Merely 10 years ago, YouTube and Facebook didn't exist. It's really hard to believe. Today, the two are critical marketing platforms at the heart of many companies' social strategies. The marketing landscape is changing fast. The marketer who understands what's coming next has a distinct advantage over the competition.
The future of marketing is going to look quite different than the marketing of today. Some of the most significant changes will include:
As a marketer, you rely on various analytics platforms to measure your marketing performance and to make your marketing decisions. The problem is that marketing analytics up to now have been historical in nature. Your analytics data tells you what has worked in the past, while your real challenge is to figure out what's going to work in the future.
Real-time analytics is now gaining momentum. However, this tends to be just a snapshot of a much larger data universe that needs to be considered in order to maximize your results.
In the future, get ready for predictive analytics. Imagine if your analytics software ran multiple scenarios for your campaigns, revealing their performance before you even started them. In this way, expect analytics packages to evolve into more useful enablers of future success.
Screens are proliferating all around us. We now see screens in restaurants, airports, or just about anywhere we wait in line. We also use various mobile devices, each with their own screen. If it feels like screens are everywhere, fasten your seat belt. You haven't seen anything yet!
In the future, any surface can become an interactive screen, whether it's your kitchen countertop, refrigerator, car dashboard, or even the table at which you're sitting at a local cafe. How will your marketing capitalize on the opportunity?
Many have called the banner ad dead. Actually, the numbers prove the opposite. According to comScore, there were a whopping 5.3 trillion display ads served in 2012, up 1 trillion since 2009.
The fastest growing marketing firm on the Inc. 500 this year is DataXu, a programmatic marketing solutions provider, with a three-year growth rate of 21,337 percent. Advertising is anything but dead.
What's going to change, though, is that advertising will become more integrated into the fabric of products themselves. In his book Buyology, Martin Lindstrom points out that Coca-Cola, in its sponsorship of the TV show American Idol, gained a tremendous lift in recall of its commercials by going well beyond product placement. Yet, viewers remarkably remembered less about Ford's commercials than when the study had commenced, even though Ford paid the same sponsorship fee as Coca-Cola. For the most part, Ford relied solely on traditional advertising.
Integration leads to a more memorable experience, whereas no integration means your marketing dollars will be wasted.
Mobile as the New Hub
We've long held the notion that the desktop is our "Digital Hub." You walk into an office and there are desktops everywhere. That's going to change, as mobile becomes our new Digital Hub. Consider:
- There are currently 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions in the world. (Source: Wikipedia) The U.N. points out that more people around the world have access to cell phones than to toilets.
- Smartphone shipments are expected to surpass 1 billion for the first time ever in 2013. (Source: IDC)
- Seventy percent of smartphone users in the U.S. say they won't leave home without it. (Source: ABI Research)
Just check out any pre-teen today - they are already mobile-first. The next wave of children are going to be mobile-only. Think about customers who will know your brand exclusively through their mobile experiences. Is your mobile presence strong enough?
Your target audience is made up of real people with real feelings. They don't care if they encounter your brand online versus offline, or via one channel versus another. All they care about is the brand experience. This means omnichannel marketing is going to gain in importance in connecting with your audience.
Are you doing enough to confirm how your prospective customers feel when they experience your brand? Antonio Damasio, professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California, states that emotion is a necessary ingredient in almost all decisions. Damasio found that when the part of the brain that generated emotions was damaged, people were unable to make decisions such as what to buy.
In the future, expect emotion-detection technology to be built into our devices, enabling you to gauge real-time reactions to your website, advertising, and conversion funnels. Imagine the ramifications to your marketing.
The future of marketing will be vastly different from the marketing of today. Marketing methods, approaches, and tools are transforming, as are the ways you will make your future marketing decisions. Are you ready?