The moment that The Wall Street Journal first was able to come up with an event and magazine series named The Future of Everything, I couldn’t stop myself from laughing. However, my curiosity soon abounded, and I began reading all kinds of things, from issues of fully autonomous cars to the new jobs that are being created as the age of artificial intelligence is revealed in the future of software.
This made me think about how marketing will evolve in the coming years. As a digital marketing field for over twenty-four years, I’ve seen the complete chaos that has afflicted the area (and some say it continues to). When I started working in the industry in 1994, experts in the field claimed the death of television and that broadcasting was soon replaced by online-based programming.
Twenty-four years on, television accounts for over 30% of the total U.S. media ad expenditures, as per EMarketer, despite the decrease in gross rating points and the staggering dispersion. The time-shifting DVRs have continued significant investments in television advertisements. However, every network tries to develop apps requiring viewers to view ads to stream their content. At the same time, ad-free Netflix remains the most popular platform for cord-cutters. That’s what the market believes in the opinion of the Wall Street Journal. According to Pew, 61% of young adults in America U.S. mainly watch streaming television.
What’s Next For Marketing?
In my last piece, I challenged the value that content marketing has when we approach a point of saturation. We have abundant content, and more are released every second of the day. It took nearly an extra quarter century than the pundits in 1994 predicted they would, but we are beginning to witness fundamental shifts in how companies take their business to market. Many important themes are surfacing:
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
However, despite all the hype, machines, technology, and intelligent systems allow instantaneous decision-making and are becoming more affordable and available to every business. If we borrow a lesson from Wall Street, the stock floor traders on exchanges cannot be compared to machines capable of analyzing more details than the human brain could comprehend. Marketing is currently on the verge of a disruptive path and will change fundamentally with AI.
Automation, Chatbots, And Growth Hacking
As businesses continue to collect their data, they can automatize more of their processes and become more relevant and exciting to their most valuable customers. While today’s chatbots are unwieldy, they are gradually improving and are likely to be an essential tool to tackle issues. The idea of growth hacking will be robust as companies seek ways to use less, leading to more technology-driven solutions to business problems of all kinds.
Blockchain And Cryptocurrency
As a marketing tool, it holds the potential to rebuild trust, security, and a more transparent and valued chain driven by customers. With all the bad actors that have entered initial coin offerings (ICOs), the cryptocurrency can change how consumers gain back control of their data (and make money from it) to the evolution of the compensation model for digital marketing. When the kinks are solved, the technology framework could result in innovative innovation and a much-needed change in advertising’s data security and compensation strategies.
Since Peppers & Rogers envisioned The One to One Future in their book in the early 90s, businesses have worked hard to improve their customers and communicate differently with different groups. But, it’s only been recently that technology caught up in implementing the fundamental concept of a 1:1 future. This continues with marketing because we’re witnessing the rise of products built on demand (and not just using 3D printers). We’re moving away from the one-product-fits-all model in favor of a build-me-a-product-just-for-me model.
The job itself has been transformed. According to a Gallup report, The State of America’s Workplace has about 100 million full-time workers, and 51 percent are unsatisfied. This means they feel disconnected from their work and only do the minimum. A further 16 percent of them are “actively disengaged.”
When you add retainers from agencies being replaced by project work, you are left with a growing pool of freelance talent and many websites and companies catering to the gig market. The on-demand workforce changes the way agencies can serve their clients moving forward. There’s no sign that it will change at any time shortly.
Privacy And GDPR
This year will be the year when consumers start returning a certain amount of authority over the use of personal information due to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). As they regain control over their data, businesses will have to reconsider how they bill clients for previously free services in the absence of data. This could also have the potential to be an internet-based version of the “Do Not Call” list for telemarketers.
Virtual (And Augmented) Reality
Even as I struggle to achieve the critical mass needed, the initial Virtual Reality (VR) project has proved awe-inspiring. Although I adored Charity: Water before my journey to Ethiopia, the virtual reality experience was the first experience I felt that I was there when a well was constructed for a highly grateful village.
Yes, there’s plenty taking place in the marketing world. With more than 6,829 marketing technology in use today, marketing with digital tools can be overwhelming. The only thing that has yet to change is the need to map your customer’s journey and understand how you can provide value (rather than just selling). It’s thrilling to be in the marketing field, despite the massive change in how we previously operated.