At a glance, there are two things that stand out, which also make the object of change in today's society: the first is information and the second is speed. Digital era and century of speed are concepts which slowly become more and more familiar, which are part of us, which follow us every step of the way (literally) and which are so obvious that they become tangible. Within these lines, the so-called change is driven by the global social megatrends (demographics, market fragmentation, the emergence of new economies etc.) and by technology and innovation (Big Data, cloud computing, social networks etc.)
The level of high expectations and the constant danger of exhausting people's attention represent the main byproduct of this change. The next generation of consumers was born and marinated in the digital media, taking interactivity, connectivity and participation for granted. Young people, young companies and young societies from all over the world are the ones that define the new shape of things, the global culture determining the others to keep up with this pace. Talent crisis, Generation Y, the retention rate of employees are all aspets that seem to generate problems because, somewhere along the line, there is a maladjustment, a maladjustment to the new megatrends and to the way society takes shape in consumer society 3.0.
The marketing efforts trying to define this consumer society fall in three main categories: strengthening Brand Awareness, creating a deeper meaning for Customer Engagement and empowering Personalization and Measurement. A recent study, developed by Microsoft1, presents today's most pressing marketing challanges and technologies. The goal is to help organizations plan their current investments in technology, talent and business structures, to account for changes in the marketplace. It is forecasted that specific initiatives or developments in the world of marketing will become the major areas of investment in the coming years.
Brand Awareness. It refers to how brands expose audiences to content and imagery to create an emotional connection, awareness and demand. Brand Awareness has already expanded from old media channels to digital channels. The next challange is integrating campaigns across and between media, with messages becoming more implicit, context-sensitive and connected.
Customer Engagement. It refers to how brands interact with customers, how they create differentiated experiences and 1 to 1 relationship with the consumer. Moreover, the ability to bring digital and physical experiences together in compelling ways will lead to even richer opportunities at every stage of the customer journey.
The six major inovation clusters, which will shape the marketing and business trends, are represented by three fairly well-known and well-understood concepts: Content, Social Media Platforms and Big Data. As we move away from the present into the near future, we will see the emergence of three additional innovation clusters in the form of Physical/Digital Blend, Context and the Connected Customer.
Physical and Digital blend. This cluster adresses the proliferation of current and near-future technologies that allow us to physically interact with the digital world (Xbox Kinect), overlay digital content onto the physical world (Google Glass, Augmented Reality) and measure and digitize physical space. The Physical and Digital blend represents the logical succesor to mobile marketing and web marketing.
Context. This cluster represents the move from the explicit actions marketers require customers to perform ("click here to apply", "scan the code to recieve the offer"). Today we have growing mountains of data about customer backgrounds, behavior, preferences and even location. Soon, apps will begin knitting this information together, enabling marketers to offer increasingly personalized experiences at the precise time, the precise place and under the most useful and most relevant format for their beneficiary.
Connected Customer. This cluster represents the meeting point of all the other present trends. It is the place where implicit, personalized and contextual marketing meets more disruptive changes like digital currency, automated purchasing agents and personalized pricing, to orient marketing to the full 360-degree experience of each individual customer.
The purpose and place of marketing in today's technological and informational architecture continues to have immense relevance and, due to the evolution of society towards an even greater digital future, we will be able to see how Marketing and IT become more intertwined. In my opinion, one way we could adjust to the new demands of the market and to the rising expectations of the customer is to...well, do exactly that. There are no shortcuts or magical formulas. We must find paths to "dance to the rhythm of how the world spins", market for the year we live in, keep up with new technology and find ways to integrate the whims of the next generations.
Rob Salkowitz, Dollars, Bits and Atoms: A roadmap to the future of Marketing, MediaPlant ↩
by Ovidiu Mățan
by Mihai Câsu
by Radu Murzea
by Adrian Șuteu