Have you seen the movie Ready Player One by Steven Spielberg, or maybe even read the book by Ernest Cline?
The Marketing Of The Future
If you have not done so, I can, without spoiling the end, say that it is about a near, dystopian future where the whole world has fallen into disrepair and the only thing that makes us humans feel good is a game in VR (Virtual Reality). Inside the game, all their “real” lives “live”. Pretty sad really. But enough about this…
Is the future already here?
I talked to an old friend who told me that Covid-19 has accelerated the development of their business enormously. Something that last year they did not think was possible became a reality in the autumn of 2020.
They have always had the vision to make a completely digital fair but thought that it would take many years before it became possible and there was enough demand. As Covid-19 accelerated digitalisation, it now became possible for them to create a completely digital meeting place.
The digital fair that they managed to set up was a success. They have never before had so many participants (at the physical fair) and more companies now had the opportunity to exhibit. Visitors avoided travel time and the exhibitors did not have to travel around the country and the kingdom with staff and equipment to exhibit. This resulted in large savings both for the environment but also for their respective wallets.
What is happening right now regarding marketing?
Given everything that is happening in the world right now, the development in many areas is being accelerated very much. For better or worse. Many people face great challenges while digitalisation is flourishing, but what is really happening to us humans? Do we keep up with the development?
My own reflection is that we are slipping behind something when digital development flies by, which affects us in many different ways. Both privately and in working life, we constantly encounter new technologies, systems and products that will help us become efficient, productive and better versions of ourselves.
We hang out more and more on social media, forums and in digital networks. The development of AI (Artificial Intelligence) has also come a long way. It sometimes feels almost impossible to keep up. In any case, I do not.
When it comes to AI, I recently watched the hyped documentary The Social Dilemma on Netflix. There they told a rather interesting thing – About 20 years ago, technical products were sold to consumers, while today it is free with e.g. Facebook and other similar applications and tools. As we today hang more and more on social media, we feed them with lots of information and data about ourselves that allows advertisers to adapt their messages at the individual level.
In this way, we and our personal information become the product that, for example, Facebook sells to its advertisers (eg Cambridge Analytica). A scary thought to think about.
As we constantly give away more and more information, the algorithms also get better and better, which means that AI will become sharper and sharper.
And how does this affect marketing? Well, that message can be adapted on an individual level in an increasingly precise way when it comes to advertising. For advertisers, it is great to be able to adapt the message based on all components of the user’s life. Of course, this makes the ads more relevant to you, but how do you as a person feel that they know everything about you?
When it comes to search results in the search engines, these algorithms are constantly being improved to be able to deliver the best answer to your question. In any case, I feel this is a good thing. The best idea ever is that you as a user should get the best possible information. But at what price? The dilemma here is to choose between relevant information and disclosure of one’s personal data.
What will our future look like when it comes to marketing?
The development is going at a furious pace and we barely have time to adapt to the new technology. AI is really on the rise and it will both help and possibly overthrow us.
When it comes to AI, it could soon be able to write texts that are as good, if not better, than a human can produce. This could in a way help us to produce content very efficiently. But what if the content produced is incorrect and then posted on the internet? Or what happens when AI writes better texts than humans… What should today’s writers do in the future?
As I mentioned above, we are constantly feeding all platforms such as Google, Youtube, Instagram, Facebook etc with more and more personal information.
Today, for example, when you Google something, Google’s algorithms look at your previous searches in the search engine, where in the world you are and a number of other parameters. Based on this, a search result will then be given to you within a few seconds.
I believe that in the future, data will also be collected from other platforms. That is, you scan all your tracks that you leave behind on the internet and then give you a result that is tailored to you. Imagine that you are applying to a digital marketing agency.
The result that then comes up is then agencies in the city you live in, which have employees with the same values as you, who have the same interests as you, who have the same humour as you and who also aim to make the world a better place.
You will then receive an answer that matches you as a person and your role at the company.
I also believe that digital networks will grow more and more. We see that niche groups online are growing and growing. In these groups, knowledge is shared in a smooth way between the users. If you already want to be at the forefront now, I can say that it is a good idea to start these types of digital groups and communities yourself as this will be a natural meeting place in the future. If you then combine the digital with physical encounters, magic will arise.
Will everything happens digitally in the future?
According to surveys, 50-70% of buyers want to do the research themselves before contacting a seller. I think this is something that will only increase in the future.
In combination with this, we also see that online sales in B2B are slowly but surely increasing. This means that more and more business in B2B takes place completely digitally. Without a salesperson being involved. If this increase continues, it will mean that companies will need to change to meet customers’ new buying behaviours.
Roles as a customer success manager will probably be increasingly important, ie those who take care of the customer on an ongoing basis after a deal has been made. This also means that the digital presence is crucial for companies to even succeed in bringing in new business.
As a salesperson, I myself have experienced a major change in how customers buy, only in recent months. In the past, I have run to meetings daily. If I was efficient, maybe I could squeeze in 4-5 meetings in one day. But then I did not have time for much else as the travel time took up much of the day.
Today I can have 4 meetings before lunch thanks to video meetings. I also experience that customers are more inclined to buy without us meeting IRL. When this becomes normal, the seller will be able to get better efficiency in his sales and if we also combine this with online sales, there is a lot to gain.
Some investigations into the future
Reconnaissance No. 1
To connect back to the introduction, I would like to say that VR will probably be the mix between IRL and Online Sales, that will be able to meet companies and customers in a smooth and efficient way completely online.
What will this mean for marketing? Well, that market needs to learn more about how to create a completely digital customer journey. If it happens that VR becomes a part of working life, it requires a lot of work to learn how the technology works and how to create a really good VR experience.
Reconnaissance No. 2
Digital networks will grow. Niche closed groups online will increase. We want to join like-minded people with the same interests and where we have the opportunity to learn new things in the field.
What will this mean for marketing? Well that it can be a good idea to be the initiator of such a digital network and connected to this you can design physical meetings to maximize the value for the members.
Reconnaissance No. 3
If every little step on the internet is tracked and saved to feed AI’s development, it will form the basis for who or which you are paired with and what content you are exposed to.
What will this mean for marketing? Well, that what all employees do on the internet daily will be added together and included when you as a company are presented to those who are out looking for what you offer.
Reconnaissance No. 4
This is a bit of a quick brain drain but something I thought about a lot. We may get tired of the digital heat, that we are “persecuted” and therefore choose to leave the social platforms.
We are making a digital uprising and choosing other ways to find information and become more analogue. Here, personal meetings and networks become very important. Maybe traditional media will also return as there will be attractive channels for spreading messages to those who have made a digital uprising? What will this mean for marketing? Do not forget the personal networks and the strength of them. You never know when the shift will come.
Reconnaissance No. 5
Steven Spielberg was right! The world is completely destroyed and we live our lives through a VR game. What anxiety!
What will this mean for marketing? Yes, that nothing else means anything but VR and everything that happens in there. Your job as marketing manager will be to create campaigns and product placements that mean that those who, for example, play a VR game also buy their digital lunch for their avatar in a game and not at McDonald’s.