Perspective - AANA's Josh Faulks on moving the dial in 2024

By Josh Faulks | 7 December 2023
Josh Faulks.

The AdNews end of year Perspectives, looking back at 2023 and forward to next year.

It has been a challenging year for our industry.

The biggest run of interest rate hikes in the shortest period in over 40 years has squeezed disposable income and consumer spending is volatile. The ongoing cost of living crisis and stubbornly high inflation has shattered consumer confidence. This means that business revenues are under immense strain. 

At the same time, the cost of doing business has increased dramatically leading to cost cutting across the board as businesses strive to not pass on those costs which would put further pressure on inflation and perpetuate the cycle.

It’s no surprise that all this is putting pressure on marketing budgets, and pressure on CMOs and marketing teams to demonstrate the return on marketing investment.

In 2023, we also saw increased regulatory pressure from governments across the country, in particular, around advertising bans, environment claims and privacy.  

To respond to this growing chorus of criticism, I am proud that AANA, MFA and ACA with the support of the other industry bodies, launched the Advertising Pays research by Deloitte Access Economics - which clearly showed the immense value of our industry to the economy, jobs and the broader community in Australia. We all need to do more to talk up our fantastic industry!

What to expect in 2024

The general consensus is the economic picture is weak for 2024, with a period of low growth fuelled by higher-for-longer interest rates. 

While talk of inflation peaking has crept into economic commentary this month, so too has the message that it is stickier than expected and remains well above central bank targets.

And Australians are feeling it, the ongoing pressure from rising living costs will be the summer BBQ stopper.

I think most Aussie's have already decided 2024 will be flat with many feeling little to no confidence in their economic circumstances for the next 12 months as discretionary spending falls while people pay more for essential services.

What does all that mean for the advertising and marketing industry?

In 2024, the focus for governments and businesses will be growth and the cost of living. This is an opportunity for our industry.

We know that advertising and marketing drives growth and brings prices down through competition and innovation. The opportunity for our industry is to prove our value to the Australian economy and the broader community by better marketing ourselves (ironically!).

Despite the economic headwinds and regulatory challenges, I am optimistic about what 2024 will bring for our industry. We have shown we can thrive and innovate in tough economic times. This is what we are all about - helping businesses and the economy grow.

What I am looking forward to most

Next year, I am looking forward to moving the dial on some big issues for our industry like sustainability as we launch the new Environmental Claims Code and the Australian Chapter of the Ad Net Zero initiative in partnership with the MFA and IAB. 

I’m also looking forward to helping our community connect and grow across our reinvigorated events. Look out for our rockstar line up at RESET for Growth on 9 May at the Overseas Passenger Terminal and more Marketing Masterclasses, more Executive Roundtables and more CMO dinners.

On a personal note, I am really looking forward to getting hitched twice (to the same person!) late next year in Sydney and then in Brazil for Carnival the following February.

Bring on 2024. I have feeling it is going to be another challenging year, but also a bit of fun!

Josh Faulks is the Chief Executive Officer, Australian Association of National Advertisers

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