Six Questions for The Futures Company.

The Futures Company helps us understand the recent past, the actions and choices consumers are making today, and how they shape the trends and themes that will we'll all grapple with in the immediate future. President of Consulting Services Don Abraham will kick off the upcoming Seller Forum on Wednesday October 21st in New York.

  1. Since our theme at the Seller Forum will be leadership, let's start there. In a big picture sense, how might corporate leaders be tested by the emerging themes you guys are seeing at TFC?

Companies, and even entire industries, are rising and falling faster than ever before. Leadership is about constant learning in order to stay relevant and the type of learning environment leaders create within their organizations.

  1. I'm fascinated by "the Centennials" and how their behavior and attitudes will differ from Millennials. They'll view data sharing and social media pretty differently, no?

Think of it as the difference between "look at me!" and "talk with me!". Millennials often were mocked for sharing seemingly every aspect of their lives with the world—and a tendency to treat that sharing as a broadcast rather than a discussion. Centennials seem more circumspect about oversharing than their older peers. Also, they don't have much important data to really share right now, so it will be interesting to see where this goes in the future as more enter young adulthood.

  1. You've discussed how it's not so much about the group I belong to, but more about the group I identify with going forward. Is this the beginning of the end of demographics in marketing?

No, and a little "maybe." But mostly no. Race, gender, religion, etc. seem far less important to identity, affiliation and social status compared to the past. But demographics still retain an important role. Age demographics are still important because they are synonymous with key life stage milestones.

  1. What can you tell us about further shifts in consumer's relationship with television and media consumption?

Media discovery has become an enormous issue for both media companies and consumers as the paths of distribution and content creation have fragmented and diversified. No less important is the growing desire for personalization and curation to empower discovery. The upshot is that brands will need to use all the available tools; human, data and utility design. Easy right?

  1. Marketers are dealing with media fragmentation, a huge volume of data, and the emergence of social, mobile..... Is there even more change in the immediate future or is this enough?

Very few if any consumers have said that there were too many fun apps to play with and that the app market has just been too darn helpful in getting things done (banking, music, movies, maps, communication.....) If you are hoping for less advancement, good luck with that. That being said, there will undoubtedly be a consolidation in media platforms, services and the complexity of payments and access. People do love new options and great new content, but they don't love jumping through a million hoops to get access to it or managing dozens of service agreements and price fluctuations.

  1. What's going to surprise me most as a consumer in the 5 years ahead?

​The consumer decision making process is shifting radically; we will no longer default to making purchasing decisions on the basis of our own evaluations, preferences, or rules-of-thumb. Rather, we will increasingly outsource that decision making process to technology. I think you will be surprised the degree to which you will rely on them to take over a growing number of your day-to-day decisions.

If you lead a national or regional digital media sales organization request your invitation to the Fall Seller Forum - "Leadership is Not Optional" — or call us at 802.985.2500 for more details. 80% of our available spots are already gone, so save yours today.