2017: A Year In Review

Looking back on the year that was, it didn’t feel like a simple continuation play on 2016 but an entirely new kind of business environment. Based on a bedrock of synchronized global economic growth, even the smallest of businesses are seeing the green shoots of early growth, the canary in the coal mine signaling the start of an era of prosperity unmatched in my lifetime. Now, to be fair, my level of optimism is further fueled by the micro as well as the macro. The micro-climate that is Texas can’t help but make a business based in the Lone Star State feel like they were born on 3rd base. Unlike the cautious optimism that typified the near-decade after the financial crisis, the current optimism is accelerating along a much steeper curve. From a marketers’ perspective, we’re seeing what I would call a very positive “elective rotation” by both existing clients and new alike. “Elective rotation” is the realization (and subsequent action towards making a change) that in order to take advantage of this coming rising tide of prosperity, the old playbook won’t suffice. It’s the healthy realization that you don’t know what you don’t know and asking my team, “How can we leapfrog our competition?” at this flywheel moment in history.  

To use a poker analogy, if the last decade has been typified by cautiously checking the flop, 2017 had pioneer businesses pushing all their chips in to the middle. 2017 invited change – elective rotational change in both media choice and messaging strategy.  Those business owners that desired to be better and to be better first questioned everything in their marketing playbook in 2017. The risk of change was a reasonable risk, an embracing of the uncomfortable fact that technology in myriad options and iterations is allowing access to the consumer at the highest level ever.

There’s another macro breeze blowing that encouraged this elective rotation in 2017 as much as the synchronized global economic growth, and I would posit that macro is the unbridled optimism that comes from seeing the impossible become possible, or seeing category creation itself.  From the magic of Elon Musk and Space X to the pure peer to peer crypto currencies unlocked by block chain, 2017 was laced with innovations that caused heads to shake. We’re making inroads into gene therapy to defeat the diseases that plague us most, we’re on the cusp of self driving vehicles in the mainstream, and the expansion of the Internet of Things (IOT) is making our world a smarter, more connected place. The pace of innovation has never been so rapid, and that speed is feeding a confident enthusiasm across consumers and business owners alike.

As we put 2017 to rest, 2018 is set to roar into existence without the typical Q1 lull that many businesses have come to expect. We have positive momentum against almost every conceivable metric. If for any reason you didn’t participate in the enthusiasm of 2017 or embark upon your own elective rotation, now is the time. Flywheel moments like this don’t come around enough to sit one out.