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BlogCan You Trust Forecasts Post-COVID?

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TV Ad Spending in the US, 2018-2022

Can You Trust Forecasts Post-COVID?

I’m not talking about weather forecasts, but I’m pretty sure you can’t trust weather forecasts. What this blog is about is trusting all kinds of forecasting right now.

TV Ad Spending in the US, 2018-2022We are just coming out of a novel pandemic. A “novel” coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. It’s so new, little is known about how this coronavirus acts. We also don’t know the long-term impact this virus will have on our economy, societal behaviors and habits. Take a look at these two charts. The first chart with black bars was released prior to the pandemic declaration. It shows relatively constant TV ad spending. Now look at the chart 1.5 years into the “novel” pandemic. We have a relatively sizable dip down in 2020, followed by much lower predictions going forward.

US TV Ad Spending Estimates and Forecast 2014-2024I don’t blame eMarketer for missing the pandemic. We all did. What I’m worried about is the lack of forward-looking information around a pandemic like this. Too much is novel. To predict spending to 2024 seems like a fool’s errand. Too much is changing in marketing to look that far down the road. What if social media bans political ads? What if there is a second wave or a variant that is worse than COVID-19?

There are too many “what ifs,” and digital is still disrupting categories. So what’s the answer? Keep long-range planning to one to two years. The bounce from the 2020 COVID crunch on the economy, markets and individual habits is a huge unknown.

Remember, COVID-19 was a novel virus — everything old is new again.

Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.

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Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.