Making plans in a restless economy

20 May

“Perhaps the markets are speeding up Edwin, but there will always be one way to make sure that you are ahead in the future: if you make that future yourself”. A philosophical remark, made during a roundtable session I conducted at a marketing conference in Barcelona recently about the move from market insights to marketing strategy. The focus of the session was on planning in a changing market: is planning still valuable in a world that changes faster by the day?

Is planning still possible?
According to the people that attended the session, planning is still possible. Even though there are a lot of changes in markets on a ‘micro level’, the developments on the ‘macro’ level are still growing, like all the demographic changes around the world. Some attendees remarked that it all depends on the sector of course: in sectors like stock markets, the changes come by the minute. But even though the ‘macro’ predictibility is still valid, the people around the table added that some developments become less predictable. Some mentioned that the economy is becoming less predictable, while others remarked that the behaviour of competitors is becoming more volatile.  The predictability of the internet developments differs: online platforms come and go, but the transparency trend laying behind it steaming ahead.

How should you plan?
When asked how one should plan in an unpredictable market, the attendees remarked that it all depends on the Key Performance Indicators that you choose to have a central role in your plan, they should guide you along the way. Some of the attendees remarked that you shouldn’t put all the eggs in one basket: prepare for different scenario’s and have substitues near, e.g. in the case of commodities that run out of supply. For some in the round table group, contacts with government are important to become aware of new laws that are being written, and that can rip your market to pieces.
Most attendees remark that they can adapt the execution of their plans to the changing world by letting top management decide on the big matters, and lower management on the small. But in the end, making the future yourself seems to be the most solid strategy 


Posted by on 20/05/2013 in Marketing Intelligence


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2 responses to “Making plans in a restless economy

  1. Paul Haarman

    21/05/2013 at 20:53

    My opinion is that predictability of markets is just as complicated as it ever was. If we would travel back in time we cannot but acknowledge the difficulty of predicting the changes the internet would bring about in let’s say 1998. The same goes for estimating the impact of the 9/11 disaster on our markets or planning in a high inflationary world in the 1970’s when OPEC showed its muscles. Every generation tends to believe that they are experiencing more challenges and a higher level of uncertainties than the preceding generation. But if we look back in time we cannot but respect our predecessors for coping with all these challenges that have brought us right here where we are now: in times just as uncertain as they ever were. There is only one thing that may help us plan ahead: the lessons of history.


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