Business Predictions for 2009 and A Look Back…

As we start this new year, it’s appropriate to look forward to 2009 predictions and also interesting to look back at 2008.

I was amazed and slightly perplexed to read my introduction notes to my 2008 predictions. At that time I was already noting tough times ahead for the economy and likely recession – interesting given that the actual arrival of this was really delayed in most peoples minds until the stock crash in October. This was confirmed in our own business figures. Up until October 2008 we had consistently been out performing 2007 and were up in both revenue and income. A very good year in fact with even more growth than I had thought possible.

Well as we enter 2009 I think everyone is now on the same recessionary page. Indeed the reactions appear to have swung almost into panic mode with concerns about the global economy the main subject of every holiday dinner conversation. People are worried and in ways which I cannot say I have experienced before.

The issue this time is the global scale of this recession and the fact that no-one really knows exactly how we will get out of it. Root to this confusion and concern is the nature of the problem. World financial markets have run riot and since they are global in nature they outreach the power of individual national political establishments to control them. Everyone has thrown money at the problem but I have yet to meet anyone who thinks that will actually work or who even thinks that solution is fair.

Bottom line is that this year we will see huge reaction to the worry with companies hunkering down – eliminating excess spends, jobs and scaling back to consolidate on core activities. It’s CFO’s perfect storm and they will become the single most important corporate player in 2009.

Probably the worst place to be in a recession is at the end of the marketing chain. Marcoms budgets are the easiest to cut and like many companies in the segment we can see 2009 budgets
being slashed back by almost every client as they prepare for the tight year ahead. We see the results already – WPP the global media/ad agency behemoth predicts scaling back it’s operation in both US and Europe, this comes after similiar stories about rival Omnicom.

So what for Just Media in 2009. Well like 2008 I predict we will need to consolidate with our existing clients, expand the client base to make up for individual budget shortfalls and we will see even greater movement to performance based, lead gen activity. Goals for us this year will also include expanding some service offerings whether through partnerships or additions to the team. More on that laterin the month.

It’s going to be a tough year of that I’m certain. However opportunities will continue to open up as businesses shift around agency relationships (especially those downsizing from big brand shops) and the need for specialist skills grows in value. We are well placed to capitalize on this and with hopes for a rebound later in 2009 it will be another crazy 12 months.

Safety belts will be obligatory….

Dick Reed
Just Media, Inc.

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