Founder and President at Advertise Purple, Inc.
If you’re even a little bit into movies or television, the classic sci-fi depiction of the future may come to mind as you think about how far we’ve come technologically. Whether it’s Bladerunner if you’re a bit older or Black Mirror if you’re a Netflix new school type, you know what I’m talking about.
Scrolls of text and images popping up on top of high rise buildings in bright colors, automation, the news and advertisements in these films make Times Square in New York City look like child’s play. There are modern, sleek designs for everything and, obviously, flying cars. Touchscreens and high-tech modern appliances introduce themselves to you by name. Maybe they remind you of what you have to do that day or that week. It’s your mom’s birthday, so don’t forget to buy her roses.
These things pretty much already exist, though, right? While the flying cars are still in the works (we’re waiting, Elon), there’s really not all that much catching up left to do from the targeted marketing side of things.
I’ve found, as a business leader in advertising, that creativity is at an all-time high in 2020. But while that’s true, I’d argue even more strongly that artificial intelligence, automation and the data-based anticipation of one’s needs are still extremely advanced but only getting better, particularly in the marketing space.
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Tech In Advertising And Customer Service
In the past, the idea of marketing tailored to the individual was a nice-to-have. Data analysis played a part on Madison Avenue for agencies, but let me shed some light on why this is now a must-have by using a very basic example. Please bear with me.
You’re an agency. Maybe you’d place an advertisement for candy near a school. That’s a good idea based on data since most children like candy, but what if half the kids at that school like Twix while the rest prefer sour gummies? Or maybe they don’t eat candy at all for health reasons.
In 2020, and certainly beyond, I believe we will find that one billboard for Twix has been replaced by 100. But instead of them being hung near the soccer field, they’re located on the devices and in the homes of those kids — where they already live, play and do their homework.
The young child with diabetes perhaps won’t be fed the Twix ad, and the girl who doesn’t like chocolate will be spared of it as well. Maybe she was searching for lollipops recently. Let’s line up some ads for her that list out the best kinds and maybe even have her favorite TikTok star endorsing them. Fun!
Brands in 2020 (and beyond) would be remiss not to take advantage of the amount of consumer data in existence that can easily make the purchasing experience as seamless as possible. Of course, privacy is a concern, but there are ways to make customers’ lives easier without knowing everything about them.
For instance, there is high-level aggregated data available already that makes it easier to find users where they already are without violating privacy concerns. Some examples are following up on incomplete purchasing journeys, serving up products based on past shopping experiences, offering deals based on those experiences and more.
Shopping online has become and should be as efficient as possible. If a product or service makes sense for a certain individual, you should be able to serve it up to them without the customer doing the heavy lifting of finding it and comparing it with other products.
Anticipating a consumer’s needs should continue to become easier, and this is something to celebrate, not fear. Finding a buyer where customers already are and providing them with the best possible deals and comparisons and equipping them with as much context and information as possible can make for a better digital shopping experience.
Of course, these are relatively simplified and watered-down versions of what is really happening in marketing today. But, from my perspective, these technological developments aren’t far off from how tech can work at a much larger scale in business now and in the future.
The Acceleration Of Digitalization
In the startup world, we often talk about disruption. Clearly, the ultimate “unprecedented” (word of the year?) disruptor is Covid-19. Like, duh, it has completely accelerated the urgency for agility, adaptability and transformation.
It’s disrupted industry structures and business models across all verticals across the board. Not to mention, the digitalization of the economy is being rapidly accelerated. While this isn’t all that newsworthy or interesting, I think the following bit is.
The World Economic Forum projects that approximately 70% of news value created in the economy over the next 10 years will be based on digital models. However, 47% of the world’s population remains unconnected to the internet.
So, while the smartphones, digital media and advertising in general in first-world countries are kind of putting us in that movie and TV show world that we envision, that’s not the case across the entire world. And while we’re blessed with all of this technology and with a future where entrepreneurialism is more accessible, many around the world are still far behind. The onus is on all of us to help those who aren’t as connected become connected.
There are plenty of opportunities to go around. We should be sharing and globalizing rather than hoarding what we have for ourselves. The world will be more connected due to our digital economy.
In time, our borders will mean less. Through e-commerce, we’ll be more connected than ever before, and everything will be immensely specialized. Sure, this may be decades out. But I think we’re getting there faster than many think. And I for one cannot wait to be a part of that global digital economy.