Observe. Get out from behind your laptops and observe the real world and how it is impacting your business. Look for opportunities at the granular level. Train everyone in your organization what this means to your specific business. Last Thursday, in a client meeting with their marketing team, I pointed to a shelf display and noted an empty space on the shelf and what it meant. After the chuckle that someone stole the item, the marketing director said it was a missed opportunity. She was half right. It would be a missed opportunity if the team did nothing to fill the hole, but until they did it was a golden opportunity. That opened up a lot of exciting discussion.
Anticipate. You observe and now you must anticipate what the marketplace will do. You already know the drill about changing marketing dynamics. Play the "what if" game and anticipate how the changes will impact your business.
Prepare. Now that you have anticipated, prepare and do something that will impact your brand. Now is not the time to wait until 2011. You might fall further behind and never catch up. Remember, change is constant but the rate of change continues to accelerate.
Understand the consequences. Some are unintended. Others are self-inflicted, and others are caused by lack of observation, anticipation, and preparation. The failures that brands experience are mostly due to not understanding the consequences of the actions or lack of actions by the brand.
By Bart Foreman, Group 3 Marketing www.group3marketing.com