Monday, January 14, 2008

Predictions: Looking Ahead … and Looking Back

Last week, Brian Pittman of Bulldog Reporter asked me for a list of the top trends that I believed would have a major impact on the public relations industry in 2008. You can find my list of “Eight for '08” by clicking this link.

Now, everybody who knows me knows that I am in favor of full disclosure, so I thought it would be appropriate to look back at the predictions I made in the same venue last year and tally up my hits and misses. So, in the interests of complete transparency, here’s how I scored at predicting the future in 2007.

1. Further convergence of the media. By this, I meant not just the blurring of distinctions between the mainstream and consumer-generated media, but also the ways in which our digital devices are becoming complex new channels of communications. With the launch of the iPhone in 2007 and the massive growth in the social media , this prediction was a HIT.

2. More corporate scandals. Just last month, class-action lawsuits were filed just last month on behalf of shareholders against Merrill Lynch, officers, and directors in the wake of the company’s $8 billion write-down in the subprime mortgage fiasco. Tainted dog food. Dangerous toys. The Blackwater hearings. The bribery scandal at Samsung. And let’s not forget the Mitchell Report. It’s been another red letter year for scandals. HIT

3. Pinpoint marketing will reign. I said that a sophisticated understanding of market segmentation would be essential for crafting an effective public relations program. It’s still true; but I think, as an industry, we need to enhance the skills and the resources necessary to match those of our brethren in advertising and online marketing. QUALIFIED HIT

4. New client opportunities in India and Asia. Both China and India are expected to deliver growth rates of 10.5% and 9.0%, respectively, by the end of the year (compare this to growth of 2.4% among the more mature economies of the E.U. and U.S.). My sense is that, while the creativity of U.S. firms is a potential boon to Asian companies interested in reaching American customers, we in the public relations industry haven’t come close to realizing the full potential of these growing economies. QUALIFIED HIT

5. The talent gap will continue. Sad to say, I was right on target with this prediction. Finding and refining human resources continues to be a critical issue in our knowledge-based profession. HIT

6. Employee burnout is a problem. The gap between expectation and reward can be a problem for any worker, but it’s certainly exacerbated by the stress inherent in our profession. Too true. We’ve each of us got to remember that life is a marathon, not a sprint. HIT

Not too shabby for a guy who doesn’t even own his own crystal ball!

Technorati Tags: predictions, Bulldog Reporter, social media, corporate scandal, marketing, growth rate, talent gap, employee burnout, business, communications, public relations


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