What Does Great Marketing Look Like in 2020… 2050 … and BEYOND?    These Three Technology Trends Provide a Good Hint for the future of marketing.

I did something really refreshing this week – something I know I should do more often (but hardly ever do!).  I gave myself permission to take a couple hours away from the day-to-day, week-to-week client priorities… and just think… think bigger picture stuff.

In this case, I’m not even talking about business strategy stuff for Higgins Marketing Group.  For whatever reason, I was drawn to ask the bigger and broader question, where is this whole marketing thing headed?

It occurred to me that most of the tactics we use today weren’t even in existence 25 years ago – things like webinars, email marketing, online video, social media, marketing automation technology, Google AdWords, etc.  That is pretty amazing when you stop and think about it!

But what does the next 25 years have in store?

Hmmm… no one knows for sure, but I’m convinced of two things:

Higgins Marketing Group - These 3 Tech Trends Will Drive the Future of MarketingFirst, as cool as WE THINK all of today’s marketing technologies are, it won’t compare to what’s in store. We’ll look back in disbelief at actually how “old school” we really were in 2015.

Futurist Kevin Kelly puts it this way in a Business Insider article from 2014… (The Next 20 Years Are Going To Make The Last 20 Look Like We Accomplished Nothing In Tech by Alyson Shontell):  “If we were sent back with a time machine even 20 years, and reported to people what we have right now and described what we were going to get in this device in our pocket — we’d have this free encyclopedia, and we’d have street maps to most of the cities of the world, and we’d have box scores in real time and stock quotes and weather reports, PDFs for every manual in the world … You would simply be declared insane,” Kelly said.

“But the next 20 years are going to make this last 20 years just pale,” he continued. “We’re just at the beginning of the beginning of all these kind of changes. There’s a sense that all the big things have happened, but relatively speaking, nothing big has happened yet. In 20 years from now we’ll look back and say, ‘Well, nothing really happened in the last 20 years.”

Second, there are already some technology trends that point to some pretty dramatic differences in the way we’ll market our products and services in the years to come. Here’s a high-level overview of three biggies that affect the future of marketing:


TECH TREND #1 – Precise Location Tracking

Higgins Marketing Group - These 3 Tech Trends Will Drive the Future of Marketing

While the concept is not new, the technology has become much more accurate over the years.  I’ve heard 911 dispatchers report that when a call comes in via cell, they can pinpoint your location within 3-9 yards… and it takes them about 30 seconds to get the info!  That’s great if you’re in need of medical treatment… but a bit scary knowing your every movement is being tracked each day.

Scary or not, it’s here to stay, and technology is advancing to allow for this location data to be used practically in real time.  Who can be granted access to this information (beyond your communications and OS providers)? How can “your” information be used?  Those are big legal question that will be sorted out over time… but in general, I believe broader, less restrictive access and use will carry the day over the long haul.

The implications for marketing in the future?

  • Heading to the stadium restroom during halftime of the big game… the HOT DOG VENDOR KNOWS… and sends you an instant text with an offer for FREE CHILI!
  • So location data indicates you just moved into the penthouse suite of the Hancock Tower in Chicago… can I drop by and let you test drive a Lamborghini Veneno? Can I send you a couple VIP tickets to our XYZ fund raiser?
  • Walking down 5th Avenue in Manhattan? Wow – my cell lights up… a 15 minute FLASH sale JUST FOR ME at the Apple Store!  (That would actually be VERY cool!)

TECH TREND #2 – The Internet of Things

Higgins Marketing Group - These 3 Tech Trends Will Drive the Future of Marketing

This one can be hard to wrap your head around.  I’m certainly no expert on the topic, so who better to dummy it down and make it understandable!

For years we’ve associated connectivity and the internet with computers, tablets, and smart phones.  But we live in a huge world full of things… and many of these things now have the potential to become connected via the internet. When connected to the internet, it gives us the ability to monitor the performance/status of these things, be alerted of their status, or take specific actions.

Here’s a couple examples:

  • With a connected vehicle, real-time location information can be cross referenced with weather or traffic data to keep you safe or help minimize your commute.
  • With a connected fitness monitor, your personal trainer or doctor can monitor your activity levels, track your progress, and even send you a virtual “good job”.

The implications for marketing in the future?

  • Let’s take that same connected vehicle. Looks like your air filter is in need of changing. There’s a local auto parts store 3 blocks down on the left… click here if you want them to pull a filter for your make and model and have it ready at the counter!
  • Hmm… with your connected Keurig coffee brewer, Green Mountain sees that you brew an average of three cups a day. Records indicate your last purchase of 90 K-Cups was four weeks ago.  This triggers and automatic “10% Off Plus Free Shipping” offer to your smartphone, along with a simple “Send My Coffee Now” button.

TECH TREND #3 – Smaller and Smaller Devices

Higgins Marketing Group - These 3 Tech Trends Will Drive the Future of Marketing20 years ago (or even 10 years ago), I never dreamed that I would be able to use my phone to make a doctor’s appointment, check my email, monitor social media, and shop on Amazon, all while sitting in the parking lot waiting to pick my kids up from school!

Last week we talked about the mobile consumption now surpassing that of traditional computers (and the impact on Google’s new mobile algorithm change).  It’s just the world we live in today, and the gap between mobile and desktop will continue to widen.

But that’s all “old news” now!  Clear the way for a whole new type of connected devices… wearable technology, or “wearables.”  As the name implies, these devices are meant to be worn by the user (think glasses, watches, wrist wraps, things clipped to your belt, or units actually embedded within your clothing).  What sets wearables apart from regular clothing and fashion accessories is they contain smart sensors, and utilize a web connection, often using Bluetooth to connect wirelessly to your smartphone.

The most common forms of wearable technology today are smart watches, sport watches (I love my Garmin!), fitness trackers, and glasses (yes, the “death of Google Glass” has been greatly exaggerated… it’s still a work in progress, but remains a viable technology.  Google and partner companies continue to invest and develop in the technology.)

The implications for marketing in the future?

Two implications immediately come to mind.

  • First, there’s the obvious. For wearables that include displays (e.g., watches), real estate is a premium.  It makes monetizing on mobile look like a walk in the park!  Marketers will need to identify creative and interactive ways to share their messaging on these small screens.  Traditional text-heavy pitches and info collection forms just won’t cut it.
  • Second, marketing through wearables will likely require a hybrid approach. Data will be collected via sensors contained in the wearable technology (location, activity levels, heart rate, etc.).  Then, based on the data collected, “smart” marketing messages can be delivered via the user’s other devices like their smartphone or tablet.

So where are we headed with all this?  What’s next that no one has even thought about yet?  Your guess is as good as mine… and I’m OK with that.  Not knowing exactly what the future of technology has in store is kinda exciting!

Whatever it is, you can bet it will be cool… and you can bet it will represent opportunities for those of us in the marketing world!

Until next week…

Higgins Marketing Group - These 3 Tech Trends Will Drive the Future of Marketing