In this episode of What’s Your Edge we captured the highlights from our 20th anniversary conversations with customers from around the world and from all five of the industries we serve holding C-level and VP positions. We held a series of 20-minute virtual gatherings where we addressed two topics. As they looked back 20 years what did they see were the major changes and shifts in business? And as they look to the future what do they see will be their priorities and challenges. As you can image key shifts ranged around the topics of how customers are engaged, the channels of engagement, the role and volume of data, and the importance of selecting the right metrics. In looking forward, the conversation turned to the need to focus on growth and how Marketing must step up and serve as a more strategic partner. Listen in to hear what their perspective.

How to Predict a Future That Delivers on Growth

What Your Peers Think the Future HOld
A conversation with members of the C-Suite looking back and looking forward.

We didn’t have time in the conversations to talk about how to address growth and prepare for the future. Predicting the future is always a gamble. There is however an interesting area known as flash foresight that provides an approach to help your organization successfully navigate the future and potentially even create it. Daniel Burrus, author of Flash Foresight: How to See the Invisible and Do the Impossible, says it “is about looking into the future and transforming it into a new paradigm for solving “impossible” problems, unearthing “invisible” opportunities, and running extraordinarily successful businesses”. Here are 3 steps you can take now to leverage this approach and identify growth opportunities.

  1. Start with the hard trends that are shaping our future. You might be able to identify a hard trend by answering the question “What are the problems our customers are facing in the next few weeks, months, years?” A customer advisory board and voice of customer research may help reveal the answer to this type of question.
  2. Use these hard trends to anticipate your future challenges and opportunities. Then apply your learnings to redefine your product or service and/or enter new markets. Ask this type of question, “Using these hard trends, how do we expect our industry or business to transform in the next few years?” You may need to conduct market research to acquire the insights you need to answer this question.
  3. Look beyond what seems like a current problem. Take the problem your company is facing and look at it from different angles to reveal what may be the real problem. This may require you to look differently at your data and explores the patterns that emerge.

The purpose of this approach is to help you “look where no one else is looking to see what no one else is seeing and do what no one else is doing.” While it’s impossible to predict the future with certainty, good market and customer research, a commitment to deliver solutions to that solve real business problems, and the willingness to invest in Marketing will go a long way toward enabling the future you want to create.

Use your insights to develop a strategy to outpace and outsmart the competition. To create the future, be willing to redefine and reinvent your business.

Read more: Improve Your Ability to Anticipate the Pitch- What’s Your Edge?