I’m attending the Forrester Research Consumer Forum in Dallas this week. As usual with Forrester, there is some very good information, the networking is great and the event is well run. My only criticism is that some of the analysts present snapshots of research that in some cases is months old and I’ve already reviewed it. This wouldn’t be necessarily bad if the in person sessions shed deeper insight or generated a lively discussion on the topic, but as in most conferences, the Q&A is weak and most discussions are conducted at a fairly low level of expertise.
The theme of this conference is “Keeping Ahead of Tomorrow’s Customer”. It’s a very important topic, especially in troubled economics times. And I was pleased to see that many of the sessions spoke to the guerilla in the room, namely how do we cope with the ups and downs we’re facing every time we look at the markets and the economic forecasts.
I will dive into some of the specific sessions in future posts, but I wanted to raise one question up front. While the theme is keeping ahead of tomorrow’s customer, shouldn’t the real theme be more of keeping pace with customers. It seems a throwback to the old school of marketing to think that we as marketers can keep ahead of customers, that we are responsible for controlling the conversation rather than being active participants.