Can you get ahead of the changes (and help your customers along the way)?

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I enjoy Mark Mitchell’s weekly eletter because the advice he imparts goes far beyond the specific niche he effectively serves: building products manufacturers. 

In a recent newsletter, he discussed the challenges of creating extra value and relationships with your clients — and he suggested that one way you can leapfrog the competition is to be so knowledgeable about technology and trends that you can help your clients navigate the confusing new order, and (by making the changes easier for them) build loyalty — because you really ARE helping to their problems.

And indeed things are changing rapidly — maybe not as wildly rapidly as some techno-pundits suggest — but still, fast enough that the things we know and take for granted now, will probably be very much different within the next decade.

The stuff of Artificial Intelligence, off-site building, BIM, autonomous vehicles, and demographic and operational changes that in many cases will replace workers with robots, can be mind-boggling and difficult to decipher. Will the shiny new object become the beginning of a fundamental trend, or just fade away? 

As I write this blog posting, I’m faced with the latest iteration of WordPress, with a new editing system and interface. It has resulted in some clutsy writing and editing problems, and more importantly, in the way my sites function. Simple procedures and routines I had developed to speed up things don’t work quite the way they should. 

I could revert to the old interface, and may have to do that to solve some vexing problems. But I don’t want to do that — because I want to be forced to learn how things will work in the future.

The challenge for me (and I think for most of us concerned with construction marketing in the next decade) is to gain enough understanding of the technological and economic trends that we can hold our clients’ hands and guide them in the right direction. We don’t need to know “everything” to do this — we simply need to know well more than the average.

This process will be easier for some of us than others, and I expect most of us (even the most tuned in) will still mess up and misinterpret the trends and miss the cues. But we cannot avoid the future.

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