News   June 4, 2016

Preparing for the Future of Marketing Now

By Michael Harris

With 2016 planning in full swing for many brands and agencies, I thought it would be fun to think about the future. However, I am not talking about next week or next year’s brand plan. I am talking about the next five to ten years.

Have you ever wondered what our industry will be like or where your brand will be?

I do. In fact, I am somewhat obsessed, definitely stressed, and overall, infatuated with it. It’s amazing, really. What you learn today is practically irrelevant tomorrow. Everything changes so fast, simply saying ‘it’s hard to be a marketer today’ is a gross understatement.

Consider Moore’s Law for a second. Moore’s law roughly states that technology (processing power) will double every 18 months. That means that 10 years from now, technology should exponentially double five times, or be approximately 32 times greater than what you started with. Dont believe it? I recently read that today's smartphones have more computing power than all of NASA when they landed on the moon in 1969.

Maybe thinking about 10 years isn’t entirely fair. Can we really even begin fathom something 32 times greater, let alone two times? What does a twice-as-powerful iPhone look like? Is it paper thin? Does it bend? Perhaps it projects 3D holograms?

“Help me Obi-wan Kenobi…”

Jeff Beer of Fast Company Create recently wrote a piece that looks at marketing in the year 2020. As a marketer, we are constantly after the next big thing. I couldn’t help but make my own list of predictions that I think will have the biggest impact on marketing in the future. In no particular order, here’s my top five:

  • Smartphones will be tertiary, but Mobile will still be King. I agree with Beer’s contributors that mobile will be central to our lives, but I have a slightly different take on how. The most important mobile device will be connected, wearable tech (watches, eyewear, etc). Mankind has always gravitated towards the convenient, and having to physically carry a device around (like a phone) will be, well, inconvenient. With a continued shift towards smaller screens, marketers of the future will be forced to master the concept of ‘less is more’.
  • Marketing will be real-time, customized to each and every consumer. Savvy marketers will understand that wearable technology is not only personal and purposeful to the consumer, but a trove of invaluable data. From fitness tracking to shopping lists, marketers will have access to data that will help them deploy real-time, custom messaging that is meaningful to the individual consumer. Think real-time push notifications - i.e. “Great run today, Michael, now replenish with $1 off Gatorade”.
  • Consumers will control brand messaging. Nielsen stated that 92% of people trust an online peer recommendation above all other forms of advertising. Consumers want assurance, not a sales pitch. They want a platform to speak from, not a forum to be told. Brands of the future will harness the power of the consumer for their use and build an army of brand advocates that not only champion their brand, but co-create content with them.
  • Banner Ads will work and actually drive commerce… lots of it. What? Look, I am a media guy and I can admit that there are issues with the current state of banner advertising. Check out my last diatribe. However, with the rise of drone tech, same day delivery services (Amazon, anyone) and the proliferation of virtual wallets, publishers and media companies will figure out how to implement one-click ordering right from a banner ad. It will be the death of stale KPI’s like impressions, engagement or CTRs and the birth of one, unified performance indicator - sales. When paired with relevant messaging and hyper-targeting, Ads will provide value to the consumer (ease and convenience) and replace the need for most retail shopper marketing.
  • Search engine results will be dominated by Video. In 2014, YouTube became the second largest search engine. With over 300 hours of video uploaded every minute (YouTube Statistics) and consumers now watching over five hours of video per day (eMarketer, April 2015), it’s hard to imagine the search engine algorithms emphasising, if not outright favoring, visual content. Those that not only shift to video, but learn how to optimize it for the search engines, will have a big advantage going forward. First we had #mobilegeddon, and next, I’m calling it now, we will have #videogeddon.

What do you think marketing will be like in the future?

Tweet us @Moosylvania with your thoughts and add to my list.

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