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Forecasting the future?

The weather has been doing all sorts of crazy things of late. First we had an unseasonably mild November, which was quickly followed by torrential flooding in some parts of the UK in December and then thick blankets of snow in January. As well as the usual observations we all like to make on the weather (the English, in particular, are renowned for this), we were also quick to point the finger when the forecasts of so-called weather experts were off the mark.

That’s the thing with predicting the future though. Yes it can be based on current known trends and likely influences, but no one really knows what’s going to happen, for definite, in either the short or long term.

This month’s cover story, which examines the potential marketing department of 2020, is a case in point. We’ve done our best, of course, to highlight key marketing trends that are likely to see significant development and change in the near future, and most of these are based on the way things are already evolving. They’re educated guesses and therefore some of them will already be on the radar of forward-thinking marketers. But just as some of the most notable advances in technology have demonstrated in recent years (social media, smartphones, digital comms etc), no one’s really in a position to postulate exactly how things will pan out.

Just like the weather, unknown factors within the future B2B marketing landscape will present challenges. But they will also boast opportunities for those marketers keeping a beady eye on what’s going on outside their own office walls and windows. Our cover story aims to flag up some of these potential factors and help B2B marketers prepare for what may lay ahead.

But we don’t have a crystal ball, so who knows what the future of marketing will really look like?

So should this make us quick to moan when things turn out unexpected and blow our best-laid plans to pot?

Of course not. Like any savvy city-folk, who carries both sunglasses and a brolly in their bag, B2B marketers just need to ensure they’re open (and prepared as best they can be) for any eventuality.