Here are five thought-provoking predictions for what marketing will look like in 20 years.
Marketing changes so fast these days, even one-year predictions dates pretty quickly. But I was intrigued by the challenge to envision B2B marketing, especially in the demand generation arena, over the long haul.
The gauntlet was thrown down at an “all hands” meeting hosted by one of my clients for their marketing team and key agency partners. It was a take-home test, so we were able to reach out for ideas and distill our best educated guesses. Impressively, the final report featured 115 responses!
Here are the five I found most inspiring:
1) Multi-threaded branding.
“The articulation of an organization’s brand to its customers and prospects is no longer delivered via a vision statement or tagline, but a series of individual thoughts that complement each other, as well as the mindset of the person receiving it….
“Hundreds of digital experiences spread across all online channels rather than one big site. The successful ones get ramped up and iterated on. The unsuccessful ones get pulled and replaced with a new experience. A campaign is never done, you just continue to iterate and evolve actually using what you learn in real time.”
2) “Always-on” Mobile Devices.
“Yes, your phone will be listening! Rather than activating our devices when we want them, they’ll always been monitoring our environment and reacting accordingly. For example, rather than activating an application to identify a song playing in the background, you’ll have access to a list of every song that was playing in the background over the course of day, and where you were when it played.
“This will enable deep profiling—of conversations you’ve had, places you’ve been, sounds around you, locations you’ve visited. This deep profiling will enable extraordinary targeting.”
3) Attention spans will be reduced by 75%.
Short Content. Quick Message. Done.
4) Marketers become publishers.
“Marketers will compete directly with B2B publishers for audiences…individuals and companies are becoming more important information sources. A small number of forward-looking marketers will take advantage of this over the next two to three years, establishing viable media businesses that compete with traditional publishers within 5 years.”
5) The equity of an organization will focus on “reputation” vs. “brand”.
“Reputation management will become a focal point of marketing.”
If some of these seem much closer to reality already (especially 4 and 5), consider this: Recently, a Forrester analyst predicted that marketing will change as much in the next 5 years as in the last 50. So if this prediction comes to fruition—and I think it will—it will be an exciting next few years!
Think the pace of change in marketing is exaggerated? Got your own 20-year predictions? Please share them in the comments.
PS: Interestingly, a VP at Arista Records said the music industry would change more in 5 years than in the last 50—in 1999. No doubt it seemed like an overstatement at the time, but he’s surely regarded as a visionary now!