The Future of Business Marketing

July 15, 2020 at The Business Marketing Club (online, 1630 UK time)

Thanks to a small bit of contagious RNA we are all now unwilling participants in a seismic experiment that is shaking the foundations of society, technology, economics, healthcare and more. Dan Pink wonders if it’s a message from the future. Klaus Schwab calls it the bonfire of blinkered capitalism. Satya Nadella describes it as a shift “from hierarchies to wirearchies”.

As we move from survival to adjustment, from chaos to catalyst, the next normal (or abnormal) is being shaped right now. The next generation of businesses are being forged. The leaders of the future are stepping up. Great leaders are made in a crisis, and innovation thrives in tough times. How will you seize this moment to do more, to be more, to create a better future?

It’s a watershed moment. As the virus followed the flows of money, goods and people around the world, the networks that facilitate our modern lifestyles facilitated the pandemic. 183 countries have reported Covid-19 cases, 3 billion people across the world have been under some form of lockdown, with a $2.7 trillion projected economic loss (according to Bloomberg).

Right now, we are seeing a huge unmasking of our current systems – the fragility of business and society, the consequences of urbanisation and globalisation, our dependence on technology and healthcare. Activities in which consumers are likely to change behaviour most are in travel, shopping, and socialising. And to some extent in work, education and health.

We are faced with a choice to re-build the world as it was, or to realise the possibilities before us. To build stronger economies and more inclusive societies, to harness the power of our resilience and ingenuity to shape a better world of our choosing. We each have a role and a stake in solving humanity’s most pressing challenges, and also seizing its opportunities.

I believe we will see a rising social conscience in business, more future-proofed portfolio- based strategies, an acceleration to digital, a humanising of technology, a shift to dematerialisation, more agile ecosystems of global and local supply and demand, a more flexible workstyle, fast projects replacing traditional jobs, a more liquid learning style … and better leaders who look forwards not back.

Crisis as catalyst for innovation … in economic cycles, every financial downturn is matched by an innovation upturn. In fact 57% of the current Fortune 500 were founded in a downturn. Right now, the next generation if businesses are being shaped. And below today’s business turmoil, a tremendous digital revolution is taking shape.

Megatrends are accelerating … the shift in power from west to east (Asia continues to grow), the dependent needs of ageing generations (care, infrastructure), the huge concentration of people in megacities (healthcare), the fragility of our environment and natural resources (less is more), and the rise of intelligent, connected technologies (AI).

Driving human and tech ingenuity … pandemic has seen rapid adoption of new technologies, and the “digital me” (belonging and connected) – in distributed working (remote and hybrid), intelligent healthcare (online and data-driven), digital retail (cashless and automated), personal mobility (electric and local) education (hybrid and collaborative).

Creating a better future business… now is the time for leaders to step up, to find a better future, not just recover the old world – more enlightened (purpose beyond profit, human before technology), more agile (networks not hierarchies, fast and liquid), more resilient (innovation not efficiency, future-proofed portfolio).

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