As many of you know, Boston and the surrounding environs are hosting multiple FutureM events this week. FutureM is a multi-location conference highlighting the newest technologies and their impact on the future of marketing. The future of marketing is in flux. Those of us involved in marketing are witness to the shift from the dominant broadcast paradigm to a new interactive paradigm.
Not attending any of the conference events, and thus without the benefit of the insight provided by the practitioners driving the paradigm shift, makes offering an academic perspective regarding the future of marketing a challenge. But that’s precisely the purpose of this blog post.
What are the characteristics most closely associated with the future of marketing? Marketing is destined to become increasingly fluid, responsive, interactive, efficient, personalized, targeted, location-based and mobile.
Fluid – as marketing moves from the broadcast paradigm to the interactive paradigm, lead-time for developing and placing promotional messages is reduced. As marketing efforts move more to the online and mobile environment, the opportunity to monitor and change the message to increase performance grows. Marketers possessing the tools/skills to accurately monitor campaigns and to make changes on the fly will succeed in the new interactive marketing environment.
Responsive – in the future marketing efforts will become more responsive to the wants and needs of both the target market and the client. In the future, metrics will play a larger role in determining the success or failure of marketing campaigns. Delivering the correct message to the correct target market in order to generate the best potential return on investment (ROI) will become less art and more science. From a target market perspective, fluidity and responsiveness are interdependent.
Interactive – the broadcast paradigm is passive whereas the future of marketing is active. Those in the target market have the ability to interact with marketers in real-time and can participate in the generation of the marketing message. In addition, placement of marketing in online and mobile games offers an interesting opportunity.
Efficient – in the future, the ability to calculate an accurate ROI provides marketers with an opportunity to optimize marketing efforts. Optimization today remains an elusive concept. By reducing wasted marketing expenditures and tailoring messages based on target market responses, the mythical goal of efficiency is destined to become a reality.
Personalized – the future of marketing is one of personalized or customized campaigns. As we move away from the one-to-many communication model, individual targeting and interpersonal communication becomes the norm instead of the exception. Combined with the category below (targeted), marketing messages in the future will be customized at the individual level.
Targeted – the ability to deliver personalized messages is made even more powerful when combined with data. Demographics, psychographics, behavior and usage, historical purchase data, responsiveness to past marketing campaigns and geography will play an important role in the marketing messages that those in the target market receive.
Location-based – in the future, where you are and why you’re there will play an increasingly important role in marketing. Offers from nearby competitors, suggested venues and activities, historical points of interest, sales and promotion information and consumer evaluations/ratings of the same will play change based on your location.
Mobile – coupled with the above, more marketing campaigns will be delivered via mobile devices in the future based on location. P-commerce and p-marketing will gain in importance as the technological capabilities of smartphones and iPads (or similar devices) increase to the point that computer ownership becomes unnecessary.
The main reason for the paradigm shift? Technological advances and Moore’s Law in action. On the consumer side, the cost of increasingly sophisticated technology is decreasing to the point where it is nearly affordable to all in the North American market. In the future, television, video and digital outdoor advertising remain important but serve to drive traffic to online and mobile campaigns. The importance of traditional print advertising is expected to diminish. The ability to reach targeted consumers individually via mobile devices at an affordable rate negates the need for investment in print media.
On the business side, customer relationship management (CRM), data collection and data mining are becoming refined to the point where CRM systems will provide actual value (as opposed to hypothetical value). The goal of marketers in the future will be to collect as much data and information as possible at the individual level and to use this information to predict responsiveness to customized marketing efforts.
The new era of marketing is the social/mobile marketing era. Micro-targeting is the future of marketing. And this future is becoming a reality because of the merging of marketing and information technology.
What do you think the future of marketing will be?