How to predict the future of marketing

They say ignoring history dooms us to repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

Recent events suggest many folks just aren’t paying attention, but they’ve given marketers the chance to bolster customer affinity by simply aligning with the right things.

Here are a few examples (tourism, political, product) to illustrate how you can develop a forward-looking marketing and product launch strategy that is guaranteed to succeed.

There’s a LOT packed into this post. I promise it all comes together at the end.

Remember when women couldn’t vote?

Can you imagine being on the wrong side of that argument?

Or the Civil War?

And most recently, there’s a lotta anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation.

(Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual BTW…I had to look it up, too.)

Arkansas’s the most recent to pass anti-Trans legislation. North Carolina did it a couple years ago and has slowly and very quietly backpedaled much of it. Why? Because it was totally out of touch with what the populace wanted, and businesses quickly found ways to work around it.

And let’s not forget Georgia’s very recent (anti) voting law that isn’t even trying to hide its discriminatory, racist undertones.

WTF are they thinking?

I have a theory.

In every instance mentioned above, these head-scratching decisions were made by a few people in power not wanting to give up power.

They ignored the will of the people (and history) to create laws that are out of touch with the modern world and serve only to maintain the status quo. The world is changing, and they’re afraid of what those changes mean for them.

Suffrage won. Slavery Lost. Gay marriage isn’t going away. Trans folks aren’t gonna just stop being trans.

Can you imagine if your brand acted the same way, trying to market something that no longer fits with people’s lifestyles? VCR, anyone?

Location, location, location…right?

When the NCAA pulled out of NC, and MLB and Hollywood are pulling out of Georgia, those businesses are marketing on the correct side of humanity, and history. (If you disagree with me, the unsubscribe button is at the bottom)

When your business decides where to hold events, you send a message about your values.

Outdoor brands love Utah, but struggled with that state’s decision to open up Bear’s Ears National Monument to drilling and logging. Brands and events that stayed caught flak. If an event the size of Outdoor Retailer can move to a new state, anyone can.

Being right, early, is a HIGH note

When Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use, they saw a massive influx of people. Tax revenue skyrocketed, giving them a surplus of funds for things like education. Property values tripled or more. Major companies moved there.

Weed will eventually be legal everywhere. Colorado saw it early, capitalized on it, and benefitted mightily.

As more states legalize it, the draw to move to Colorado will wane, and the last to legalize will be a footnote. The same thing happens when copycats encroach on your market share. First to market is a short-term advantage, but worth it.

What about an actual “product”?

Colorado’s “product” was the ability to get the munchies without getting arrested.

Communities creating infrastructure for arts and outdoor activities to attract tourists, young workers and new families are another perfect example. Bentonville (AR), Ajo (AZ), and Tucumcari (NM), are good examples of creating a “quality of life” product.

“Artists Welcome” is much more appealing and marketable than “Voting Made Difficult for Marginalized Communities.”

No, I mean a physical “product”

Remember when some resorts banned snowboards because they didn’t fit the image? The resorts that made halfpipes and ramps got all of that business, and brands like Burton exploded.

When 29er mountain bikes debuted, people laughed, but they were clearly superior. Still, brands dragged their feet, giving upstarts like Niner (who committed 100% to the 29″ wheel size) a chance to thrive.

Same thing’s happening with e-bikes right now. Hater’s gonna hate, but these things aren’t going away. Startups like RAD Power are now rivaling or beating legacy brands in unit sales. Parks and trails that allowed eMTBs saw more tourism.

Same for cars. Heard of Tesla? I’ll tell you right now, I can’t imagine buying a new gas-powered car.

When something is both awesome and very clearly the way forward, people will throw money at you to get it.

The Big Picture Takeaway

Get in on the right things early to reap the benefit.

If you’re saying “duh” right now, good.

Knowing what’s right is (usually) simple. What does your gut tell you? What does history tell you? Pick an issue, look at the true motivations behind the naysayers, and you can probably guess where society will end up.

As history has shown us, the corporate or political “powers that be” are not the best indicators of the will of the people. Champions of the status quo are tomorrow’s losers.

Create the products, services, and features that align with what people really want – equality, fairness, acceptance, sustainability, opportunity, self-improvement.

Already offering them? Make sure you’re communicating how they align with the future that we, the people, want.

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