What Experts Taught Me About the Future

Home/Growth Ideas, Ideas that Matter, Strategy/What Experts Taught Me About the Future

What Experts Taught Me About the Future

The Idea: Recently, I was shocked to discover that over one third of the growth in last month’s S&P 500 was driven by four disruptive catalysts: Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. These four have transformed how we shop, build brands, and live our lives. They have unleashed extreme personalization yet have encouraged a transactional mindset for most consumers.
We have recently hit a tipping point where most sales engagements are transactional, not personal. I am concerned that we are too shortsighted and have lost the soul of our best business relationship-building skills.

My research shows three growth barriers most sales organizations suffer from:

o They overestimate THEMSELVES, their products and their overall consumer value.
o They underestimate their COMPETITOR’S value including their intangible “hidden” assets.
o And they overestimate their RELATIONSHIPS with the customer and HOW THEY SHOW UP!

And B-to-B buyers are also struggling with their own relationship growth barriers. Our research shows that buyers are not fully appreciating how increased costs are negatively affecting the seller’s profitability; how limited “face to face” hinders trust and productivity; and that their buying staffs are not offering enough creative ideas that serve both parties.
How do we close this gap and become one, unlocking growth together? I uncovered four ideas from this year’s Drug Store News Industry Issues Summit.

The New Consumer

It’s not just about demographic changes — it is a cultural shift and a change in the consumer mindset.
Today’s consumer is driven by digital acceleration and the need for experiences and speed. The catalysts for some of these new trends are birthed out of urban trends and craft and prestige brands. What is the future of creating a deeper, trusting relationship with today’s new consumer?

Hire people who are used to serving others. Trust is the ultimate currency and companies need sales specialists who protect trust with the customer and their own firm at all costs.

Brand Story

People, planet, and purpose are increasingly important to today’s consumer. It’s not negotiable anymore. Today’s best brands are not just well-marketed products — they have soul and they tell a story. What is the future of telling a brand’s story? It is creating local stories.

Demographic brand segmentations are out. Psychographics (marketing to behaviors & lifestyles) are in. Does local authenticity mean losing corporate authority? No, we must maintain control of the vision but also give authority to local leaders. Let front line leaders drive the brand.

Becoming One

More than ever, health and beauty are becoming one. In skin care, oral health, gut health and elsewhere, products are positioning themselves as beauty products. Brands must learn to broaden and do more for the consumer. They must appeal to a broader set of needs and aspirations. Does your brand offer the complete biosphere for consumer needs?

The best organizations plan for brand obsolescence. This includes proactively exiting brands much quicker in the product Lifecyle. Rationalizing your product assortments is still an underappreciated effectiveness strategy.

Innovation Culture

Retail stores are not dead; boring retail is dead. Brands aren’t safe unless they have a holistic, emotional, and frictionless relationship with the consumer. Leaders must be able to mobilize their organizations and honestly confront the facts. So what innovation traits matter in this new world?

The very best practice a “start-up” mindset, which includes embracing curiosity, challenging norms, unlearning old habits, and creating a self-aware culture. They positively influence others.

Who in your organization is fully dedicated to uncovering emerging trends and potential new innovations that your company can commercialize? Multiple, slightly differentiated sub-brands are not innovation – they’re signs of confusion. All introductions must be brand-incremental, truly filling an unmet need.

Are you set up for the future?

About the Author: