Look ahead – are you really talking to the right markets?

If you’re trying to figure out what you need to be selling and to whom, Rebecca Wilson writes on what seven macroeconomic trends tell us might be in store over the next year or two.


I often say to people that the difference between marketing that works and marketing that doesn’t is macroeconomics. I’m still not sure why they don’t teach it to marketers at university. Anyone can campaign into a hot market and win work, but arrive too late and it gets a whole lot harder to succeed. Macroeconomics is key.

The new financial year is here, everyone has done their budgets and know they want to grow revenue in the next one and three years. But if your existing markets are shrinking or have shrinkage on the horizon and people are doing things differently, it’s time to take a big hard look at the market… before you get to more marketing.

None of us have a clear crystal ball to look into the future, but it is pretty easy to sit back from the big things going on in the world and draw some even bigger assumptions about what might happen next. And from that, you can plan about what you need to be selling and to whom.

That’s marketing folks.  Working out how to present what you offer in the right bite-sized packages to the most attractive of targets so they can recognise their need for it and ‘buy it’.

So what are the macroeconomics telling us about the coming year or two ahead of us?


Residential property

81,000 apartments have been approved nationwide in the past year (at the time of writing). This is almost twice the long-term average of 44,600 and heaps more are coming to market. Absorption rates are traditionally much lower. Rapid development of inner city apartments is being chased by developers across the country and professional services firms attached are doing well out of the momentum.

But will an oversupply come? Or will the market keep absorbing the growth? This is your question to answer… If you suspect this trend might flatten, I sure hope you are thinking about the next places you might get revenue now, before you need it.


Ageing population

39% of the population is aged over 50 and heading headlong towards the years of retirement and leisure if their budgets allow it. It will become a critical driver of the economy and underpin a lot of change.

This shift presents many professional services, health services and property firms with the opportunity to tailor their product and service offerings to new clients or meet their old clients with new offering that take into consideration their changing needs, desires and aspirations. It will also become a critical driver of the economy.



There were 6.6 million visitor arrivals for year ending March 2014, an increase of 7.6% relative to the previous year. There were 2.3 million visitor arrivals to Australia during the four months to April 2014, an increase of 9.2% relative to the same period of the previous year. Could tourism be getting hotter again? How will this bring opportunities for property, services, and entertainment that have not existed with such force in the post-GFC period?


Reframing retail

Online shopping now represents 6.6% of total retail spend in Australia. Now while that number doesn’t seem that significant, it is up by 5.1% in just one year and no doubt heading higher. Surely this presents opportunities to some and the prospect of pain to others.

Have you considered how it might affect your clients, whether they are retailers, property developers, or shoppers? Are businesses changing their mix of online offline fast enough? Are you? Do you understand how to market in a rapidly changing digital environment?



We export more than half the agricultural produce grown in our country. As the food bowl for Asia, we have a unique opportunity to build brands to export and lock in contracts for the future growth of business producing agricultural products for offshore markets. But this takes commitment, and strategic action.  A international export brand is not instantly created.  It is hard work.



Assets in the Australian superannuation system have more than doubled since June 2000, increasing from approximately $480 billion to $1.3 trillion as at June 2011.  A growing mandatory savings rate in Australia is feeding the hungry wealth management machine.  But their needs are changing. An ageing population requires something different from the financial industry to what it got when it was working. Have the financial services industry got services and products right for this?


Health and wellbeing

We’re living longer but we also want to keep living better, and that tension will generate billions of dollars in opportunities. Businesses that help Australians combat the ‘lifestyle factors’ of working longer and living faster will thrive in coming years. Businesses that ignore this shift may not.


If you’re still trading day to day thinking same-old, same-old, I urge to consider it time to change… and usually that change commences with listening to your market, analysing its needs in the future and adapting to fit.

Change is ahead.  Make sure you are ahead of it in your business!



Rebecca Wilson
BY Rebecca Wilson ON 12 August 2014
Rebecca Wilson is the managing director of Stretch Marketing, and the founder and publisher of Startsat60.com, Australia’s largest online community and media site for baby boomers. Rebecca guest speaks regularly on marketing to Baby Boomers and leading content marketing techniques all over Australia.  Tweet Rebecca on @wilsonbec.