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The Next Imperative For Brands: Predicting Consumers' Needs
By: Forbes
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These days, fulfilling customer needs in real time is necessary to sustain competitive parity. But soon, “real time” won’t be good enough; brands will need to fulfill needs before customers are even aware of them.

Consider a world where an Uber pulls up automatically because it knows you’ve got a flight in two hours; your fitness app ships a new pair of running shoes without you ordering them, as it can detect that you’ve put in too many miles on your existing pair. Or, your vehicle automatically plots a traffic-free route because it knows you’re likely headed home after a day at the office, alerting you to the nearest gas station given the pending snowstorm.

Smart Automation Soon Will Be Routine

Digital (particularly the smartphone) has conditioned an entire generation to expect instant gratification. Anything can be accessed, anywhere and at any time. To an experienced smartphone user, the device is key to navigating through a digital world. The phone is our communication lifeline, our source for directions to anywhere, a pocket-sized entertainment library, our retirement plan, the easiest way to get a cab, and so much more. But the handheld “computerphone” will soon be integrated into our clothing, eyeglasses or watch, and will leverage an increasing ability to harvest and interpret data from devices equipped with location and condition-aware technologies.

Soon – based on predictive and proactive capabilities introduced in the latest mobile operating systems – delivering instant gratification will not be good enough. As a result, buyers will expect brands to predict their needs in a relevant, non-interruptive way without being asked or prompted. Brands that lag behind this fundamental shift in buyer expectations are at enormous risk.

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This article originally appeared on Forbes.com. You'll find a link to the original after the post. www.forbes.com
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