With all the dynamic changes that businesses have experienced in opportunities and threats, it’s important to anticipate the future.

But forecasting can be tricky.

That’s especially true with the global demographic changes as young people come in the workplace.

So, the one dynamic you can anticipate is constant change – both positive and negative.

With technology constantly evolving, it can be productive for you or it can be used by cyber criminals to your detriment.

That’s why keeping current on trends and performing a SWOT analysis – your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats – are your best hope.

Two important issues

Success in marketing depends on your organization’s ability to address two salient issues.

The two issues?

1. External – your marketplace

2. Internal – your human resources

That’s right, a good HR program will enhance your marketing by as much as 50 percent.

Here are my forecasts:

1. Heavy reliance on new buzz words will be a waste of time

So-called experts make money from their creation of buzz words, but their buzz words are just that – words. They often over-simplify concepts, and they come and go.

In reality, they’re intellectual shortcuts. Businesspeople can’t afford to take shortcuts.

It’s better to fully understand concepts as part of your SWOT analysis.

So don’t hang all your hopes on every trendy development. Remember this, too, shall pass. Further, as we learned in the dot-com era bust – if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

2. Everything will be based on personal relationships

The evolution in digital technology and the Internet has actually given individuals – as consumers or businesspeople – unprecedented power. This is true for the public and private sectors.

For instance, a consumer can comparison-shop very easily.  An individual can instantly destroy a company’s reputation.

So it’s vital to employ stellar marketing for four reasons:

— Understanding your customer

— Selling the right product or service

— Leveraging the right time

— Selling at the right price

Stellar marketing is easier said than done for big companies. For instance, Verizon inexplicably joined the list of big companies failing to understand customers and then drew fire from them on social media.

For good relationships with your customers focus on the cornerstones, focus on integrity, responsiveness and transparency. That also goes for good relationships with your employees and other stakeholders.

3. Authenticity will be needed in communication for trust 

Increasingly, you’ll find people will resent being “talked at” or “sold to.” They’re tired of being patronized. They like the concept of sharing.

As we’ve seen, people are wary of institutions like government and politicians and the news media. They’re more likely to trust the opinions of their friends and online reviews.

This means you’ll profit if you focus more on participation than persuasion. Build trust to create friends.

With consumers trying to cope with information overload – you will increase B2C sales with long-term customer loyalty – if you build trust by using best practices.

It may be an obvious approach, but it’s confirmed by a study that shows 84 percent of the respondents declared trust must be warranted before they buy. So if you want more business, build trust with consumers.

Many companies will be more successful if they update their approaches in human resources for employee engagement and business success.

4. Artificial intelligence will become more intelligent

It’s been a long time coming, but machines and software are increasingly being created for intelligence. The term, artificial intelligence, was first used in 1955.

Published reports indicate at least two major companies are using robots in customer service – Lowe’s and McDonald’s.

Lowe’s robots will also video-conference with in-store experts, show loss leaders, have 3-D scanners and they speak English and Spanish. The company will add other languages.

Ostensibly, McDonald’s is planning big changes to combat mandated higher minimum wages, which will destroy countless jobs.

The fast-food chain will use machines to take customer orders to replace workers. This, of course, has implications for the economy – it will make inequality worse.

Now, we can talk to our computers. Computers are able to generate ideas. This means the McDonald’s approach to using machines will spread. Creative people – from architects to engineers – will be out of work.

Assuming they have the resources to pay for it, affected people will need help in the form of goods and services in order to cope with the effects of artificial intelligence on their careers and lives.

5. Digital Natives mean more disruption

Whether you’re concerned about your sales or relationships with workers, it’s time to plan for so-called Digital Natives. They’re workers and consumers who were born in 1998 or later.

That’s right. For years, we’ve been hearing about Generations X and Y and Millennials. But now you must address the issues related to dealing with yet another generation. There are major cultural differences.

The National Association of Scholars released a study comparing differences between today’s college students and the high school grads of the 1950s.

The study’s findings:

When given a test covering four areas of general knowledge, American college seniors score at about the same overall level as did high school graduates of fifty years ago. Today’s seniors do better on questions pertaining to literature, music, and science; about the same on questions about geography, and worse on questions dealing with history. Their personal interest in high culture, measured by questions about their favorite authors and classical music also seems little different than that of the public at large fifty years ago. By almost every measure of cultural knowledge in our survey, today’s college seniors appear to rank far below the college graduates of mid-century.

This has unfortunate implications for the long-term view of the U.S. Relatively few young people understand the need for economic and patriotic freedoms. They have little knowledge of history and America’s role since 1776. Instead, many have a misguided sense of entitlement.

When Digital Natives enter the workforce, it will be surreal for employers and marketers. The newest generation will make their presence known. Changes in technology will accelerate faster. To older folks, the changes will be synonymous to disorganization and chaos.

Don’t underestimate the power and speed of technological advances. If you stay current, you’ll be alright.

The bottom-line

Change is coming at light speed and more rapidly than ever before. Fasten your seatbelt and hold on to succeed.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related tips on marketing and trust:

As Trustworthy Leaders, Great Bosses Have 5 Traits — Trust, or lack of it, is an obstacle to leadership. It’s a mega issue in America. It’s reached crisis proportions. Published polls show Americans distrust their political leaders, journalists and CEOs. So it’s obvious there are countless missed opportunities in politics, the news media and business. A Stanford professor provides solutions.

Trust Gap between Managers and Workers — How to Drive Engagement — While it’s true there are companies that are aware that good morale among employees propels profits, many businesses are missing opportunities for growth. It’s not because of marketing. It has to do with internal issues. Why? There’s still a wide gap between what managers and workers think about trust.

Listening Skills to Improve Your Relationships and Business Performance — What counts in communication? Listening skills for discernment and trust. Discerning people are the most successful and listening skills are important for discernment. That goes for athletes and management, alike.

Big Data, Though a Trite Term, Helps in 6 Types of Analytics — To understand, forecast, and improve business performance, you need to know how to use data in analytics. Based on the most-popular Biz Coach articles since 2009 and the myriad of issues that cause CEOs to sleep at night, it’s worth noting top-performing companies have six significant ways to make use of big data in analytics.

“Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.”

-David Packard


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.