Adobe Digital Dialogue

How will digital marketing evolve in the next 10 years?

Most of you would have heard of pro­gram­mat­ic adver­tis­ing across web­sites and apps and its abil­i­ty to auto­mate a lot of media buy­ing process­es that were man­u­al­ly done as recent as 5 years ago. The news you might not have heard a lot about is pro­gram­mat­ic TV — a rel­a­tive­ly new inno­va­tion hav­ing the abil­i­ty to buy and sell TV media inven­to­ry pro­gram­mat­i­cal­ly. In addi­tion to expand­ing to chan­nels out­side of web and app (like TV), the inno­va­tions on the pro­gram­mat­ic front are also work­ing on automat­ing the tasks that still require man­u­al input, like select­ing the rel­e­vant audi­ence for a prod­uct to unearthing insights from the cam­paign reports with rel­e­vant attri­bu­tion mod­els applied to them.

Anoth­er sim­i­lar tech­nol­o­gy lets a brand per­son­al­ize all their inter­ac­tions across every touch point with a cus­tomer. These inter­ac­tions could be hap­pen­ing across any kind of screen — be it the tra­di­tion­al dig­i­tal dis­plays of a web­site or app or on a dig­i­tal screen at the air­port or a mall. As a con­sumer, I would flat out reject a brand with incon­sis­ten­cy in its mes­sag­ing across chan­nels. No won­der, omni-chan­nel has quick­ly become a recur­ring theme across most mar­ket­ing dis­cus­sions. I recent­ly worked with a bank­ing client who is work­ing on cre­at­ing dig­i­tal dis­plays for its net­work of branch­es, dis­play­ing offers on loans, cards and oth­er bank­ing prod­ucts depend­ing on the kind of users pass­ing by the screen. Using NFC and geofenc­ing, these dig­i­tal dis­plays are going to com­mu­ni­cate with the passer­by on their prod­uct choic­es, ini­ti­ate cus­tomer requests, let them fill up forms or share ser­vice feed­back. The con­text of these com­mu­ni­ca­tions is stored and restored when you engage with the brand across oth­er chan­nels — be it their web­site or app, and the user starts their jour­ney from that point onwards.

Both the above sce­nar­ios seemed like a set­ting from a futur­is­tic nov­el like the Brave New World. It won’t be long before these sce­nar­ios become com­mon­place. Bill gates once said “We always over­es­ti­mate the change that will occur in the next two years and under­es­ti­mate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let your­self be lulled into inac­tion”.

A com­mu­ni­ca­tion that maps and man­ages the user jour­ney across mul­ti­ple touch­points is the future of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy. Tech­nol­o­gy is going to play a piv­otal role in enabling and more impor­tant­ly, automat­ing these expe­ri­ences. Giv­en the amount of AI that is being added into every sys­tem these days, com­put­ers are build­ing up the abil­i­ty to learn from their con­text and take a deci­sion. When machines start mak­ing mar­ket­ing deci­sions such as automat­ing exe­cu­tion — involv­ing but not lim­it­ed to start­ing and stop­ping cam­paigns, orches­trat­ing across chan­nels and deliv­er­ing rec­om­men­da­tions, one would won­der where humans would fit as part of this equa­tion.

If I take a stock of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing as a pro­fes­sion, it start­ed pick­ing up around a decade ago, and is prob­a­bly at its high­est point right now. How the role of a dig­i­tal mar­keter will look like in ten years from now is anybody’s guess but I am very cer­tain of at least one thing — it will be very dif­fer­ent from how it looks today. It would cer­tain­ly not involve fret­ting over rec­on­cil­ing num­bers, hav­ing to deal with incom­plete user per­sonas, and treat­ment of chan­nels in silos.

At Adobe Sym­po­sium Mum­bai on the 4th of May, indus­try experts will gath­er to talk about the future of mar­ket­ing and will be show­cas­ing the next gen­er­a­tion dig­i­tal inno­va­tions. Reg­is­ter your­self for the event and let’s con­tin­ue this con­ver­sa­tion.

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  • By Tom Williamson - 8:26 PM on April 5, 2017   Reply

    This reminds me heav­i­ly of the ads you see on sci-fi films. Ads that react to you as you walk by, dis­play­ing what they think you want to see. And with the advance­ments in flat screens, that future is start­ing to feel like a not too dis­tant real­i­ty.

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