A Prosperous New Year?

But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn’t take one more step.

It’s there, all around us. Bad news about the economy is easier to get than the winter flu. Take this little gem, for example:

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index declined to a new all-time low in December. The Index now stands at 38.0 down from 44.7 in November. The Present Situation Index plummeted to 29.4 from 42.3 last month. The Expectations Index decreased to 43.8 from 46.2 in November.

“The further erosion of the Consumer Confidence Index reflects the rapid and steep deterioration of economic conditions that occurred in the fourth quarter of 2008,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center.

Yikes and double yikes!

Funny thing is, all these pundits – the economists, the government regulators, the financial media – never wanted to admit we were in a recession in the first place. Now it is all gloom and doom, which is a likely indicator (if recent history has taught us anything) that we are already headed out of the recession.

And maybe it’s just me, but I am feeling pretty confident going into this new year. We’ve got a new President, a new Cabinet, a new House. We’ve got the hope for and promise of change. And we’ve got a resilient consumer marketplace that can only be pushed down so far before it fights back.

Still, the stories are rolling off the presses and down Main Street like tanks at war; consider this burst of reality from Ad Age:

Marketing executives are tired of buzzwords such as Web 2.0, blogs and social networking. They’re more concerned about credit availability, housing markets, alternative energy and the trade deficit, according to a new study of top-level marketers.

Of course, it’s no surprise that the economy is weighing heavily on marketers looking toward 2009. In a study by Anderson Analytics for the Marketing Executives Networking Group, more than half of the marketers surveyed said their budgets will be cut in the coming year, and another 44% said they’ll cut or freeze hiring.

Kerplunk.

I was a lonely teenage broncin’ buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck,
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died.

Well, count me out. I am nowhere near ready to give up, cave in and fade away. I believe in this country. I believe in the American spirit. I believe in Americans.

At the end of the day, most of us still care about honesty and integrity and loyalty and hard work. And even while the New York Yankees spend hundreds of millions of dollars to field the most expensive team in the history of Major League Baseball, virtually all of us who are not Yankee fans believe that we can and will beat them.

So I am stepping up my game and not hoping for, but rather planning on a happy and prosperous 2009. You are welcome to join me.

And I love you so.
The people ask me how,
How I’ve lived till now.
I tell them, “I don’t know.”

Jim Sweeney

Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.