In just over a week, another year will be coming to an end – it’s a time to reflect on the year that has just past and look towards the year ahead. Drink some champers or bubbly, watch the ball drop and make some new year’s resolutions we all know you won’t keep.
I’ll sum up my reflection on 2009 with one simple acronym (WaY - What a Year)!
On a personal level I’ve had the most challenging, exciting and fulfilling year of my life. As I reflect on the year that has just past, I am coming to the end of it as a much fuller person than the one I started with. I mean that - I’ve had some amazing experiences, great times and realised and valued so much over the course of this one year. I look at 2009 as gem in disguise.
Often in life, we face hard times – during these times we have an important choice. We can look back and refuse to deal with the challenges life throws at us OR we can take a different approach. First, we can acknowledge the positive things we have (in my case fantastic friends, family and a love for my career). We can then deal with the cards we’ve been dealt by investing the time to face those challenges head-on. For me, in my own little way, I’ve done this. The biggest thing to realise is that when a challenge is thrown your way, you can’t pretend things are business as usual anymore. We need to figure out a new way forward and realign ourselves to existing in this new universe.
From a marketing perspective, 2009 has been a year of change in our industry. In the midst of one of the worst global economic crises our generation has ever seen, marketers have been hit hard. Similar to how this year has affected me personally, I think the same can be said for our profession.
The challenges of having marketing budgets cut, downsizing of staff and the increased pressure for understanding changing customer needs, has forced an evolution for the marketer. First we’ve had to recognise the positive things we have, in the case for marketing professionals – the understanding of the key revenue stream of a company (the customer), our understanding of various communication channels and our ability to react to change quickly. Only the strongest and astute marketer will survive in an environment like this one – and that is the truth.
In the midst of this mayhem, we’ve also had to realign how we work. Gone are the days where we will have a plethora of resources at our fingertips. We now have to plan quicker, with less financial or human assistance and with more competition in our midst. 2009 has really shown us that this isn’t a blip in the system but this attitude towards our profession is here to stay.
Like the challenges you or I face in our personal lives, it is essential we embrace our new realities in the marketing world so we can move forward for the good of our profession. 2010, 2050 and all the other years in between will have their fair share of ups and downs – all elements of life do – but we have the power to step up to the challenge and make them a success.
2010 will continue to test our ability to adapt and grab hold of this changing environment. Let’s not hide under the covers pretending all this will go away – it won’t. Let’s continue to embrace the change and face it head-on to make marketing more important to our companies than it ever was before.
As a way to synthesise my thoughts on 2009 from a personal and professional perspective, I took some time to write down 5 things I’ve learnt from this year. They are:
1) The customer is king - take what the customer says to heart so this can drive change in the organisation
2) Keep it simple - no one reads anything these days so the message needs to be short and sweet
3) Look on the bright side - for every negative we are dealt with, try to identify two positives
4) Face the music – deal with challenges head-on so you can realign yourself to this new world
5) Find your passion – realise what you love to do and do it (even if you weren’t getting paid for it)
As we bring 2009 to a close, I urge all marketers out there to take a moment to reflect on how 2009 has impacted them personally and professionally. You can share this on my blog below as a comment or you can do it just for you. Honestly that’s up to you. It is just a good way for us all to realise how this year of change has made an impact on us and what we’ve taken away from it.
So that’s about it from this week. I wish you all a happy holiday season! I’ll be back next week to talk more about the year ahead.
Have a great marketing week,
Miriam - AppleCrisp Marketing Solutions