3 Strategies to Prepare for the Future

Is your business ready for the Future

Earlier this month, I attended Annual PIMA (the Professional Insurance Marketing Association) Conference.  The closing Keynote Speaker was Jack Uldrich. Jack Uldrich is an expert futurist, author and speaker who speaks about how to “prepare” or “Future-Proof” your business against today’s ever-changing society.

Uldrich went into depth about the top 10 technological treads that are upon us right now from Wearable Technology to Nanotechnology.

No one wants to be the next Blockbuster or Blackberry—companies that couldn’t adjust with the ways we now interact with technology.  And as marketers, we need to always be ready to engage with our target audience in new ways.  But how do we do that when technology changes so fast?

Uldrich presented the following 3 strategies to make your company ready for the future.

1.   Find a reverse mentor.  This was my favorite strategy of Uldrich’s.  It means finding someone much younger than you who can introduce you to the technologies they are using.

I have benefited from reverse mentors many times.  The first time was back in 2008 when my younger team member convinced me to join Facebook. I thought it was some weird place young people went to talk about how they bought a latte. But I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Social media has changed how I interact with people and how I think as a marketer.  If you don’t have a reserve mentor—GET ONE.  You may be missing out on the next new “thing.”

2.   Have a “Think Week.” Uldrich says, “Step away from the daily grind to read, think, reflect.” Your world is constantly shifting, and if you don’t pick up on these subtle changes, you’re locked up.” “In fact,” says Uldrich, “I encourage everyone take an annual ‘Think Week’ for themselves. The payoff will in all likelihood be much greater than the pay check one misses out on.”

When I was listening to him, I was thinking he was crazy because who has time to put down their phones and just THINK?  I certainly don’t.  Then he recommended doing it in increments.  As marketers, we really need to sit back and think about how to approach our audience in new ways.  “Direct mail is the only channel my customers respond to…it’s worked that way for years.”  Really?  Only direct mail?  It’s our job to test these “tried and true” methods. Challenge our clients and ourselves to think out of the box to engage our audience.

3.   Conduct a pre-mortem. Uldrich says to get your team together and tell them to imagine it’s 10 years from now and we are out of business.  Then probe them to think about why this happened? What went wrong? What didn’t we see coming?  Uldrich says that instead of this being a depressing conversation, it turns into a discussion about new opportunities and brews strategies for the business.

This should be a conversation you should be having with your own business.  Who knows what you might discover.

If you want to have a discussion about the future of your companies marketing, please email me at jschenher@twochicago.com for a consultation.