Future of Sales and Marketing beyond COVID - hybrid event in Vilnius: physical audience of 800 + 300 virtual. Digital marketing, location marketing. How to create MAGIC in new marketing campaigns. Future of Marketing Keynote Speaker

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Compliance is Dead. How to build trust. Reputation of banks and financial services. Compliance Risks. Why 100% compliance with regulations, ESG requirements etc is often not enough to prevent reputational damage

Life's too short to do things you don't believe in! Why passionate belief in the true value of what you are selling or doing is the number one key to success. Secret of all leadership and marketing - keynote for 1100 people in Vilnius October 2021

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80% of sales are won or lost in 3 seconds - Future of Marketing Keynote Speaker - Pardavimu formule

I WARNED for YEARS about new pandemic threats like COVID, as a Futurist and physician. Here is the TRUTH about COVID. Impact on future of health care, workplace, retail, travel, corporate events etc. All successful companies have to MEET to THRIVE.

Futurist Keynote Speaker: Posts, Slides, Videos - Future Trends, Economy, Markets, Keynote Speaker

Here is the truth about COVID.  The bad news and the good news.

For many years I warned as a global futurist and physician about risks from new global pandemics such as COVID.  

And many of my forecasts since the COVID pandemic began have turned out to be correct.  

Yes COVID is a massive global menace and we have very far to go in overcoming COVID, but the world has not come to an end.

Separating FACT from FICTION

Many existing trends have been accelerated but the fundamentals drivers of the global economy have not changed.

Trends that have shaped our world step by step over the last 20-30 years have not suddenly disappeared in a puff of smoke.

And human nature endures as the greatest constant of all: needs, hopes, dreams, desires and fears.

So what next?

(Written July 2021)

1. We are still in early stages of global pandemic

While 3.6 billion vaccine doses have been given, a spectacular achievement, over 5.5 billion have yet to receive a first dose.

Most people in the world therefore still have no immunity.

2.  The virus causing COVID is changing very fast

For every 100 million people infected, at least four new significant variants emerge, each with its own subtle features and patterns of speed / illness.

We have already seen that the virus is adapting to become more infectious, and more lethal. (The less efficient variants tend to fade away).

New variants spreading faster than any others today are almost twice as infectious as the first versions of COVID-19 virus we were tracking in March 2020.

So you can do the maths.  The virus could infect many times more people globally than in the first 18 months of the COVID pandemic, unleashing a large number of new variants.

We have no idea whether current vaccines will have any effect on mutants that emerge over the next year.

We also have no idea whether future variants will also spare babies and young children, unlike other dangerous new viruses we have seen in the past like SARS in 2003.

3.  COVID can spread at astonishing speed - but death rates much lower than many other new viruses

In London, during March and April 2020, the number of COVID-19 cases doubled every couple of days, but slowed right down during lockdown.

Because of this initial very rapid spread, I expected spread of COVID to have been much faster and wider than has turned out to the case.

Death rates have been very low - compared to for example SARS in 2003 (10%) or MERS in 2012 (35%).

4.  Spread of COVID has slowed right down for reasons other than lockdown alone

Many nations such as DR Congo or Rwanda or parts of India are too poor to be able to lockdown effectively.

When you are living on the edge of extreme poverty, strict lockdown means hunger, starvation even.

Yet even in nations where lockdown has not been possible, or has been intermittent, spread has been much slower than in many European nations at the beginning.

Indeed, doubling time for global infections is now around 12 weeks or longer.

It is not clear why that has happened.  

5. Vaccines cannot be the answer to COVID pandemic or similar crises in future

We cannot lockdown the whole world every time a new major variant emerges of COVID-19 or a completely new virus emerges.

We have seen many new viruses such as SARS, bird flu, swine flu, Mers etc over the last few years, and will see many more.

Risks of viral pandemics will increase rapidly as population rises from 7.8 billion towards 11.5 billion by 2065.

Vaccines are very expensive, slow to produce and cannot guarantee long term immunity, especially against unstable viruses.

