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Uncertain vs. Certain Times

August 23, 2023

“It’s times like these you learn to live again…it’s times like these you give and give again…” Foo Fighters

Question for you: What are “certain times?”

I ask because we’re back to using the “in these uncertain times” cliché. And by “we,” I mean marketers and the occasional hack journalist.

“In these uncertain times” was language used extensively during the Great Recession and COVID pandemic…and I’ve noticed it’s back. But why? What are certain times? Seriously? Have we humans EVER lived in certain times?

There is one constant in this world: change. The world is defined by chaos and disorder. The world wants to be disordered. So long as humans are motivated to act in their self-interest (or even in the interest of humankind), things will change.

On a micro level, what does this mean to you? What does this mean to your ability to survive and thrive in an ever-changing world? I’ll tell you the same thing my football coach told me.

“You’d better keep your head on a swivel, son!”

One year ago, I attended an AI conference that promised AI would dramatically affect the marketing world in the next 3-5 years. It happened in 3-5 months. Uncertain or certain times? Estimates are precisely that: estimates; therefore, they’re uncertain. They’re guesses based on the best information we have at the time.

So now I attend meetings in which and transcribe and summarize the words we say. ChatGPT and derivative applications give us insights we couldn’t imagine having a year ago, accelerating the development of content and ideas.

From my perspective as a marketer, it’s more important than ever to assess your strategic plan vs. the real world and to do it regularly. Accepting the winds of change and doing nothing to adjust your sails is never a good plan. Adapt to uncertain times with certainty; they’re never going away!