Management Memos

Making Measurably More For You Since 1985

August 2019

July 2019 Megatrends Are Reshaping Trade

New jobs are popping up that challenge our very concept of what the working world has become. Recently, a job ad for a 'Customer Success Manager' led to a hunt for what that might mean. There is even a Graduate Certificate in Customer Success Management you can earn today.

The new notion of Customer Success is one of the megatrends sweeping across business. It's as frightening as the internet was to retailers ten years ago - and it promises just as much disruption.

It isn't the answer to today's slow sales environment, but it will form part of how every user-facing business works its way out of today's slow sales.

Megatrends Are Not New

'Megatrends' have been a part of management thinking, and have been written about, since at least 2015.

According to Stefan Hajkowicz, director of the CSIRO’s Data61 Insight team, megatrends are the “gradual yet powerful trajectories of change that will at some point express themselves with explosive force and throw companies, individuals and societies into freefall”.

Hajkowicz says that megatrends are powerful forces that can reshape the world we live in and it’s dangerous to ignore them or push back against them. This edition of 'Management Memos' is based on Hajkowicz's work.

Businesses, management, and staff, all need be aware of these megatrends, adapting so as to 'ride the wave'. To do this, all of us will need to make active choices (not passive ones), so our business will be carried along by the trend.

Seeing the Megatrend

Uber and the global taxi industry is one good example of a megatrend in action, and how that megatrend completely disrupted a business. This chart from Bank of America in 2016 shows how swiftly Uber and Lyft started to kill the business of traditional taxis.

Uber and Taxis

Taxi companies did not see the megatrend

Taxi companies didn’t see the disruption coming. They were suddenly in “freefall”. It’s one industry example, among many in recent decades. We have seen the disruptors trash traditional business models - but only when it's already too late.

The Four "Ps" of the Future

  • The Probable “are events which are known to have occurred in the past and are expected to occur again in the future”. Think rainfall, temperature, humidity, and population projections.
  • The Plausible “stretches us beyond the probable to events which may not have occurred in the past ...” But a plausible event flows from “an evidence base from which a future event can be deduced using logic and reason”.
  • The Possible is simply “anything that could potentially happen in the future”.
  • The Preferable is simply the “desired pathway of change we can attempt to make” and falls somewhere within the other three potential outcomes.


A Classic Tale


Comfort Shopping

Think back now, and the emergence of the online retail industry was a 'plausible future' we should have foreseen.

As everyday use of the internet was beginning to emerge, and as websites were developing a functionality to record credit card details and charge electronic bank account, quick and easy on-line purchases could be seen as very plausible, even likely.

Those vested in the old retail simply refused to accept the idea.

Today, it is easy to see a plausible future where a wallet is no longer required, and our identification cards, credit cards, loyalty cards, and driver's licence, are all on our smartphone.

Megatrends Taking Shape Now

According to the CSIRO, the eight baseline megatrends reshaping the globe right now include:

  1. More for less – is the narrative about resource scarcity, which Hajkowicz said in his 2016 book “will change the way we live … change the way markets operate and the ways societies govern themselves”.
  2. Planetary pushback – whether it’s antibiotic resistance, climate change, or other pushback from the planet, your company will be vulnerable to new and increasing risks associated with environmental change.
  3. The Silk Highway – is analogous to China’s Belt and Road initiative and the emergence of China and Asia as global economic powerhouses. Business leaders can’t just ignore the Asia Pacific.
  4. On the move – Consider the concentration of populations into cities, the commuting that flows from that, the interconnectedness of the global economy, data mobility and the movement of freight transport and logistics. All of these are contributing to a trend.
  5. Forever young – as birth rates fall across the globe, there is a clear demographic shift toward an older population.
  6. Digital immersion – “the rise and continued rise of the digital world” and technology is reshaping “business models, jobs, learning, communications, governance systems and lifestyles for practically every profession,” Business leaders “won’t need a digital strategy because there won’t be any other strategy”.
  7. Intelligent machines – technology has got to the point now where machines have the ability to learn and improve their operations without human guidance. Business needs to adapt to this world of autonomous systems.
  8. Keeping it real – Business leaders need to ensure they don’t lose sight of what the human customer wants during their company’s digital transformation journey.


Back To Where We Started

This is a convenient point to come back to where we began - the new role of Customer Success Manager.

Ibis rolls-out new mobile check-in procedures

This is a change sweeping across some of the world's biggest companies - and it's coming to you sometime soon.

You might have experienced it yourself when you checked into some of the big brand hotels (and not just the top shelf) - where it's been in place across the world now for a couple of years.

Some readers have resisted, and keep resisting the idea of selling on-line, even as shoppers desert traders who don't have an on-line presence, or enable on-line purchases.

Their resistance continues all the while prices and margins keep moving downwards, reflecting the reduced expense of on-line trading.

That's a megatrend that's now become a universal retail fact. It's no longer a trend, and further resistance is pointless.

It's a good lesson in why reaching out and embracing the megatrends that impact you, will give you a stronger, more profitable, long term future.

When you begin implementing Customer Success Management in your place, you will see:

A clear Customer Value strategy

Customer data used to track, predict and optimise, customer behaviour

Increased customer loyalty and lifetime length, with customer lifecycle maps

Use of customer discovery and analysis tools, and customer mapping

You and your staff will be engaged in customer experience design


'Customer Success' is the next megatrend you'll need to consider. Figure out how to adapt to meet it with your customers.


Help is readily available. Call us now, and discuss how this important and powerful topic affects your business.

We can help you explore the challenges you face, and the opportunities they represent.

Let's discuss it on a phone call. After that, you can just hang up - if that's what you'd like to do. NSA!

Phone us (see the numbers below) or use the contact form here to get help. Absolutely obligation free.


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Any advice, information or comment contained in this document is general in nature, and should not be relied on as the basis for any specific commercial, business, employment, or financial decision. Specific advice should always be obtained for each individual circumstance. Accordingly any advice, information or comment contained herein is for general guidance only.