The future of marketing is coming fast. In the next couple of years, marketers will begin harnessing the power of cutting-edge technology like virtual reality and artificial intelligence to customize their customer experience. And in less than one year, we’ll say goodbye to the cookie era and embrace new methods of data collection.
All that disruption means marketers are standing on the precipice of an exciting new era: one where we combine our creativity with science fiction-esque technology. The result? A buyer’s journey as sleek, streamlined, and elegant as the device your product or service is being advertised on.
While this may sound daunting, we’re fortunate to have an intrepid guide for our journey into the future.
American Marketing Association Chicago chapter had the pleasure of hosting Mathew Sweezey, the Director of Market Strategy at Salesforce, for an exciting session called The Future of Marketing, part of AMA Chicago’s Signature Speakers Series.
Consumers are Evolving
Technology is not the only thing that’s changing: so are consumers, and – more importantly – their buying habits. Access to a nearly infinite amount of information, products, and services means that consumers are more discerning than ever.
“Seventy-five percent of consumers have tried new brands during the past six months,” Sweezey said. “Sixty percent of them plan to stick with the new brands they chose. This is a new battle for brand loyalty.”
This means the entire buyer’s journey is also evolving. Innovative companies like Ray-Ban have cleverly condensed the entire experience into one interactive app. You can view a gallery of glasses, see them on your face in real-time, and purchase your favorite in just a few minutes.
Today, these ads exist in a place called the edge. According to Sweezey,“The edge is any place that is not a traditional brand or retail site. Instagram is the edge. And when we start to look at the edge and new possibilities, we see two things happening: the elongation of a buying cycle as well the compression of a buying cycle. And the compression is something called a full-funnel moment. These are a radical new concept in the future.”
The Transformation of Marketing
The digital world is changing fast, and marketers will have to change along with it. But changes in marketing need to go above and beyond simply renovating the old strategies, according to Sweezey. Instead, organizations will need to completely transcend beyond the old ways and re-envision how they approach everything from their creative focus to operations and data.
Which companies are rocking the transcendent marketing game? Sweezey points to Tesla. The innovative electric car company has turned the car-buying journey upside down. The entire purchase is done virtually, and the client’s purchase funds the actual manufacturing of the car.
That’s a huge 180-degree turn from visiting a brick-and-mortar car lot to buy a car that’s ready and waiting to drive off the lot. But it’s exactly this kind of technologically-driven, out-of-the-box thinking that Sweezey thinks is essential for future marketing success.
Goodbye, Cookies! Hello, First-Party Data!
Cookies are more than just a tasty treat. For marketers, they’re digital breadcrumbs that allow us to track consumer behavior and buying habits online. Cookies also help marketers keep their products front-and-center by splashing them across the devices of potential buyers. In other words, cookies are some of the most well-loved morsels in the smorgasbord of digital marketing resources.
Sadly, the cookie era is coming to an end. That means cookie-loving marketers will need to transition to collecting first-party data. “Organizations that rely more on first-party data than third party data for add efficiency and ad targeting see a fifty-percent lift in ad performance,” Sweezey said.
For building up your company’s library of data, Sweezey has cooked up a menu of innovative options to select from:
- Loyalty/rewards programs
- Brand-specific apps
- Online communities
- Entertainment platforms
Most marketing strategies will not incorporate the full list of options, but instead use a combination of approaches to create multiple data sources. When pulled together, this data can be used to build consumer profiles with helpful insights into prospective and returning customers alike.
Gaze into the Crystal Ball of Marketing
Tech enthusiasts will be pleased to learn that the future of marketing will be rife with exciting new ways to interact with consumers. Sweezey closed out his presentation with a glimpse into the far-future of marketing.
- Deepfake ads: You’ve probably seen silly deep-fake videos on the internet, but Sweezey says that this same technology will eventually be used to personalize ads by placing the consumer’s face front-and-center. Marketers can also use it to reach international audiences by seamlessly adapting ads to any language of their choice.
- Facial recognition: As marketers, we’re always wondering how our audience is reacting to our content. Eventually, we’ll be able to rely on facial recognition technology to tell us exactly that. These tools are capable of measuring the vast range of human emotions, from happiness to boredom and anger, and will help marketers fine-tune their campaigns for the best possible audience reception.
- Real-time product placement: Platforms like Netflix will be able to place products into shows and movies in real-time. Each viewer will see different brands based on their data profile.
Keep Your Eyes on the Horizon
The world of marketing is poised to undergo an exciting transformation over the next decade.
Driven by changes in technology and consumer behavior, marketers will be tasked with the challenge to transcend their marketing strategies to keep pace with tech-savvy consumers.