because most wearable tech is still in the oxymoron stage – where it either works as fashion or technology or neither but not both. But the other reason it's still not enough reason for most of us to buy and wear them. We still feel wearable tech will become mainstream but maybe in 2016. Grade: B-.
  • Expect sensory overload. Just don't expect that yet. We meant that the Internet of Things (IoT), which will use built-in sensors, networked-enabled smart devices to capture information and communicate to bring a higher level of convenience for humans, would overwhelm us with too data from sensors. Clearly that didn't happen in 2015. On the other hand, we said "within two years," so that means we still have time to be rigt, if this happens by 2017. Grade: B-
  • Content management remains king. We got this right though we've seen some decline in the impact of infographics (though they're still flourishing on Pinterest). Thought leaders through blogs, videos, bylined articles, social media, traditional media will remain strong in 2016. Grade: A.
  • Watch for the monetization and maturation of social media. We were right about Snapchat but wrong in terms of Twitter, which has matured but has not been able to apporiately monetized its users. The revolving door of Twitter CEOs validates that others are expecting monetization even if Twitter can't deliver. Grade: B.
  • More will cut the cord in 2015. Streaming services did become ever more popular this year, with new apps from HBO, CBS and others. But the realization finally seems to have hit that cutting the cord isn't simpler, may cost just as much, and that to be able to stream video from the Internet, you still need Internet access, which is still provided by cable providers. (Check out this recent Bloomberg Businessweek article: "Cutting the Cord, Not the Cost.") We got this one right. Grade: A.
  • The importance of a college education will continue to generate media interest. Because student debt continues to grow, the value of an education became an ongoing story in 2015. Expect that to continue in the election year. Grade: A.
  • After a couple of more-or-less stable years, 2015 will be a rough year for print media. Unfortunately, we were write about this. There were layoffs in newsrooms in Philadelphia, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, New York Daily News. (And not just print:  even ESPN laid off several hundred employees.) According to Poynter, the reason: "This year has been a worse year, not a stabilizing one, for advertising. Digital and other new revenues are not making up those loses. As new strategies (like paid digital subscriptions or contracting printing) settle in for a few years, they still generate revenue but not growing revenue." Grade: A+.
  • There’s always going to be a new site generating lots of buzz, but those may not be the ones to reach your customers. By way of example, we cited Yo, an app generated a lot of buzz in 2014 because it allows you to say only “Yo” to your friends. Haven't heard much about it in 2015 so we think that proves our point. Grade: A.
  • Wearable tech will allow new ways for marketers to interact with consumers. This prediction was ahead of the curve but we remain convinced this will happen and that it will be a bit creepy. Grade: C.
  • The temptation for marketers is to be everywhere all the time – but more Americans will try to disconnect, if only for a few hours or the weekend. When a popular meme on Facebook urges people to look up, and turn off their devices, we may be at odd moment. We don't seriously expect people to put away their devices for good – as a society, we are all too addicted to them. But we are seeing people talk about unplugging for the weekend as a sort of electronic cleanse. Grade: A.

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