Thinking 10y to meet the future

Rich Conway
By Rich Conway | 27 May 2020

Rich Conway is a group client partner with iProspect.

2020 has been a challenging year for most. A year once predicted to see flying cars, but we’re barely flying planes. Why would we start thinking about 2030?

Because we must improve business longevity.

In ‘The 10x Rule’, author Grant Cordone encourages brands to set goals that are 10x harder. Let’s also set goals that are 10x longer. 10y thinking.

The new timescale has become pre and post Covid-19. The ‘new normal’ is to focus on the short term. In reality, the problem of short termism has been creeping up on us for a while. There’s immense pressure to achieve quarterly targets, generate value to shareholders, and get ahead in your career. How can we expect to think ten years ahead when the average tenure for marketing leaders is under two and a half years?

Since Covid-19, the urgent priority for many businesses has been to bunker down and make it through. We’ve seen rapid evolution to manage cost base, pivot perspectives, whilst retaining core functionality. At the same time, we’re no longer testing the latest beta or planning for the collapse of the cookie - digital transformation for major brands is, for the moment, on ice.

It’s exceptionally hard to see out the other side and think 10 years ahead, however, there’s probably something more you can do today. This isn’t about maintaining your advertising spend, but where you invest your time and focus as a business. The bigger picture.

#1 Review Purposefully
Review your objectives, your purpose, your plan.

The next decade sees Facebook move into connectivity, AI and AR. Decision making is based on what will enable them to serve their community best and unlock the most innovation towards accomplishing this master plan. They’re leaders during this time, and they’re not just thinking big, they’re thinking long.

Always know where you are, what you stand for and what you’re working towards. Refocus.

#2 Embrace Agility
In moments of uncertainty and instability, it’s essential to solve problems and do it fast.

A vital tool to ensure you’re moving fast in the right direction is data, so you can make informed choices. Don’t forget to test. Pick a data set that’s in your control, hypothesise, prioritise, test and iterate. Trello outlines an effective method of prioritising what to test, the ICE framework.

Like many, RedBalloon encountered significant challenges throughout the bushfires and pandemic. In response, they’ve conducted strategic testing across several aspects of their business, from their marketing mix through to their core products. They’re now trialling virtual experiences, like a Virtual Cellar Door Tour, which may become a long-term offering.

#3 Enhance Technology
Once you’ve considered what’s in your control, use technology to increase and enhance your influence.

Technology has many purposes, but ultimately, it's an enabler. Tech can enable you to improve your measurement, data governance, audience strategies, innovation and ultimately get closer to your customers.

The automotive industry has always been known for innovating through design, and now they’re rapidly innovating their digital strategy.

An automotive brand of DAN Australia utilised the Google Marketing Platform to deep dive into their customers’ journey and made surprising discoveries. These insights redefined their KPIs, which are now shaped by factors that they now know with certainty are highly influential in driving offline purchase. They can now predict with 90% accuracy a person’s likelihood of buying a car, which comes in handy identifying where to trim the fat of their advertising investment.

#4 Build Capability
Your capability is powered by processes and people, and is what will ensure that your technology platforms don’t sit on the shelf.

Our world, the context in which your business and consumers interact, will change. There are brilliant examples of process transformation right now as businesses adapt to the new normal.

2030 is set to see AI integrated widely. PWC estimates $15.7 trillion in additional revenue generated globally from AI alone. It makes sense to reconsider the processes within your value chain, and where optimisations can be made, particularly from an automation perspective.

No matter how advanced your processes, your people will remain vital. PWC also estimates that by 2030, working hours will be equivalent for robots and people, 50/50. That still leaves 50% to your people. Invest in good people, give them permission to experiment and work towards a united vision.

Ultimately, successful brands are fast, fluid and focused. The new challenge for business is to nurture the fundamentals which have always built brands, while embracing new behaviours that have the potential to super-charge future growth.

The current pandemic doesn’t mean you need to deviate from your long-term objectives. It’s all the more reason to focus on them.

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