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Stop looking in the Rear-view Mirror or you may Crash

May 10, 2022


Stop Looking in the Rear-View Mirror or You May Crash

If you’ve been capitalizing on existing trends or looking at past data, you may get caught if you are not talking to your best customers to understand the last two years of behavioural shifts. Why?  Because you are looking in your rearview mirror and not looking forward.  And for some brands, where there were little indications of potential risk, those risks are full-blown flood gates of issues now. 

We need to consistently look ahead and think forward. And, if we were talking to our best customers, we’d have our finger on the pulse of change as they will stay with us longest in a brand’s lifecycle. We’d know that they were over the bulk buys and the sweatpants and even lockdown baking, months ahead of when we started seeing the impact on the retail shelves. We’d know that they’re itching to see their friends and how important brand esteem might be or how much risk there might be to show up with something that is not future-forward vs. pandemic normalized. 

Some of us marketers knew we were all living in a bubble and preparing for a shift! Now we are on a tight rope where we are all being led to believe that “it may not be over…still”!

This balancing act hasn’t been easy. But it does show us how we need to be able to read the writing on the wall.  An example is athleisure. If we’re in athleisure, we might want to look for a way to help our products bridge the pandemic home gym and the post-lockdown gym, the home office, and the office- office. Many people have created new habits or are still too afraid to go back to the gym.

If we want to know where the market is going, then we have to talk to our best customers. We have to check in with them. We need to hear their insights, their feelings about what they need in the current moment. And we need to think beyond the current moment, in a lot of ways: what do they have right now, but what are they craving? Maybe this product is working for the moment, but what do they wish it did? What do they wish they could do more of?

When we start asking these questions, we get more insight into what our customers need from us. We can see what’s on the horizon. And we can start fulfilling those needs, anticipating them—instead of always being behind the eight ball.

So, like always, we have to start with the why!

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