2016: Year of the Monkey

It Is Your Circus. Those Are Your Monkeys. And Guess What?
2016 Is Their Year.

Let’s face it, life as a brand marketer used to be so much simpler. In the past we had fewer mediums to master, significantly less audience fragmentation, and a more predictable set
of outcomes. And I am not talking about 20 years ago; I am talking about 12 months ago.

A few stats to consider from just this past year:

• Digital media consumption has increased +18%
• TV viewership among 18-24 year olds is down 13.6%
• 2% of TV subscribers cut the cord
• Internet usage on mobile phones surpassed that of desktops
• Banner ads recorded an average CTR of .12%
• Ad blocking grew +41%
• Fake web traffic from bots will cost advertisers $6.3 billion
• People spent more time with video than any other digital content
• A 25-year old has 40 mm subscribers to his YouTube channel and generated 12 mm in ad sales
• 1 billion people used Facebook on a single day (August 27, 2015)
• Facebook now sees 8 billion average daily video views from 500 million users. Note: That’s up from a “mere” 4 billion in April, 2015.
• Snapchat now has over 100 million daily active users who view 6 billion videos per day

And that’s just a small representation of the dramatic change we continue to see happen year in and year out in our industry. No way to stay ahead of it. No way to keep up with it. No way to contain it. It’s a circus, no doubt.

But a circus that advertisers can no longer ignore.

A few weeks ago I attended a major media conference in Austin where much to my dismay,
I listened to a group of panelists discuss the topic of “how to fight for digital dollars”. WTF!
It’s 2015. Why are we still fighting for digital dollars?

A long time ago, I accepted the fact that most advertisers tend to be risk adverse, and play things relatively safe. Realizing that the dynamics of our rapidly evolving marketing landscape are not for the faint of heart, the notion that uncertainty and the fear of failure was at the core of their resistance became a somewhat acceptable reality that I had come to understand. However, given that this resistance still exists within the context of the aforementioned data, I have become fearful that “fear” is not the real obstacle we are dealing with.

Not my circus. Not my monkeys.

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Look, I get it. Change is hard. Risk is, well, risky. Status quo is easier. But in today’s marketing landscape, change is the status quo. It’s ok to be afraid of what’s out there; by piloting smaller marketing initiatives we can build organizational learning and confidence in new strategies and tactics. But no one ever piloted their way out of complacency or indifference.

I once had a client who coined the term, “monkey velocity”. Like all of us, there was always some new opportunity presented to him, but he had neither the time nor resources to effectively research them, much less take them on. He referred to these as his “monkeys”, and they would consistently show up to harass him at a compounding rate. Subsequently, he began to gauge how behind he was based on the rate of monkey velocity he was dealing with. It always left me with this image of him sitting in his office trying to work while 50 monkeys were trashing the place.

It is your circus. Those are your monkeys.

But have no fear, for according to the Chinese Horoscope, 2016 is the Year Of The Monkey.
The Astrology Club forecasts the year as follows:

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Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time. Pick your monkey(s). Identify the change you’ve been resisting and just make it happen. It’s time to pilot that Periscope or Meerkat live streaming initiative. It’s time to stop supporting .12% CTR’s and invest those media dollars in branded content that can support your paid and earned media efforts. It’s time to stop thinking like advertisers and to start acting like publishers.

Or not.

It’s completely up to you. Just remember that the most recent data from Forbes indicates that the average tenure of a Chief Marketing Officer is 48 months. So that leaves me with one question…

How are you going to spend the time you have left?