It’s time to fact check the big pandemic trends predictions

by | Jan 4, 2023 | Marketing Essays

My new column is live in The Drum:

It’s time to fact check the big pandemic trends predictions

The Drum columnist Samuel Scott’s been keeping tabs on dozens of trends predictions made by business and marketing bigwigs during the pandemic. To mark the new year, it’s now time to separate the know-it-alls from those with no grasp on reality. Buckle in.

If I invest in widgets and then proclaim that widgets are the next big thing, is that legitimate promotion, jumping on a bandwagon or engaging in a pump-and-dump scheme? Younger readers might not know this, but business fax machines once got almost as much spam as email accounts receive today. Sometimes it was from publicists who had programmed theirs to send press releases to a list of numbers overnight. Other times, local restaurants would send lunch menus.

But the faxes were often from penny stock pushers. The spam would include false news and proclaim that a random, over-the-counter (OTC) stock was going to jump tenfold from, say, $0.01 to $0.10. If you just invest $1,000 now, you’d get $10,000 within days!

If there are enough buyers, the share price will rise and then the spammers will sell their shares and make a large amount of money. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) calls the practice a “pump and dump” scheme and prosecutes those who do them. Today, it is often done over email, social media and text message spam.

This is what I think about every time that I see someone making a prediction for the marketing industry, I always wonder how much the person is invested – literally – in the outcome. And it has been no different over the past two years when I would see people proclaiming how the coronavirus pandemic will “change everything” in the business world.

Looking at coronavirus business predictions

As longtime readers will know, I use my last column of every year to evaluate the predictions that marketers and business people had made for that year.

In 2018, I looked at Deloitte, Forrester, Gartner, Scott Galloway, HubSpot and Salesforce. (Read the results.) In 2019, I critiqued GroupM, Kantar, MoffettNathanson Research and the World Federation of Advertisers. (See the victor.) In 2021, I judged the Future Today Institute, GWI (formerly GlobalWebIndex), McKinsey, and Zenith Media. (Here are the scores.)

And now we’re back and bigger than ever. This year, I will evaluate some of the pandemic-specific predictions that I had collected since early 2020 to see whether they came true. Spoiler: Many did not.

Read the rest in The Drum.

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