OPINION: MARKETING SOCIETY - Are we about to hit an unknown change barrier?

We have just lived through a decade that has seen more technical

change - and more change of any kind - than any previous two decades

added together.



For most of us, it is a mega-problem just to keep up, not only with the

number of innovations, but also with the sheer speed of their

development.



One quick look back over our shoulder reminds us that in 1990/91 the

internet was nowhere, the home establishment of personal computers was

extremely low, about a quarter of the company names on today's FTSE 100

list did not yet exist, we still watched rugby internationals on

terrestrial TV, and mobile phones were in their infancy. The future was

not yet Orange.



So much has changed in so short a time. But we ain't seen nothing yet.

For years, the aircraft designers strove to reach the speed of sound

but, once through the sound barrier, they were off and Saturn V touched

MACH 32 before it burned out.



If MACH 1 is the speed of sound, how can we define the present speed of

technochange? TECH 1 perhaps? If so, we can look forward within another

decade to change rates of TECH 10 or more, because the pace accelerates

exponentially. Surely it can only be a matter of time before we come to

the limit of our capacity to take it all in, and blow some massive

collective fuse?



If it is a full-time job trying to keep up, how on earth can anyone

actually get a jump ahead? Who can say what will be the state of

industry by 2010?



Will all brands be 'own label', with manufacturing run by a handful of

global multiple retailers? Will the information technologists make all

the marketing decisions, leaving marketers to atrophy and disappear -

the dinosaurs of the late 20th century? Will information have become the

world's biggest industrial sector? Will computers be on free issue, on

the old Gillette principle that 'if they don't have the razors, they

won't buy the blades'?



As for our consumers, will they have education, career training,

employment, entertainment and shopping, all madly interactive, and all

delivered throughout the house on demand, controlled by the ultimate in

converged home networks? (If no one ever leaves the house, bang goes our

national transport problem.)



Futurology is already taken seriously in a growing number of thoughtful

places. In our own field, The Marketing Society is devoting its entire

annual conference this year to the theme 2001-2010: A Marketing

Odyssey.



It claims it is sending nine top business leaders off in a time capsule

to the year 2010, returning to report to conference on the changes they

have found. Unless, of course, by then the world has learned how to make

haste a little more slowly and digestibly - in which case the time

travellers may decide not to come back. I wonder if they have a spare

seat in that capsule?



- The Marketing Society Annual Conference, 2001-2010: A Marketing

Odyssey, is being held at the Grosvenor House, London on November 21.

For more information e-mail: annual.conference@marketing-society.org.uk



Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message