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How Good is Your Consumer Foresight - and Business Forecasts?

Ahead of a turbulent year, test your Marketing Vision.

Run a simple test of your foresights for 2020, and scenario plan for the impact of change next year and beyond. 


Optometrists refer to 20/20 vision as the standard, or how a “normal” person sees.  When you stand 20 feet away from an eye chart, you see what the normal person should see.  The American Optometric Association states that a person with 20/20 vision can clearly identify a row of 9 mm letters from 20 feet.

In 2019, Consilient logged 57 significant shifts in consumer behavior, media consumption and competitive marketing forces.  Will 20/20 vision and “normal” consumer insight will be enough for marketers next year?  We have grouped these into 7 strategic shifts.  We offer a simple test and analysis to guide forecasts for alternative scenarios in 2020.

Why? Some shifts are universal, including the environment. As author Gillian Tett (of ‘The Silo Effect’) writes recently in Straw Wars, “consumer sentiment is now able to shift with starting speed, in a manner that businesses are finding it hard to ignore”.


Some shifts are generational, e.g. the rise of social media network Tik Tok reported by AppsFlyer in Tech Republic, “growth in this hyper-competitive space is very difficult, so companies must stay alert, recognize potential, and move fast to stay relevant."

We are less than 20 weeks from a year promising to be the most turbulent for enterprises of any in recent history.  Whether you are a 100 year-old car manufacturer, a 50 year-old telecom conglomerate, a 15 year-old social network, or a 5-year old direct to consumer manufacturer, 2020 will not be “‘normal”.


Unlikely.  As is well-documented, Marketing struggles to demonstrate its value. Challenges to the CMO role are intensifying.  Leading brands continue to replace their CMO’s with Chief Growth Officers, Chief Digital Officers etc.  And they appoint new leaders and teams responsible for the Customer Experience, Digital Transformation, Data and Analytics that report separately.  Thus, even where the CMO role survives many strategic functions report directly to the C-Suite, Strategy and Finance.


Improbable.  The challenges to established brands are intensifying, from new business models in general and direct-to-consumer in particular.  But the leading brands single their greatest challenge is the rapidly changing mindset of existing consumers, and the next generations of new consumers with new priorities.  Activist investor Elliott Management’s attack on AT&T’ heralds a challenge many under-performers will face.


Impossible.  So-called digital disrupters and the fast growing direct-to-consumer insurgents face their own challenges.  How to scale with digital media consumption in flux.  How to leverage their first party data and retain their customers in the context of brand mis-trust. Digitalization and datafication may be ugly terms but are real forces transforming the landscape. 


2020 will be extraordinary.  Companies must follow the consumer and see The Forest for the Trees if only because change has accelerated in 2019, with consumers and their media consumption evolving fast. The analytics we propose identify the vectors of change, free from the biases of agencies, consultants and technology vendors. 


At Consilient we have studied how “normal” sources of insight offer no predictive guidance to near or longer-term outlook.

What is 20/20 Marketing Vision?

Individual, siloed metrics that will not help foresee 2020


What do we need to know, to gain superior vision like 20/11 vision, to “foresee’” the future in 2020? At Consilient we tracked 57 distinct developments in the 9 months of this year to date.  We analyzed the trends, cases and reports of many of the leading analysts and commentators on the digital economy, marketing and media industries.


At Consilient we have grouped these 57 trends into what we have found are the seven strategic shifts in how marketing is changing business performance, that will radically and rapidly surprise us in 2020 and beyond.


These are the seven drivers, and a description of their impact.



Vectors of Change


Paid, Owned & Earned Media, and Consumer Engagement

The shift from Paid to Owned & Earned started years ago, and has accelerated to the point where earning participation supersedes buying attention


Brand Health through Consumer Beliefs & Perceptions

The shift to health, wellness, and environmental priorities has accelerated to the point where these concerns supersede product features


Emotional Connections through Creativity & Content

The shift from short-term digital metrics to predictive emotional values is reflected in the success of a small number of brands maintaining leadership


Community & Influence through Conversation & Content

The shift from trust in companies and brands to “people like me” and influencers with authenticity prioritizes listening & following to consumers


Consumer Segment Value though Experiences

The shift to true customer-centricity means rebuilding marketing & metrics around customer value and new generations of consumers.


Consumer Individual Value through Personalization

The shift to personal value captures the value of data and its appropriate & relevant use within products, services and messaging


Price & Place of Product Distribution & Purchase

The shift to eCommerce & Direct-to-Consumer Channels puts a premium on 1st party data, & on permission-based data sharing

By capturing the data specific to your brand, we model the effect of these changes on forecast results by channel.

By capturing the data specific to your brand, we model the effect of these changes on forecast results by channel.


Please see Brand Growth Modeling

Consilient Group


Stewart Pearson is Founder of Consilient Group, a team of data scientists and social planners focused on mapping a path to consumer-led growth.

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