In last week’s column, I outlined the traits and skills of most good marketing professionals.  A couple of them require some resources that I thought I’d explore in this week’s conversation.

Many of you are coming off the Labor Day weekend and realizing that you now have less than 120 days to hit your goals, earn your bonus or walk away from 2017 calling it a win.

I’m guessing that you’re also beginning to sketch out your plans for 2018. That seems like a very good time to channel your inner marketer. A couple of the traits I identified in the earlier column were curiosity and a vivid imagination. As you straddle this last quarter and spend part of your energy pushing to the 2017 finish line and the other half mapping out the roadmap for 2018, you’ll need to lean on both.

Think you don’t need to look ahead and anticipate how your world will change in the next year or two? Consider this: According to the World Economic Forum (in their report “The Future of Jobs”) 65 percent of the children entering primary school today, will end up working in completely new job types that do not yet exist.

Another example? According to Forbes, Airbnb is valued at about $25.5 billion, which is more than hotel giants Marriott ($20.90 billion), Starwood ($14 billion) and Wyndham ($10.01 billion). Hilton Worldwide is valued at $27.7 billion. Keep in mind — Airbnb doesn’t own a single hotel room.

The biggest mistake we can make as business leaders and marketers today is assuming that tomorrow will resemble today. That was probably never a wise position to take, but today it’s the kiss of death.

We must be purveyors of what’s coming next. We can’t afford to be surprised. In some cases, businesses have not survived being surprised.

If you want your curiosity and imagination to be firing on all cylinders, you need to keep feeding them new ideas and connections. This is especially true if you’re going to be considering what trends and cultural shifts might influence your company, your customers, your employees or the marketplace.

Here are some books, websites and podcasts that will give you some additional food for thought as you rev up your engines to finish 2017 strong and work on your 2018 plans.

Books
• “The Industries of the Future” by Alec Ross
• “A Whole New Mind” by Daniel Pink
• “Abundance” by Diamonds & Kotler
• “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell
• “The Inevitable: Understanding 12 Technological Forces that Will Shape Our Future” by Kevin Kelly
• “The Truth About Your Future” by Ric Edelman

Websites/e-newsletters
• Trendwatching.com
• Trendhunter.com
• Springwise.com
• PSFK.com
• JWTintelligence.com
• TED.com
• Coolhunting.com
• Web.SparksandHoney.com

Podcasts
• “Trends With Benefits”
• “Trend Following With Michael Covel”
• “Small Business Trends”
• “Stuff You Should Know”

I’ve just scratched the surface, but you should be able to find a handful of new resources here that will help you and your team explore what’s coming ahead and how you can take full advantage of it.

You might want to keep a few of these as a part of your daily diet. Things are not going to slow down anytime soon.