Here is an HBR post on the future of marketing that quotes Gerd Leonard, billed as “one of the leading media-futurists in the world” by the Wall Street Journal. You can see the full post here, but the first prediction is the one that is most important:
“By 2020, most interruptive marketing will be gone. Instead, marketing will be personalized, customized, and adapted to what I have expressed as my wishes or opt-ins — which essentially means that advertising becomes content. Data will be essential, and as users, we'll be paying with our data — bartering a bit of our personal information in return for the use of platforms and services. Customers will be forming relationships with brands that are built on trust, and if a company breaks that trust, it will be very quickly viral and very quickly over. By 2020, unauthorized targeting of consumers will essentially be useless. I, as a consumer, am going to choose who I want to hear from. I'm going to like things, or I won't like them, and you will have to earn that from me.”
I certainly agree, it is the central idea behind content marketing and why it has become the top focus for CMOs. If consumers are in control of their media choices in 2013, what will seven more years of technological advances bring to the average person? Also, by 2020 a new generation of marketers will be ascending to the CMO/CEO chair and many rote legacy tactics will be history.
We have a hard time imagining a 2020 world with no network TV ads or print ads, but that day will eventually come. Most consumers under 30 today will likely never subscribe to a print newspaper or magazine, own a landline, buy a CD/DVD or schedule their viewing around network television. They will be more interested in user-generated content and branded content than older generations. And, they will be less jaded about their relationships with brands than those of us who grew up with ads screaming at us to buy, buy, buy. Social media has taught us that brands are shared with consumers and the illusion of control is gone. The future of brands is about trust and shared values.
As mobile devices become our primary communication devices, the tolerance for interruptive marketing will continue to decrease, as the intrusion seems more personal.
The questions you need to think about: What does your customer want from a brand? Is your brand ready for the shift? How about your skills and career? We are in a transitional period and things are moving fast – are you ready?