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About those 2013 predictions

Like it or not, the MR prediction season is upon us. For the most they will look eerily like last year and, in many cases, the year before that. A couple of weeks back on the heels of the Mayan bust I read a piece (unfortunately, I can’t remember where) descrFortune telleribing how people respond when their doomsday predictions fail to materialize. It seems that mostly they tap dance a bit and then just double down. 

The Mayans aren’t around to rinse and repeat, but the same cannot be said for market researchers and our assorted camp followers (industry observers, consultants, bloggers, trade pubs, etc.). I recognize that predictions are a necessary annual entertainment, but I also challenge those earnestly recycling their 2012 predictions to avoid the more  hyperbolic and over-worked words and terms that form the heart of the MR predictor vocabulary. Be a little less breatheless.  Stop trying to scare the bejesus out of us.

Here is my list:

  • Transformational (and associated forms)
  • Any and all superlatives in front of the word opportunity
  • Disruptive
  • Paradigm
  • Massive (and associated forms)
  • Game changing
  • Made-up words that cause raised eyebrows in conversation with normal people or cause MS Word to write a squiggly red line under.  Gamify is a good example (which, by the way, Word proposes the word gasify in it’s place which may speak to the wisdom of the Word spellchecker.)
  • Reimagined
  • Pivotal
  • Borderless
  • Disintermediation in all its forms
  • All forms of the word representative except by people who actually understand the principles of sampling

From where I sit it looks to me that like the vast majority of MR firms get what's happening.  There is a broad consensus on where the industry is headed, the threats and opportunities we all face, and the pace at which client preferences are changing.  The challenge is getting there and another round of predictions is not especially helpful.  Unless, of course, someone has something new to say.