Future Tense: Get Ready for #Marketing2030
A checklist to help you start preparing your career for 2030 and the future beyond.
By Stephen Dupont, APR
The year 2030 is just 12 years away. Can you believe that? I’m still just coming to grips with 2020.
So, are you prepared for whatever the future world of business, marketing and communications will be at that time?
Ready to work side-by-side with robots? It’s not a matter of if anymore, it’s just a matter of when.
What look will you give your avatar as it heads into a virtual reality meeting on Facebook with several co-workers located throughout the (real) world?
How many cryptocurrencies do you think your business will be accepting by then?
These and many other changes are what’s next as the world of work is transformed by technology, globalization and climate change, all of which are accelerating at a ferocious pace. The key to starting to prepare for your career in the year 2030 is to start thinking like a futurist – developing a mindset that visualizes the changes ahead to help you prepare yourself and the organization(s) you represent.
What should you do now to prepare for the future ahead? Here are 24 tips to start acting on now:
1) Read! Reading has never been more important to learn new perspectives, study the past, and understand new systems and technologies. What should you read? Focus on books offering differing views about the future and new technology. Also, read science fiction as well. Click here for a reading list.
2) Invest every day in your career –Invest in your career like investing in a 401-K retirement account. Do just one thing – even if it only takes 15 minutes – every day. But do something. Like compound interest, your efforts will steadily grow over time to achieve the goals you desire. What should you do? Update your LinkedIn profile; read a news article or watch a YouTube video about future technology; or invite a friend out for an informational coffee. If it advances your knowledge and skills, or helps you meet new people who can help you lean forward into your career, then it’s well worth it.
3) Write more; seek to write better – Writing will always remain core to communicating well. The more you work at it, the better you become at not only writing, but thinking, too. Focus your efforts on learning how to write for a wide variety of communications – from audio messages to social media posts to white papers to news articles. The key is that regardless of what you’re writing, you are writing to build understanding and to persuade your reader to take action (or possibly, no action).
4) Start learning new skills – We don’t know exactly how organizations will communicate in 12 years. Will they still use news releases? Will Facebook still be around? Will we still use smart phones? Who knows! Until then, stay current with new technologies that are being used to communicate with key stakeholder audiences. If, for example, one or more of your stakeholder audiences finds value in audio messages, learn how to do a podcast. If Instagram is the social media platform preferred by your customers, learn how to conduct an Instagram campaign. If the sales team is suffering for leads, learn how to build and implement a lead generation program. Just keep learning.
5) Understand big data – Throughout our society, organizations of all types are collecting huge amounts of data, from purchasing data to physical fitness data. Every website you visit on the Internet collects data about you. Knowing this, you need to get smart about how to use data effectively to market and communicate. You need to understand what data matters, how to collect it, and how to crunch raw data into something meaningful. Take classes and seminars in data science and statistics for starters.
6) Practice visualization – What separates a futurist from someone who makes predictions? It’s the ability to visualize a future scenario. Practice this on your own at first; then, invite work colleagues start building their visualization skills. Start with this: Take a problem or opportunity and take 10 to 15 minutes to think about it. Take notes on a piece of paper, or record your thoughts with your smart phone (audio notes). Imagine how this problem or opportunity will have evolved in five years. How will it look? Who will work on it? How it will be solved or improved? Think colors, sounds, words, images. Remember, there’s no right or wrong solution. There are just many possibilities, which you should record and then analyze.
7) Learn how to ask relevant questions – Whether it’s 2018 or 2118, the skill and art of powerful and relevant questions will never go out of style. Practice this skill by interviewing people to gather insight for a branding, marketing or communications project. Search for and study great interviews conducted by broadcast and print journalists. Read books about how to ask questions as part of the sale process. Here are some more tips.
8) Build a solid Internet footprint – Everything you do on the internet today is building toward a searchable history of your life and work. Don’t take this lightly! Take care in posting content, including social media posts, which reflect the personal brand that you desire for yourself. Write and publish articles on Medium, LinkedIn and other social media that position you as an expert. While I believe it’s important to stand up for what you believe in, be cautious about posting controversial content that could be misconstrued by a hiring manager or your future co-workers.
9) Focus on impact – In your LinkedIn profile and on your resume, focus on the impact that you are making on your organization, your community or your profession through your work. Speak in terms of the results you are achieving, your passion for what you do, and the good you are doing. As you are offered future career opportunities, look beyond compensation and title, and evaluate it based on the positive change you can generate. And don’t forget to talk about what technology you employed to achieve your results.
10) Talk to your spouse/loved one – Career planning shouldn’t occur in a vacuum. Meet with your spouse or long-term partner on a regular basis – once a week for a dedicated hour – to talk about your career plans over the next 12 years, as well as other important aspects of your life together, such as money, your health, and relationships with children and other family members.
