Can you predict the future?

An observation from the anthropologist Margaret Mead
Astronaut with lights reflecting in helmet visor

Customer insight is everything in marketing. But don’t base your planning on the way customers are feeling or behaving right now.

We’re still amidst a global pandemic, and many lives have been turned upside down. We’ve all been affected. So current behaviour is no predictor of how we’ll behave in the future.

And it’s no good asking customers about their future intentions either.

Even in the best of times, asking customers to predict how they’ll behave in some future scenario is like asking them to forecast the lottery results.

An observation from the anthropologist Margaret Mead:

What customers do, what they say they’ll do, and what they actually end up doing are almost always completely different things.

As we emerge slowly from lockdown, people are confused and completely incapable of predicting their behaviour today, let alone this time next year.

Research into customer attitudes now won’t help you predict the future.

So beware statements like:

“How well a brand responds to this crisis will have a huge impact on my likelihood to buy that brand in the future”

Think about what this statement is based on…

Just because someone said it today, doesn’t make it any more likely to happen tomorrow.

DON’T plan your marketing strategy around it.