Here is Part 2 of my eagerly awaited 2009 predictions… I’d love to hear your comments (after all, I’m not writing this stuff for my health)…
4. Gas prices will remain under $3.
The average price of a gallon of gas in December 2008 was $1.62; in December 2007 it was $3.04. With a recession, layoffs, and less people engaging in discretionary travel, gas prices will remain a lot lower than they’ve been over the past two years. Even with OPEC trying to raise the price by squeezing supply, they’ve been unable to move the needle. Like it or not, world, the U.S. consumer is the strongest component in this equation. One unintended benefit with lower oil/gas prices: Iran’s economy is suffering so badly that they’ve had to virtually abandon their nuclear weapon ambitions. Hopefully North Korea will follow suit.
5. Vista, or Windows 7, or whatever it will end up being, will regain luster and respect.
Worldwide usage of the Windows operating system dipped below 90% for the first time in eons last month. Even with that “bad” news, I can’t imagine how awesome it would be to own a 90% market share of anything. And that’s not going away any time soon. The dirtiest little secret about Vista is the release of Service Pack 1 (SP1) in March 2008, which has made the operating system quicker, safer, more compatible, and more reliable. Essentially, it has helped Microsoft realize the full promise of what Vista was supposed to be. However, with the Jerry Seinfeld/”I’m a PC”/Mojave Experiment TV commercials focused on everything but the word “Vista,” everyone still assumes that Vista is buggy and slow. Maybe they should hire me again…
6. Phoenix will have a white Christmas in 2009.
Sounds crazy, I know. But Las Vegas had 3 ½ inches the week before Christmas, so is it really that far-fetched? Sure, it hasn’t snowed in the city of Phoenix in 18 years (there have been a couple minor dustings since then, but too few to mention) – that just means we’re due for a big one. How funny would it be for all those snow-weary visitors from Minnesota and Iowa to spend their Christmas in a white desert? Don’t worry… it’ll be 65 degrees by lunch time.
7. With shrinking budgets and layoffs, marketing consultants will be more important than ever.
Of course, since I’m a marketing consultant, this is a little self-serving. However, I know that companies are really tightening their belts when it comes to marketing expenditures. I also know that many marketing departments have been forced to reduce headcount. However, they continue to recognize the benefits that marketing can bring them, and if they can’t produce results their jobs are in jeopardy. Marketing consultants bring the best of both worlds; they don’t increase your department’s headcount, and, when you consider the cost of employee health insurance, payroll taxes, 401(k) matching funds, etc., consultants end up costing less money than full-time employees. Below are some of my Success Stories from clients and employers of mine, which should give you a good idea of what you should be looking for in a consultant. Feel free to email me or call me at 480-814-8838 to discuss it further.
Yes, I know that 2009 has already begun, but I also realize you were probably tired of reading predictions from pseudo-pundits back in December, so I decided to wait a few weeks before publishing mine. Do I have greater prognosticative abilities than anyone else? Probably not. But I am a keen observer of human nature (being the third of three boys, I needed to stay on my toes or risk getting slapped in the head by my older brothers), so I believe these predictions will come true. At the very least, I will try to provide an entertaining read.
We shall revisit these next January to see how close I got. In the meantime, here’s Part 1 of my 2009 predictions:
1. The recession will end by the late spring.
Most economists agree that the recession actually started in December 2007, not in the fall of 2008. There have been 10 post-WWII recessions which have lasted an average of 10.4 months, the longest lasting 16 months. If the current economic downturn lasts 16 months, we’ll be back on the road to recovery by April. Chin up.
2. MySpace is so 2008. Twitter is so 2009.
Can Twitter change the face of social networking, 140 characters at a time? Perhaps. So far, I’ve had very good initial success with using Twitter as a supplement to other marketing activities. Its appeal is the ability to enable personalized, instant communication between customers and companies. Sure, you can’t engage in deep, content-rich conversations, but that’s not the point. You can always link to other sources for that. If you’re looking to join Twitter, create an account and follow me – I’ll walk you through it.
3. Microsoft will buy Yahoo!
Conditions are a lot more favorable now for a purchase of Yahoo! than they were when Microsoft made its initial bid in mid-2008. In hindsight, I’m sure Steve Ballmer is thanking his lucky stars that CEO Jerry Yang turned down his $44.6 billion bid. The current market value of Yahoo! is 60% lower than the bid value, and the company continues to struggle keeping up with Google. Combine a lower stock price, lower market share, recent layoffs of 1,500 employees, and the ouster of Yang (undoubtedly for putting his ego ahead of his stockholders), and it’s more a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if.’ Sorry, Yahooies, but as much as you hate Redmond, you’ll call it home in 2009.
I’ll bring you Part 2 of my predictions next week. Have a great weekend!
Happy New Year everyone – I hope 2009 brings you health and happiness!
In the spirit of optimism and good cheer, I created a new web video series called “Phoning It In“, a humorous take on current events. Think “The Soup” or SNL’s “Weekend Update,” minus the talent and post-production qualities. Enjoy episode 1 below, and please leave me your comments (positive or negative) either here or on YouTube.