iConsumer & the Golden Age of Marketing
The future of marketing like you’ve never seen it
Welcome to the Golden Age of advertising. Not the Mad Men of the 1960s Golden Age of advertising, the real Golden Age.
The way we see ourselves is about to shift, and the implications are hard to imagine. In the 21st Century, “Freedom” will be defined as much by the flow of information as it was defined by commerce in the 20th Century. For marketers, this new era will be marked by the rise of the iConsumer.
How this happened is important to understand, for the simple reason that it points to where we’re going. The most paramount factor is that nearly all information is now mobile. People can and are making decisions on the go — whether it’s about where to lunch or where to book an international vacation. A second crucial factor is that brands have the capacity to target consumers on a more personal scale than at anytime in human history. Up until now, marketing was conceived and executed on a mass scale. That worked because the public consumed advertising mediums, whether billboards, television networks, radio programs, or newspapers en mass.
But the arc of history bends toward fragmentation. It’s evident in streaming a-la-carte movie and TV viewing, in podcasts, blogs, and curated news sites. The trend is increasing and will continue, based on the ever-growing number of fingerprints that consumers leave archived in their email inboxes, cached in their online searches, and digitally mapped — thanks to smartphone geolocation.
Marketers will anticipate your needs
American’s spent more time on digital devices than watching television for the first time in 2014.
American’s spent more time on digital devices than watching television for the first time in 2014. Mobile ad sales in the U.S. outpaced newspapers, magazines, and radio ad sales for the first time in history. Only television and desktop/laptops exceeded them. Today, digital (mobile and desktops/laptops) comprises 30 percent of all U.S. ad sales.
It’s going to get bigger. It’s inevitable. Why? Because there are vast swaths of the U.S, let alone the developed and developing world, that are only beginning to realize the Internet’s mobile potential — and by that, I mean it’s reach and power to change what people know and what they want to know. In the new Golden Age, what we think of as “loyalty programs” will be ubiquitous and the default. Everywhere you shop will know you. As soon as you walk in — bing, your phone or Apple Watch will receive a coupon or tell you about the day’s special. You’ll receive alerts based on your location. Bing! “It’s 5:30 p.m., almost dinner time. The Indian food joint around the corner has a happy hour discount.” The anticipation will be done for you.
The demand for content, strategies, and deliverables to help businesses and brands reach the right audiences is compounding. It’s going to be huge because it’s going to become cheap. If you doubt me, just search “#marketing” on Twitter, the amount of free and near free information is exploding. Marketers I know, are uneasy. They sense a shift but aren’t sure what it is or what it means. And for old-school marketers, there is a growing sense of fear because the future is clearly digital, clearly targeted to individuals, and clearly about analytics. They are quickly becoming dinosaurs.
The end of marketing as we know it
But every Golden Age ends. And this one will too. It will follow a remarkably similar trajectory as the decline of the newspaper industry. Computers will do the jobs professional marketers once did. Except, they might do it better, if with a less personal touch — ironic, in a way, given the relentless focus on individual iConsumers’ wants and needs.
Is the end of marketing in sight? No more than the end of journalism was when people prophesied its demise 10 years ago. The good news is that marketing is going no where. But it has already driven off the cliff to its next destination. It’s in mid-air flight and we’re riding shotgun. People want to be marketed to. But we want to be marketed to smarter. You’ve heard of content curation? How about marketing curation? That’s what the Amazons, Facebooks, and Googles are building Titanic-sized data centers to support. For good or bad, the New Golden Age marks the end of consumers’ anonymity — what shreds there were remaining.
by Ed Carpenter — He’s a bad mutha … shut yer mouth.
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