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2015, where the impossible meets the inevitable

It’s around this time of the year when you will hear countless versions of how 2015 will play out in the world of marketing.

Technology will have an increasingly important role in the everyday life of your customers, research will show. A connected, socially driven strategy will prescribe how we speak to customers, agency bosses will shout from the rooftops. A mix of targeted content, connected retail and mobile commerce will separate the great brands from the good ones.

But among all the chatter, endless predictions, white papers and a growing stable of industry conferences, one thing seems clear – in 2015, the impossible suddenly seems inevitable.

For a growing number of years, people have been finding information, consuming entertainment and shopping for goods and services on their own terms, so much so, it’s now natural behaviour for a good chunk of the Hong Kong population.

How brands respond to this in 2015 will be critical, particularly on the mobile front.

Many people will tell you that over the next 12 months technology will no doubt play a much more critical role in the marketing process for analysing consumer behaviour – but for good reason. As the amount of raw data from online browsing behaviour, mobile phones, online retail and social media grows exponentially, companies will be looking for ways to operate in a smarter and more targeted way.

Embracing this change will give brands a competitive edge into an area which many are yet to explore in this region. Even as budgets become tighter, investments into this space should grow at a healthy rate.

This year brands have a real opportunity to take these many predictions and turn them into new business ideas. Organisations that restructure the way they work now – rip down solos, embrace public relations, content and data – will be well placed for the sweeping changes to come in the years ahead.

But the early signs for 2015 are already mixed.

This week’s launch of the annual of advertising spending projections by the Hong Kong Advertisers Association (HK2A) and Nielsen, show that despite the digital trend, TV and newspapers will remain dominant over the next 12 months – taking a 21% and 14% share of advertising spend respectively.

In a world dominated by digital and social media – this dependence on TV and newspapers reeks of misguided spending. Just look at the state of TV in Hong Kong. With the demise of ATV and the buzz of HKTV fading fast – TVB remains the only free-to-air choice for TV advertising and let’s be frank here – the content is nothing to rush home for.

Yes, digital and social remain the fastest growing platforms, but still there are a number of reasons holding them back from fully embracing these channels.

Media agency commission structures and a dependence on the 30-second TVC is one, as is the debate over who will pay for the creation of ROI and measurement tools.

It seems for now that digital, content and social media trends will remain just that. But one thing about 2015 seems certain. Change is coming and coming fast – whether brands like it or not. How they respond over the next 12 months will be critical.

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