What's Ahead for Marketers in 2008

I felt inclined to close 2007 with a post about major trends that affected marketers in 2007, then follow with the first post of '08 being about predictions for the upcoming year. It occurred to me that the content of the two postings would be essentially the same, so here it is all in one. There are three marketplace trends that unfolded in 2007 that marketers will have to deal with in 2008:

1. Rising Energy Costs - The price of oil continues to edge toward $100 a barrel. A combination of political instability in certain countries and soaring global demand means high prices are here to stay. Will it affect consumers' shopping patterns? Are there opportunities to benefit from high gas prices? The answers are "yes" and "yes." Consumers may have less to spend on discretionary purchases such as entertainment, dining, and travel, which poses a threat to those sectors and the economy overall. On the other hand, marketers that provide convenient product acquisition (e.g., online sellers that deliver products) could benefit.

2. Credit Crunch - The subprime mortagage lending mess put thousands of people in houses they could not afford. The result was a slowdown in new home demand, lower demand for complementary products like furniture and appliances, and less spending overall by affected consumers who are spending more on their mortgages and have less for other types of spending. The effects of this mess will continue to be felt in 2008.

3. Social Media - One positive trend heading into 2008 is the emergence of social media as platform for building customer relationships. You Tube, Facebook, and MySpace are the big names in social media, but a business has many options for connecting with people regardless of whether their audience is worldwide or local. The challenge for marketers in 2008 is to continue to explore ways to use social media that fosters customer engagement but does not cross the line to become in-your-face commercialism.

Wishing for you that 2008 is the best year ever!