6.  The answer is a new generation of effective antiviral medicines

It's shocking that in 2021 we still lack a single antiviral as effective as penicillin was against bacteria when first discovered in the 1940s.

That's why we can expect a gigantic research effort into a wide range of low cost, effective antivirals that can be used as simply as for treating - say - a bacterial chest infection.

And new patterns of pharma innovation have emerged because of COVID, that could triple the speed of new drug development in future in many areas of health care.

7. Government policies can be predicted on a "Wartime basis"

The best analogy is to think about a world at war against COVID.

Consider the kind of decisions governments make in times of war, and you will understand how and why and when policy decisions will be made.

For example, in wartime the following are vital to winning against the enemy:

- Total mobilisation of nation against common foe

- Immediate action to prevent mass casualties

- Huge government borrowing to cope with emergency / civil defence / "weapons" production - at an unsustainable rate

- Intense learning about how best to protect people while allowing resumption of normal activities as much as possible

- Huge focus on keeping the economy going (on which the entire war effort depends)

- Recognition that to keep entire population sheltered against attack will destroy the nation - economically, socially, pschologically

- Major efforts to build up public morale - "We will defeat this enemy if we work together"

- Calls for courage in the face of fear - public duty to "keep calm and carry on"

- Sacrifice of many freedoms and privileges "for the common good"

- Gradual restoration of normal activity - even in the face of ongoing risks and obvious danger to life - because the alternative is complete national destruction, with overwhelming government debt and economic collapse

Yes of course, there will be intense debate and controversy - because balancing all these factors in wartime is very difficult, as well as timings of each response.

8.  We will learn to live with COVID - whatever happens

On the streets of Bagdad, at the height of the conflict in Iraq, with daily bombing of markets, the population determined that life had to go on.

The same happened across hundreds of towns and cities across Europe during the Second World War.

Despite all kinds of daily threats.

You will find the same in any troubled area of the world today

We acclimatise to risks.  Life has to go on - even if in an adjusted form.  We have no other choice after a short period of hunkering down and hoping for the best.

9. Much of life has continued relatively unchanged

The world has not come to an end. The sun rises and sets each day. Crops are sown and harvested, and in most nations, most people have continued in their previous jobs, albeit after some disruption.

In July 2021, stock markets have largely recovered their initial "shock" losses.  In countries like the UK, house prices are rising fast, and job vacancies have soared.

There is a global shortage of container ships because of the massive boom in global trade.

While some predicted the end of offices, a permanent and radical change in working practices, and long term fears of tourist travel, these have turned out to be rather wild forecasts.

As I expected, and wrote about on this site, the human need for social contact, to explore, to experience, to breath the same air, to meet family, to hang out with friends, to socialise with new customers - these things are unchanged.  Indeed, have increased during lockdown.

What has often happened has been an acceleration of an existing trend - such as year on year growth of online retail or virtual working.  These are nothing new.  

10.  Take great care over wild predictions of permanent radical changes to society

Some have made wild predictions that offices would become permanent dead spaces.

Or that people would never go out physically shopping again.  Or that holiday destinations would be permanently changed.  

These things seemed to be at the time to be as exaggerated as many other apocalyptic forecasts on various things in the past.

I've been successfully predicting trends for over 25 years now.

The truth is that most things change less than most people think they will - when in the middle of a crisis.

No surprise to me then that Apple announced in June that all staff would need to be in the office at least 3 days a week. Reason: Apply has been able to manage just fine during lockdown but has been unable to THINK or INNOVATE as in the past.

Yes of course, more people will work at home than we expected in 2021, reaching levels we would otherwise have seen anyway by 2025-6.

Same is happening over travel and tourism: huge stampedes to buy air tickets as soon as any small amount of opening up of regulations allows the possibility of holidays in another nation.

Same is happening over marketing and business development: companies who meet new people are winning them as clients.  Those sticking to Zoom or Teams are really struggling to land major new contracts with complete strangers.


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