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Thoughts for 2008

February 5, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments
It may seem like we’ve only just started 2007 – after all it is still only February. However marketers should be thinking ahead, and it’s never too early to start. After all January 1st 2008 is less than 330 days away and the US presidential elections, taking place on November 4th, 2008 are under 650 days away.

So what can we expect for 2008 – which we should be planning for today!

1) There will be a US presidential election – and the winner will not be George Bush. It may be a Republican colleague – I’m not going to forecast who I think will win. Or it may be a Democrat. Whoever wins will want to show change – and will want to be seen as their own man or woman. (Yes – woman. As this election promises to be significant in that Hillary Clinton may become the Democrat nominee – meaning that for the first time, there will be no First Lady, just a First Man, to accompany the First Female President of the USA.)

So political change in the US is inevitable. This will have an impact on all aspects of life both in the US and the world.

2) In the UK, Tony Blair will be just a memory and history. He’s announced that he will be standing down this year. 2008 will be the year his successor will start making the changes that will gear up to the next UK general elections which must take place before June 2010. If Tony Blair’s successor fails to win hearts and minds, then they will not survive and it takes at least a year for this to happen. So 2008 will be the make or break year.

3) Globally, the Iraq war will still not be sorted out – and deaths from bombings and terrorism will continue. Whether the USA and UK will still be involved is less clear – although my bets are that both countries will still have forces in the country.

In fact, I suspect that the situation today in the Middle East will still be broadly the same. The Israel-Palestine conflict will still be a dominant factor – although I think that the leaders in both Israel and the Palestinian authority may be different. I’d like to say the same for Iran – but even though President Ahmadinijad (don’t you think this sounds a bit like “I’m a Dinner Jacket”) may be highly unpopular globally and even among many of the intellectuals in Teheran, he won’t be ousted unless the Mullahs and the masses turn against him.

I’d also like to see President Mugabe of Zimbabwe go. Again, this is unlikely – unless he dies of old age. I don’t see him stepping aside, despite the dire straights his country is now in. And Mugabe will continue to blame Britain and the West rather than accept that he has destroyed what was once a flourishing and successful economy.

4) In the information / computer world – Vista will become the dominant operating system, not due to its quality but purely due to inertia. People will be dithering in 2007, but by 2008 will feel that they need to upgrade their PCs – which will all come pre-installed with Vista. However there may be small changes.

It is possible that in the home market, people may start thinking about Macs – especially if Apple‘s marketing succeeds in emphasizing the Mac as a better computer for the home in contrast to the PC for the office. The iPod effect may help drive this, as well as the aspirational aspects of the new iPhone which will start being seen in people’s pockets. Meanwhile in the world of the web, many of the Web 2.0 applications will be seen as mainstream – possibly with a new killer application taking pole position. Google will, however, still be the dominant search engine although I believe that it will have lost share to others – both newcomers and perhaps Windows Live and Ask.

I’ve not mentioned other areas that I think will be important – the threat of climate change for example will lead to increased demands to control carbon emissions, and flying may start to be seen as a luxury if taxes increase to make airlines responsible for their carbon footprints (although I somewhat doubt this will come in by 2010). I think that predictions that 2007 will be the hottest year ever will, if they come true, lead to an international effort to prevent global warming. However unless China and India come on board not much will be done, so I feel that any major changes won’t occur in 2008. If they do, then the impact on economies will be “interesting“!

Finally terrorism will still terrify – increasingly, as the prospect of mega-terrorism comes to the fore, with terrorists gaining (or being prevented from gaining) nuclear or biological material. The war on terror will not be won until all countries perceive the threat equally and stamp down hard on this scourge. Currently many just play lip-service to the concept in the hope that by keeping their heads down they won’t get targetted. However that is not how the terrorists see them. They see them as soft and ripe for take-over, as that is the ultimate objective: to make the world follow their particular concept of God!

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