Bob Hoffman says marketers have ‘learned to hide in the future’ – avoiding the responsibility of dealing with what’s happening right now. Is that fair? It’s certainly a great sound bite, but does it hold true? (His blog post is here, and a Mumbrella article has reproduced it in full.)
The thing about Bob’s writing style is that it’s so grumpy and compelling that it’s easy to laugh along. But hidden between the lines are little give-aways that perhaps he’s not quite so set against the future as he might first seem.
Take this: ‘One of my personal policies when I do talks is to never talk about the future … [his emphasis] … I try only to speak about what’s currently happening.’
Not to get too philosophical about it all, but of course what’s currently happening – constantly – is that we’re all moving towards the future. And with no sense of where that’s headed? Well, at best you’re merely being carried by the current. At worst, you drift away into irrelevance.1
It’s akin to trying to drive by looking down at the ground under the car rather than at the bitumen ahead of you. Unlikely to keep you on the road for long.
Of course, as anyone who’s ever been to a marketing conference knows, there are “futurists” out there who indeed are no more than puff and nonsense. But that’s no reason to take Mr Hoffman’s advice and ignore the future altogether.
We’ll see you there.
1. As a footnote, this is why at Mammal we’re as concerned with your brand’s trajectory as we are with its positioning. But that’s a chat to have over a coffee or a wine some time.