Confused about the Future? Plan Anyway!

Steve Rubel recently blogged saying ...

"I want to make a bet with you today. By January 2014 I will wager that in the US almost all forms of tangible media will either be in sharp decline or completely extinct. I am not just talking about print, but all tangible forms of media - newspapers, magazines, books, DVDs, boxed software and video games."

This caused others such at Mitch Joel to blog in response, saying that making this shift by 2014 is almost impossible. And I agree with Mitch and others. (heck my bathroom is still littered with magazines, and for only $10 a year for most of them they are hard to give up)

This shift is never going to completely happen by 2014, but why don't we set that as a goal or a deadline?  Why don't we try to push ourselves to make it happen by this date?  Why don't we get our companies ready for this shift, and prepare our marketing for a fast and dramatic shift in media over these next eight years?

This way we can be ready if media does shift by 2014, and if it doesn't we can be ahead of the curve.

Now, I am not proposing shifting our advertising plans out of old media starting tomorrow,  I'm just saying let's start thinking about what life is going to be like after this digital shift.  How are we going to reach consumers with our message?  How are they going to interact with our products?  What new technology could we invent to communicate more effectively?

We may not know when, or how things are going to change, but we should always be trying to guess what the changes are going to be and when they are going to happen.  That is the only way we can start to prepare for the future.

Even if we never guess the right timeline, or the right changes, going through this exercise of preparing for change, will make us more able to capitalize on these shifts.  So if we are late to the party, and don't figure out what we need to do until the very last moment, we'll already be experienced at identifying the changes, and how we can take advantage of them.