Who Is Your Customer
Five or Ten Years From Now?
Increase investment ROI by using actionable conclusions about your future customer segments and their emerging needs.
Future Customer Scans are About Changing Preferences
In my family, vinyl is back. The music lovers are buying back the albums they gave away when the CD came around. Spotify is OK when they're mobile, but for real enjoyment, they're turning the tables! Who'd have thought?
It's the same with our kids. They wear brands that we don't want to be caught dead in (granny brands), and we, the parents, have to shake the feeling of being uncool when we applaud their choices.
I bet that you can tell me an example or two of changing preferences as well.
And how about the changing preferences of your customers? Do you know who your future customers are and what they need?
If I'd Asked What They Wanted, They Would Have Said 'Faster Horses,' said Ford
Current customers are clueless about their future needs. That's a real bummer because now you have to look... uhm, where?
Well, that requires a somewhat complicated answer. Because you'd have to gather information from multiple perspectives and then find emerging patterns in the data.
For instance, information from these forward-looking sources:
Tech and industry futurists like Mike Walsh or Amy Webb
Trend forecasts from TrendWatching and similar
Sci-Fi literature and movies
Innovation labs and think tanks, like MIT media lab
Academic journals, like Futures
Youth and fringe behaviors and habits
And then you'd have to connect the patterns you've found to your industry trends, your current customer profiles, and the upcoming tech innovations that may affect your industry and customers.
For instance, you'd have to factor in ChatGPT and other AI apps, and their effect on customer needs tomorrow.
Here's an example:
I researched for Heijmans to find out who might want to live in a new neighborhood. I looked at future trends like jobs, the types of work available, people moving in and out, and how well everyone gets along.
Instead of just knowing about today's residents, Heijmans can plan the project to fit what people will need in the future. This helps them avoid building for the past generation and generate higher ROI and satisfaction in the future.Read the full review
Everyone Can Play the Piano, But Only a Few Can Make it Sing
Future customer scans are a helluva job if you don't know how to do this. It takes a lot of time, and it's riddled with uncertainties about seeing the right things right.
But, when you succeed, you get these competitive advantages:
Low-Risk Innovation: You'll be early with innovations, giving you time to test and adapt before launching full-scale.
Ahead of the Rest: You'll be better prepared for shifts in demand and changes in consumer behavior while your competitors are wondering what's happening to their diminishing revenue.
Higher ROI: Your tested innovations are more likely to succeed in the market and have a longer lifetime.
Steady Performance: Your marketing will resonate more deeply with your new audience, avoiding dips in your engagement rates when generations of customers shift.
Key Future Customer Scan Components
- Age and Generational Trends: Understanding how different generations are evolving in terms of their purchasing power, values, and consumption patterns.
- Ethnic and Cultural Diversity: Examining how increasing diversity in populations affects consumer preferences.
- Urbanization and Geographic Mobility: Studying the impact of urbanization, migration trends, and regional variations on customer profiles.
- Digital Transformation: Assessing the impact of emerging technologies on how customers interact with businesses and make purchasing decisions.
- E-commerce and Omni-channel Retailing: Analyzing the growing prominence of online shopping and its influence on consumer expectations for convenience, personalization, and seamless experiences.
- Privacy and Data Concerns: Considering how increasing awareness of data privacy and security issues may shape customer preferences and attitudes.
Socioeconomic and Environmental Factors
- Economic Trends: Investigating economic indicators and how these factors impact consumer spending habits and brand loyalty.
- Sustainability and Environmental Awareness: Examining the rise in environmental consciousness and its influence on consumer choices.
- Health and Wellness: Understanding how health and wellness trends affect consumer behavior.
Hear it From the Expert
I am one of the few futurists worldwide who has earned a Ph.D. on managerial blind spots and can combine the insight with 20+ years of entrepreneurial experience in the real world.
I know where to look and what to look for.
The research is tailored to your goals and builds on your briefing about your current industry, organization, and customers.
The more insightful the briefing, the better the results.
The research is based on critical analysis: it challenges potential biases, finds alternative outlooks, and knows its limitations.
You'll get annotated findings: explaining what the findings mean for your strategy and innovation.
A comprehensive, easy-to-read report of findings with strategic implications
A complete reference list so you can dive into source materials if you want
Clear visual aids such as graphs, tables, and charts to illustrate findings
Will It Work For Me?
Will It Break the Bank?
What data sources and methodologies do you use for research?
How long does a typical future customer research project take?
How do you ensure the privacy and confidentiality of collected data?
How do I get started with your future customer research service?
Can you provide references or case studies of past projects?
Can I request research focused on specific demographics or regions?
Knowing the Future? No.
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