Trying to predict the marketing future is all well and good but as The Works creative partner and founder Kevin Macmillan argues, trying to find answers shouldn’t come at the expense of trying and even failing.
I love what's happening to our industry. It's getting pulled apart and interrogated like never before.
I love that turgid marketing conventions are being challenged right across the board. I've always challenged marketing conventions because I believe we have created a self-serving industry focused on waffle rather than productivity and an entrepreneurial spirit.
But it's not big thinking, common sense people behind the changing industry. It's the companies who don't have time to muck about pontificating… banking, booze, fashion, it doesn't matter what field you're in, you cannot afford to be falling behind a million kids on laptops and mobiles doing stuff you don't understand.
Everyone is scrambling to make sense of a world making less sense every minute. As a creative thinker, it's a comfortable place to be. The uncertainty, the risk, the potential, all the things that make me exhilarated when I come to work. The thought of all the possibilities.
But I can see for many marketers it's a tricky time right now. How do you make sense of the speed of light changes in technology and consumer behaviour.
Many turn to the consultants and agencies hovering around with their paying in books and preying on nervous marketers.
Marketer: “Holy moly, what will it all look like in five years time?” Bullshit artist: “Don't worry, I will pluck a few facts from the interweb, make a groovy infographic and pop over to soothe all your aches and pains.”
The top three meeting agendas in marketing right now:
1.How can our company engage with the changing face of technology.
2.How can our company take advantage our consumers changing behaviour.
3.How can our company predict the future to ensure we enjoy the same financial success.
Meetings have never been my favourite thing. Talking about stuff. Pissing in each others pockets about how good we all are and how we will change the world.
Here's an idea; stop attending meetings talking about what you could do. Your aches and pains are not caused by a failure to understand the way technology and consumer behaviour is changing our industry. Your aches and pains are as a result of thinking everything has to make sense.
Does it? Why does everything have to make sense? Is it absolutely vital that everything lines up flawlessly? Let's be honest, you did that last time and by the time you got everything to line up and make sense, someone beat you to market.
Stop worrying about what is going to happen and do something today. Something that is real, physical, tangible. It might be a mistake that you make, but at least you've made something. Tomorrow you can build on that or start making something else. You might make another mistake, but that's two things you've made. Two more than your competitor.
Accept that we don't have all the answers. See the uncertainty and the unknown through a half full glass. Make something brilliant happen now.
I guarantee you'll love it.
Kevin Macmillan is creative partner and founder of The Works