The future of marketing isn’t easy to predict. Sure, marketers can guess—with a fair bit of accuracy—what concepts or practices will eventually permeate the market. Virtually every marketer understands the value of word of mouth, for instance, and so will continually do what they can to encourage it. But who could have predicted the explosion of word of mouth in social media, and this new communication model’s impact on businesses’ reputations, and even revenue? Before its 2007 release, few marketers could have anticipated the success and proliferation of the iPhone, and now a host of other smartphones—and the opportunity those devices would present in terms of marketing. Savvy marketers who followed the early but steady rise of smartphone adoption, however, likely foresaw the potential of mobile marketing.
Marketers today face a much more fragmented and technologically transient world than their pre-2007 counterparts. From mobile payments to the Internet of Things, the possibilities for disruption are as numerous as they are game-changing. However, just as the seeds of the mobile and social revolutions were sown years before the fact, the signs of the what’s next are already upon us. Marketers just need to know where to look and, more important, what to look for. Here are a few areas of advancement to consider to help marketers prepare for the next phase of disruption.
Mobile will continue its meteoric rise in popularity among consumers. Not just because mobile technology is advancing at an alarming rate, but because consumers have grown used to carrying their email, photos, and videos with them. If any change is to disrupt mobile, it’s likely the growing popularity of the phablet because of the increased screen size and content real estate. Wearable technology may also play a significant role in the expansion of mobile. The key here is that consumers want to take their tech with them. Marketers who accommodate this desire—especially while facilitating seamless cross-device experiences—will rule the day.
Apple made a big splash with its announcement of mobile payments via near field communication (NFC) late last year, but the mobile payment market has been primed for quite some time now. Retailers in big cities such as New York and L.A. have been accepting mobile payments for years through services such as Google Wallet and Paypal. Now, with Apple’s massive brand following, mobile payments could very well become the norm.
As mobile grows, so too does the necessity of mobile integration, where applicable. Outdoor screens, especially those of the interactive variety, could prove essential as consumers grow more comfortable with interacting with these screens. We see the potential for this market all over New York City. Between the Verifone screens in the city’s cabs, the new interactive digital kiosks in the train stations, and all of Times Square, this technological initiative is all but assured to take off in the next few years.
If the success of Hulu, Netflix, and Spotify weren’t enough to take streaming seriously, consider treasure trove of streamer data available to marketers who aim to deliver relevant, timely messages to consumers. With the future of cable TV as cloudy as ever, and high-profile networks such as HBO entering the streaming market, marketers should prepare themselves for the inevitable dominance of media streaming.