Marketing thoughts from the 1964 World’s Fair

by. Bo McDonald

Are you the IBM of the financial services world? What I’m really asking is, are you applauding your innovation for today’s problems instead of tomorrow’s problems?

Fifty years ago at the World’s Fair many companies had booths to showcase their latest technology. The showcase of what the world might look like in fifty years ranged from colonies on the moon to a telephone that could show images of the person you were talking to. One particular booth hosted by IBM showcased the “newest way to put words on paper” using their electric typewriter.

Certainly, the electric typewriter was new but it seems as though the innovation from IBM was very shortsighted. It solved a problem using existing technology rather than thinking “what’s next.”

The shortsightedness of IBM seems to be similar to the discussions we’re having in the banking world today. “How about if we adopt mobile deposit capture?” Have you seen the numbers on check usage? It’s certainly not going away tomorrow but why aren’t we looking past paper checks to “what’s next” and spending our technology and innovation dollars on solving tomorrow’s problems?

When considering marketing and innovation, consider the words of the late Steve Jobs:

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