When The Wall Street Journal first had the audacity to create a magazine and event series called The Future of Everything, I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes. But then my curiosity got the best of me and I started reading about everything from the problems with fully autonomous vehicles to the new jobs being created as the era of artificial intelligence shows up in the next generation of software.
All of this got me thinking about the future of marketing. Having been in the digital marketing industry for the past 24 years, I’ve witnessed the utter chaos that has plagued the industry (and some would argue it still does). When I first started my career in 1994, all the industry pundits were advocating that television was dead and that broadcast media would soon be replaced with on-demand programming.
Twenty-four years later, television still commands more than 30% of total U.S. media ad expenditures, according to eMarketer, despite the decline in gross rating points and incredible fragmentation. Time-shifting DVRs haven’t stopped the sizable investments in television ads, and yet all of the networks are scrambling to create their own apps that force viewers to watch ads in order to stream content. Meanwhile, ad-free Netflix continues to be the platform of choice for cord-cutters. Or at least, that’s what investors believe according to The Wall Street Journal. And according to Pew, 61% of young adults in the U.S. mainly watch streaming TV.
What’s Next For Marketing?
In my last article, I questioned the power that content marketing still holds as we reach a saturation point. We already have a sea of content available today, with more being published every minute of every day. While it took a quarter century longer than the pundits of 1994 thought it would take, we are starting to see some fundamental changes in the way businesses go to market. A number of important themes are emerging:
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Despite all the hype, machine learning and intelligent systems enable real-time decision making and are becoming more affordable and accessible to all businesses. If we take a cue from Wall Street, the stock exchange floor traders simply couldn’t compete with machine learning, capable of analyzing more data points than a human brain can wrap its mind around. Marketing is already in the…