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.