11) Make a bucket list – Map out your goals for the next 12 years (through 2030). Break it down – start with three goals that you’d love to achieve in the next six months. Then, three goals that you’d like to achieve in the next 18 months. And onward – write down goals for the next three years, five years, 10 years and 12 years. If for example, you’d really like to be a chief marketing officer by 2030, study what it will take it take to reach that goal, such as earning an MBA in marketing, and then start working toward it.
12) Get insight – Gather insight about your personality by filling out a StrengthFinder personality assessment.
13) Travel more – The future you experience in 2030 will be different than, say, the future that someone in South Africa may experience. It’s in traveling to such places as South Africa that you will gain a better understanding about how people in other parts of the world view the future. In the process, you’ll also gain a sense of empathy that will be needed to make future business, marketing and communications decisions. Don’t wait. Make room in your budget for this. Travel more throughout the state or province where you currently live. See other parts of your country. Visit the world. And set your sights on what it might be like to travel to Mars, the Moon or the stars.
14) Get new friends – To thrive in the years ahead, you will need a support network of friends and professional peers who feed your intellectual curiosity and challenge you to reach your potential. Reduce your exposure to people who are indifferent or unsupportive of your goals, or, worst-case scenario, are toxic to your ability to live a healthy, hard-working life of integrity. Through professional groups and networking, surround yourself with people who are open to sharing their secrets of success.
15) Go to a Meet Up – Learn more about a specific area, such as content marketing or big data, by attending a local Meet Up. If you don’t see a Meet Up meeting on a topic that you’d like to know more about, start one yourself.
16) Volunteer – Volunteering is an excellent way to gather new skills and experiences that you might not get in the for-profit world. For example, I have served on the board of directors for three different nonprofits. This has given me a taste of how boards oversee the management of an organization. Opportunities abound – look to your local professional society chapter (PRSA, IABC, AMA, AIA, etc.), your faith community, your local school district, or a nonprofit representing an issue for which you are very passionate (such as protecting wilderness areas or building bike trails).
17) Informational interviews – To think like a futurist, you need insight that you not only can use now, but to plan for the future. Set up an informational interview with a peer or someone who works for a company that you’d like to work with, to gather insights about the industry that you’re working within, or about a company that you’d like to work for. Learn more about informational interviews here.
18) Serve as a mentor – Contact the college or university that you attended, or the college nearest your office, and offer to mentor a college student in your field or industry. Although you have more experience, you don’t know everything – it’s likely that you will benefit from the fresh new insights you can gain from a student.
19) Tune up your existing skills – Attend a class offered by a local college or watch for a seminar or webinar provided by a professional association such as PRSA, IABC, NIRI, or the AMA.
20) Seek a professional designation – Many professions, from accountants (CPA) to public relations professionals (APR, ABC) offer a process to achieve a designation certifying your mastery of professional standards. This process can offer learning opportunities, elevate your standing within your profession, and provide a base for future learning opportunities.
21) Public speaking – There’s a reason that many people fear public speaking: Because it’s hard. But this is one skill that will continue to be needed in the years to come. People are more likely to believe people who can speak clearly, confidently and sincerely. Start out small – offer to speak to a classroom at local college about your career journey. Then graduate to other opportunities, such as speaking to your peers at a professional meeting. Toastmasters offers a wonderful and proven process to build your speaking confidence.
22) Experiment! – Learn to experiment with new technology to prepare you for a world that will only become more and more tech driven. Go have a virtual reality experience. Buy and sell a cryptocurrency. Shoot and post a video made with a drone. Create a podcast. Start a blog. Give yourself permission to try new things, and the permission to fail. It’s through failing that we learn faster.
23) Move – If you don’t feel that where you live is conducive to your career, move. Move to another part of your city, to another city or state, or move to another country. Go to where you will feel welcome, where your talents will be appreciated, where you can learn from others, and where you will feel inspired.
24) Gratitude – Every day after you wake up and have a cup of coffee, grab a spiral notebook and write down three things for which you are grateful. Expressing gratitude on a daily basis helps us see and appreciate all of the abundance in our lives. Sometimes we don’t need more, we just need to appreciate what we have more.
What are you doing to prepare for the marketplace of 2030? I’m interested in what developments you envision for the next 12 years, and what you’re doing to prepare for them. Tweet me your ideas @stephendupoint, using the hashtag #marketing2030, and I’ll share your thoughts in a future post.
Visit Stephen Dupont’s blog at www.stephendupont.co, for more insight about how to ramp up your career aspirations, as well as other articles about marketing, PR, technology, change, creativity and more.
Stephen Dupont, APR, is VP of Public Relations and Branded Content for Pocket Hercules (www.pockethercules.com), a brand marketing firm based in Minneapolis. Contact Stephen Dupont at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his blog at www.stephendupont.co.
© Stephen Dupont, 2018