Nostradamus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nostradamus). The Bible Codes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_code). Paul is dead (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_is_dead).
Symbols. Predictions. Signs. Ciphers. Secret messages…
Is prediction all prophecy? Is foresight really divination? That is, do you need powers beyond the ken of mere mortals to understand where we are headed or what we might do?
Or does insight and forecast and…here’s the business pitch…you guessed it! Data and analytics lead to predictions that might not get you 500+ plus years of publishing contracts like Nostradamus but will get you more business for your clients. And, (you guess it) lead to more business for us!
It seems to me that our job is not just to predict. That is fairly simple to do. And it’s lowon accountability–look at Nostradamus.
Predicting has too many variables: the weather was bad; the economy fell; the dog ate my homework. You can add as many as you like…
Our job is to help people along the acquisition/buying continuum; to give them tools that make their life easier and expose them to enough reasons and alternatives so that prediction is not necessary but rather good product/service management.
The best advertising of times past (and yes, we all know the media waste issues) was about creating reasons to buy. And some of it was wildly successful. Check out Hula Hoops (http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/hulahoop.htm) or the Bic Flick (http://www.enotes.com/marketing-campaign/bic-corporation#flick-your-bic-wins-dubious-battle) to see some of the best used paid mass media and word of mouth. Think social networks. Think about how California, where the Hula craze began, was a long way and an expensive telephone call away from New York. Think about that and how it contrasts with the power you have today…
And add your own examples, as there is lots to learn from them.
The good news (in fact, the great news) is we are no longer limited to only mass media or the vagaries of word of mouth.
We can still drive demand through good communication, emotional/rational appeal and exciting creative. In fact, we don’t spend enough time thinking about this…
And we can use PR and other techniques to drive great product news through word of mouth.
The exciting factor are the tools that help share, build and expand social networks and create true CRM – Customers Really Manage – campaigns.
Take the Hula Hoop case and think about how you would build it today. Look at the initial take up and tell me if any “new” product had as quick a build in the last few years with all of our technology…and what do you learn from that?
So here is a thought to help this along
The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
– Alan Kay
The Hula Hoop guys didn’t rely on prophecy, they created their own future.
I’d argue that is what our business is really about…