Where will the future take you?

Move with the future or get left behind

My job has had a learning curve since Day 1, and I hope it continues. Because I’d rather move with the future than get left behind.

It has been a powerful evolution

I’ve been a graphic designer for over 40 years. My profession has transformed from markers, drafting tables and T-squares all the way up to today’s digital universe with software that can do almost anything.

We had to draw our own visuals and hand render type for concept layouts in order to get them approved by the client. Then we had to find and hire the talents of the best photographer or illustrator for the idea, and work with them as they created the images. Once a writer got approval on the copy, we would spec fonts, sizes, leading, and letterspacing, then send it to a typesetting company. Using those type proofs, we would lay out camera-ready art of each page with crop marks and specific instructions, which were then sent to the printer along with the transparencies or illustrations for separations. After a few days, the printer would bring back composite proofs, which we had to carefully review for any missed instructions. Once approved, printing plates would be made, the press run would be scheduled, and we would need to be there on-time for the press check. (I can still smell the fresh ink.) The approved printed sheets would then be trimmed, folded, bound, and shipped to the client, or addressed and sorted for the post office.

As you can tell, it was quite a process.

And a process that became ripe for change

Phototypesetting machines were the beginning of the end for most typesetting companies. But it wasn’t until Apple released it’s Mac IIci, that the world of graphic design shifted. It was the first upgradeable Mac (you could open it up and add RAM!), using software and fonts that you had to upload from diskettes (like Pagemaker for layouts and Freehand for vectors.) CDs took over from diskettes, digital presses replaced ink, the internet became everyone’s connection, and our jobs went digital as well, providing websites, videos, marketing campaigns and branding for credit unions from coast to coast.

I know, that’s a lot of background. But there is a reason why I shared it.

Our agency has continued to grow and be successful over the last 30+ years because we moved with the future. And we will always stay on the lookout for even better options and opportunities.

We will continue to share what we find

If you are tired of always doing what you have done in the past, and ready to start looking at new possibilities, be sure to check out our Resources and Recommendations page.

You’ll find lists of CUSOs, companies, and people we’ve partnered with, collaborated with, spoken with, or just heard great things about. You’ll find sources for marketing automation and CRMs, data analytics, statement processors and back-office services, strategic consultants, website add-ons, and more.

Why would we share other company’s information? Because our vision is that those of us who serve the credit union movement – vendors, CUSOs, consultants, and other solution providers – should also participate in the eight core credit union principles. When we cooperate in the spirit of the Sixth Principle, we can achieve more, elevate credit unions and their members, and make the world a better place.

AI is another big shift for marketers

Just last week I was asked by a friend what I thought the influence of AI on marketing will be. I understand why he asked; it’s a topic that is on everyone’s mind these days.

There are worries about AI replacing or taking over their job, and for some –the boring and mundane, time-consuming jobs – it likely will. But marketing is about creativity and originality. It’s about empathy and understanding human behavior. AI can replicate, but it can’t yet create.

That’s why everyone needs to stop worrying about losing their job and learn how to use AI as a tool instead.

AI’s ability to analyze and learn from vast amounts of data will be able to help with a variety of marketing tasks: increased personalization based on customer behavior and preferences, identifying trends, tracking ROI, optimizing campaigns and media buys, even predictive marketing.

One of the best ways to learn about the potential of AI is to jump in. Curious Refuge calls themselves “an online home for anyone who wants to utilize AI tools to create incredible art.” They offer classes in AI filmmaking, AI advertising, showcase an gallery of AI artists, and more. StarryAI is an app that helps you create AI art, and lets you create 5 daily for free. Copy Magazine is the world’s first AI fashion magazine, and was featured in Vogue. Midjourney is a discord site from an independent research lab “exploring new mediums of thought and expanding the imaginative powers of the human species.”

So where will the future take you?

Only you can find out. But at least you won’t get left behind.

Kent Dicken

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