11 fearless forecasts for 2015

Not a creature was stirring, not counting of course the Internet’s 152 million bloggers trying to finish the year with something touching and clever. At CRN headquarters in Connecticut, our prognosticators were up late sorting through buzzwords like “programmatic,” “storytelling,” and “connected car” to determine the 11 headlines you most certainly will read at some point during 2015:

“CONTENT IS DEAD.” Having reached the point where every company in America except three is employing content marketing to capture the attention of their target audiences, pundits claim the strategy is no longer effective and is attracting no attention at all. In pronouncing that Content is Dead, they proclaim a new Age of Dis-content.

“MILLENNIALS TO BUY NOTHING.” Having sliced and diced every behavior tendency of the 18-to-34-age generation in efforts to capitalize on this prime buyer group, marketers are shown a new survey that indicates all previous analyses have been a waste and that Millennials will spend nothing on anything. Instead, the study says, they will save their money for retirement as they transition to their Boomer-like years.

“HICCUP FOR REAL-TIME MARKETING.” Realizing that marketing messages in real-time are too quick and spontaneous for most consumers to process, brands take the reverse tact and start posting in what they call “nostalgia-time.” The first marketing post to draw one million retweets: “Betcha can’t eat just one.”

“RADIO STATION SCRAPS PROGRAMMING IN FAVOR OF LONGER STOP SETS.” Claiming quality programming has gotten too costly and time-consuming, a small radio station in the Southwest with the call letters “WEAK” abandons all programming and runs one continuous commercial stop set round the clock. One advertiser, wary that the strategy will cost the station all its listeners, hesitantly dips its toes and buys a spot scheduled to run 43rd in the commercial break.

“REAL-DOG TESTIMONIALS REPLACE REAL PEOPLE.” A progressive pet food company, frustrated that its real-people testimonial campaign for dog food lacked sincerity, tests a “real-dog” testimonial radio campaign where actual dogs communicate their excitement over the new brand. Early testing brings mixed results: “Listeners can’t really hear the dogs chewing the food, licking their owners in appreciation, or even understanding what all the barking is about,” said the company’s now former marketing director.

“COMMUNICATIONS GIANT RENAMES ITSELF.” Claiming “we still don’t have it quite right,” Bob Pittman, Chairman at various times of ClearChannel Communications, iHeartRadio and iHeartMedia, changes the name of his company again to iHeartMeatloaf to better reflect its commitment to old-fashioned American family values.

“NIELSEN UNVEILS PPM HELMETS.” Responding to criticism that its PPM meters only track the tuned-in station but not how active the person is listening, Nielsen introduces a new-look device resembling a catcher’s mask with an arrow through the head to better penetrate true consumer engagement. So if you see people on the street wearing the new so-called PPM Helmets, please don’t distract them – they are trying to listen to radio.

“FCC AGREES CONTEST RULES TAKE UP TOO MUCH TIME.” After initial encouraging signs that the FCC was going to revise policy so that radio stations don’t have to jam in all contest and sweepstakes rules on the air, which people can’t really hear or understand anyway, the government agency shifts gears and indicates now that stations must hire faster talkers and confine the same information to 3 seconds.

“SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS UNITE.” It’s billed as one of the largest consolidations ever, a mega-merger of all the major social media networks to create a sole super social society. Companies report radical jumps in productivity, saying employees are sleeping better, not waking so early or staying up so late to keep up with all their conversations, and coming to work fresher and more energized. The new super social site is called “The Twit.”

“CONSUMER ENGAGEMENTS DOWN RADICALLY.” In fact, a new report from Pew Research says 25 percent of all Millennials will never get married.

“CASUAL FRIDAY RENAMED.” Close to three decades after the term “Casual Friday” came into existence to represent a generally accepted dressing-down day from formal office dress codes, a new radio campaign goes viral looking to find a more appropriate name now that more comfortable and practical attire is accepted pretty much every day. So far, the leading name to replace “Casual Friday” is “Friday.”

So there’s our peek into likely story lines ahead as we enter the New Year. Please accept our warmest holiday wishes, and gratitude for working with us, dialoguing with us, letting us into your lives in some way over the past 12 months, and thinking and laughing with us as we try to make sense out of this wonderful business.

…And to all a good night.