Villing & Company

A New Marketing Anthem For A New Year: The times, they are a-changin’

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'

This is an odd time of year. The end of one year and the commencement of a new one prompt decidedly mixed reactions. The end of the year is a time for reflection of events over the previous 12 months. The new year creates a sense of anticipation and optimism about things to come.  Those of us in marketing often engage in this same mixed bag of retrospection and enthusiasm.

As we close out 2016, it might be a good time to take some of the most famous lyrics of Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan to heart. “The times, indeed, are a-changin’.”

Admittedly this is hardly a ground breaking statement, nor is it in any way unique to our industry. But if there were a Moore’s Law about the speed of change in marketing, it would speak not so much to projectable trends as to unforeseen challenges and opportunities. Let’s look at 2016. January a year ago, discussion about the use of virtual reality in marketing or the Internet of Things (IoT) was still in its infancy. Only recently did I become aware that social media platforms like SnapChat were referred to as “ephemeral marketing” – a concept used to describe marketing tools that appeal to the shorter and often short-lived attention span of consumers.

So what’s on the horizon for 2017? While it seems safe to assume some changes will involve fundamental disruptions from Google or Facebook or new social or technological platforms, few of us have a crystal ball to make specific predictions. So the key is to accept that change is one of the only constants in our professional lives. We need to be students of that change and nimble in our ability to adapt to tools and techniques relevant to the needs of the organizations for whom we work. Otherwise…

You better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'

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