Well, how about 5 of them? Marketing revolutions, that is. That’s what Owen Shapiro, author of Brand Shift: The Future of Brands and Marketing foretells is coming down the pike. And they’re big ones—the kind of moves that will change the face of marketing as know it. There’s no getting away from the fact that technology is changing faster than a politician’s opinion—Social Media, Digital Marketing, Big Data—and it’s already hard to keep up with the terminology, not to mention the brand impact. But the next couple of decades are going to bring about a sea-change of the forces driving the core of marketing. Shapiro outlines five of the big changes on the marketing horizon:
- The End of the Information Age—the time has finally arrived where we are not just bombarded by data from all sides, but that the sheer volume of data has actually mutated our social DNA. “The exponential growth and convergence of so many new technologies—combined with a growing population of tech- and media-savvy consumers—will usher in a revolutionary era of social change, the likes of which humanity has never seen before.”
- The Shift from Institutional to Individual—if you think personalized marketing is trending up, you ain’t seen nothing yet. According to Shapiro, “Brands…have gone from being purely institutional inventions to personal expressions of almost any kind. Customers will continue to demand more transparency, integrity, and responsiveness from those they choose to do business with—and businesses will have little choice but to comply.”
- Artificial Intelligence Becomes Less…Artificial—sure, IBM has Watson, and the Apple Watch makes us all feel like Dick Tracy, but the future of AI is not in faster calculations, it’s in artificial imagination. This is a huge shift in the way humans perceive the world, and “brands that can help people ride the wave of change to a brighter future, or help people cope and adapt, will be in high demand—as will the brands that affirm human values and identities.”
- Rise of the Digital Natives—in case you didn’t know, Digital Natives are those born after 1997. Like the Millennials before them, Digital Natives not only embrace technology, but were actually born to it. To them, the accelerating world of data and marketing is commonplace. “Digital Natives do not experience the flood of information hurling at them as anything more than just “the way things are,” and always have been—for them.” And woe be unto them who do not adjust their marketing accordingly.
- From Selling to Sharing—“Since Millennials and Digital Natives have been aggressively marketed to their entire lives, they are also extremely savvy about the media they consume. Direct, blatant pitches don’t work on them. In the future, selling is going to be less about persuasion and more about participation.” Trust, loyalty, and transparency—the opinions of trusted partners—this is what will be valued to consumers.
Sure, this all sounds a little scary, but despite the hyperbole, the future is neither bleak nor haunting. But it could be intimidating for those who aren’t already looking ahead. Our advice: get ahead of the curve. Start a subtle shift in your marketing strategies to account for the future of marketing and branding. Begin a campaign to become a trusted advisor to your customers rather than just another brand. Remember, in the future if you want to sell more, sell less.
And as always, stay #TopRight.