What does 2020 or 2021 look and act like? What will be the dominant consumer behaviors that (again) will force change? How far along are we in the use of AI to drive critical decisions? What is normal? Scenario planning is essential to creating a sound view of the future, ensuring that you neither overreact nor underreact to market dynamics or inadvertently waste financial and management resources.
We have already seen the impact of the power shift to the customer and the constant change in customer preferences and norms. It has already created winners and losers — and we are not done by any stretch. Customers consistently adopt new digital tools that spur new behaviors that compel more experimentation. To win — or just to survive — you will need to see and anticipate customers far beyond standard segmentation and personas.
The pace of technology innovation is old news — its impact on customer engagement, customer experience, and operations is a bold, new horizon. The question is what will be table stakes and what are angles of differentiation as AI creates new customer experiences, as IoT devices are deployed into customers’ lives, and as AR/VR creates new realities.
Industry lines mostly made competition a predictable sport. Future markets promise to make today seem quaint. Nontraditional digital natives are getting legs underneath them, large commerce platforms loom on the horizon, and mergers have already begun to paint a very different picture for tomorrow. Buy, build fast, partner well, or position for sale. You need to be able to see around the corner and act with conviction in a digital-first, industry-second market.
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