Some marketing executives believe the next five years will be similar to the last five years. That's a dangerous assumption if you take into account the rapid growth rates of technology and data. In fact, there is every reason to believe that the next five years will bring profound changes to how we sell, market and service customers.


Two key factors will significantly impact marketing for B2B and B2C companies over the next five years. The first, Moore's Law, states that the number of transistors on a chip doubles about every two years. This means rapid growth for information technology (hardware specifically) but also loosely applies to software.

The second trend of note is the exponential growth of data. According to a Forrester Research report titled, "Data, Data Everywhere", the volume of the world's data doubles approximately every three years.

It seems like a marriage made in heaven: exponential growth of data volumes and the matching technology to collect, store, analyze and distribute intelligence across the enterprise. Easy right? Not so fast...

It's important to note that exponential growth of data volumes and information technology can really sneak up on companies of all sizes. Let me paint you a vivid picture.

Ray Kurzweil, a well known scientist in the artificial intelligence arena describes the exponential growth of technology through his, "Law of Accelerating Returns."
He says, "an analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense "intuitive linear" view. So we won't experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century -- it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today's rate)."

Chew on that one for a minute, if true–it's profound.

You might think that other visionaries have a handle on what these exponential trends mean for our future, but even Gordon Moore, the creator of Moore's Law, finds the impact of change staggering.

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article titled, "Even an Intel Founder Can Still Be Impressed by Technology's Pace." In the article, author Lee Gomes cites Moore's amazement with smaller and smaller disk drives, the miniaturization of mobile technology and how fast some search engines bring back relevant results. Gordon Moore is quoted as saying, "I am continually surprised by what people can do with all these things."

Marketing professionals are often responsible for market trends and opportunities, understanding the impact of mega-themes, and steering our organization towards not only customer wants/needs of today, but also those of tomorrow.

If these trends hold true, and data and technology continue to show exponential growth, the next five years will challenge marketers to think differently about how we help our companies retain customers, grow wallet-share and find new revenue streams.

The only constant is change, and one thing we know; that tomorrow will not be like today. And the next five years won't be anything like the last five.

OK big thinkers, it's almost 2008. Peter Drucker once wisely said,

"The best way to predict the future is to create it."


Assuming the rates of change for information technology and data will continue to grow exponentially, what are your suggestions to help your company or clients prepare and place the right bets to create the future?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paul Barsch directs services marketing programs for Teradata, the world's largest data warehousing and analytics company. Previously, Paul was marketing director for HP Enterprise Services $1.3 billion healthcare industry and a senior marketing manager at global consultancy, BearingPoint. Paul is a senior contributor to MarketingProfs, a frequent columnist for MarketingProfs DailyFix, and has published over fifteen articles in marketing, management, technology and healthcare publications. Paul earned his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He and his family reside in San Diego, CA.