Thursday, 03 May 2012 10:03
The Next Big Thing
William Higham, author of The Next Big Thing (Kogan Page 2009) available on Amazon from £17, was already discussing three years ago the demise of Kodak as though it was a foregone conclusion. The company wobbled on for a couple of years, but the writing was clearly on the wall for film.
Higham argues of course, that trend analysis is not ‘futurology’ but a science that uses data to provide information about shifts in consumer behaviour.
So what exactly is trend marketing? It starts with spotting the trend, then it works out how to exploit it with a strategic plan. A good example is Apple, which is not sitting back and enjoying its current success, but spending vast resources on making sure it has the patents in place for its next step – undoubtedly into mobile services including payment.
So what Higham argued in 2009, and which is still hugely relevant in 2012, is that going to the trouble to understand tomorrow’s consumer by looking at trends is vital, and needs to be systematized. Higham predicts that technology will become more important because it will enable more sophisticated computer modeling to help with the process.
Higham in 2009 was very confident that trends offer a solution, and that by analyzing trends, it is possible to predict future markets. There have been a few surprises since then, but basically, his theory stands the test of time.
Interestingly, Amazon has ten other books called The Next Big Thing, so there is plenty of choice!