How to anticipate in a fast-changing world

Spring and Easter are both about new beginnings and looking ahead, so it’s a perfect time to consider one of the trickier activities in the marketing process: how to Anticipate your customers’ needs and why this can be useful for you and your business growth.  It is probably useful for you to know that when I studied for my Diploma/Degree in Marketing, one third of the content was under the discipline “Planning and Control”, which teaches you ways to manage uncertainty and not become overwhelmed with too many activities.

One of my followers asked me to address the familiar question of how to fit everything in, and to provide him with a checklist of marketing activities.  I’m afraid that it’s not that simple.  His query goes to the heart of Planning and Control, which means that it’s time to review your marketing strategy and your marketing plan, which written or not, will contain your goal, where you want to get to. Most things are uncertain, but a few things can be relied upon.  For example, December 25th will be Christmas Day!  Last year I noticed that 2018 had an Autism Awareness week scheduled in the Spring.  I considered that this would provide a good opportunity for one of my clients, Assembly Hall Theatre, to promote their autism-friendly, relaxed performances again, so I proactively approached my client and suggested that I should prepare a re-issue of a blogpost about relaxed performances.  They liked the idea, so I was able to refresh and update the piece to have it ready for the start of Autism Awareness week on March 26th 2018.  On behalf of AHT, I was able to take advantage of the relevant hashtags on twitter to promote their autism-friendly facility.  I was ready, thanks to some foresight and forward planning.

The ability to look ahead and adapt to the changing external environment is key to a successful marketing strategy.  Nothing is set in stone and it’s important to be nimble to respond to opportunities and threats as they arise spontaneously.  This doesn’t mean make it up as you go along, as might be inferred from Mintzberg’s emergent strategy theory.  Quite the opposite, the need for flexibility and adaptability means that it’s even more important to have a clear plan in place with a goal towards which you can work consistently.  If you have a clear goal in mind, you can assess each new opportunity.

In the words of author/marketing guru Seth Godin, “Change is not a threat, it’s an opportunity.”  According to how well they’re likely to move you closer to your objective, you can prioritise your activities accordingly. My advice to my follower who requested a checklist of marketing activities and must-do’s is to revisit his marketing plan.  I will make a template for creating a marketing plan available in the resource centre on my website soon for you to follow and complete for your own business.

You can use foresight to open up opportunities for your business and avoid threats.

If you would like to discuss the potential opportunities and threats which face your business, please contact me: [email protected]