How can we go any faster?

We have accepted the idea that 2022 is going to bring a sea change for us as business leaders. Out of every crisis in history, moments of great reinvention and change are born. It’s pretty easy to argue that a global crisis like the pandemic is bound to bring sizable shifts for all of us.

Over the next several weeks, we’re going to examine some of the overarching themes of the emerging patterns and think through how we can anticipate and leverage these trends to our advantage as we work to continue to serve our clients and employees, grow our businesses, and set the stage for future opportunities.

The six shifts are:

  • No time to wait.
  • Simplification.
  • Creating the blend.
  • The inevitable cycle.
  • Hunger for experience and connection.
  • It’s all about me.

The first of these shifts is no time to wait. This trend is all about pent-up demand, a feeling that we’re behind the eight ball, and a hunger for relief and change. It’s also about us needing the sense of completion.

We have, in essence, been waiting for 20-plus months. Waiting to have experiences, to travel, to have our freedoms back, and to advance and grow. We’ve been told to “be patient” with everyone from the grocery delivery service to access to health care to fulfilling any sort of personal or professional goals.

No wonder we’re so impatient! We have to anticipate that our clients expect us to rise to their level of impatience and to be committed to helping them get what they want as quickly as possible, without delays or complications.

One of the most interesting aspects of this shift is that it forces us to really look at our customers and ask, “What are they really trying to achieve?”

This is going to push us to think beyond features and benefits to get to an ultimate outcome. Once we determine what that ultimate outcome is, our job as marketers is to perfect that element of our offering and put the spotlight on it in our marketing. For those of you with a background in psychology, this is your moment to shine. Marketing has always been about understanding underlying needs and wants, but we can no longer afford to stop at a surface level. The fascinating and tricky thing is that our customers may not really understand what their actual ultimate goal is either.

But the one thing they absolutely know is that they don’t want to meander to the finish line. They want (and expect) us to help them get there faster and as efficiently as possible. We’re now going to be held not only to the deliverable, but to the speed at which we can deliver it.

What does that look like?

It may be about using technology to drive results and outcomes faster. If you have been avoiding learning about artificial intelligence, I believe your time for keeping your head in the sand is over. Leveraging AI for predictive modeling to anticipate the right course, data about the journey and proof of outcomes has moved from a talk topic to a very practical business application.

This trend is also about removing barriers to accelerate outcomes or experiences. Our clients expect us to help them get to whatever they’ve defined as the goal line faster. Lag times in our sales process, product delivery and customer service responses will be met with literal and figurative abandoned carts.

But ultimately, what it looks like is a lot of product and service tweaking both in what we offer and how we deliver it. It’s about understanding the root need, modifying our offerings to deliver that need at a deeper level, and then getting it done even faster!


This was originally published in the Des Moines Business Record, as one of Drew’s weekly columns.