Today’s ubiquity of connected devices is such that, even for those of us from a past without email, it’s hard to imagine life without them. Companies should use caution to avoid marketing missteps.
If we take today as an admittedly arbitrary starting point, what could the next 20 years bring? In 1999, Google was less than a year old, and Yahoo was still the dominant search engine. Apple released the iBook, the first Wi-Fi-enabled notebook computer.
Comparing the technological landscape of 1999 to today and projecting that rate of change to the world of 2039, it’s difficult to imagine how the future will look. One thing, though, is certain: For the marketing world, the emerging opportunities are equal parts exciting and perilous.
Looking forward to a continuing increase in human connectivity
Two things we can be sure of in the years ahead are the continued increase of human connectivity to a global network of information, entertainment, and commerce, and the continuing rise of machine learning and AI. The combination of these two factors presents new opportunities and challenges to market researchers.
Increased human connectivity to the network will bring with it a data bonanza the likes of which we have never seen. Without the concurrent rise of machine learning, we would not be able to make sense of it all. The incidence of these two factors will bring about a golden age of individually tailored marketing that will seamlessly integrate itself into a user’s buying behavior as they transact business online. Marketing will dynamically adjust to the buyer’s shopping patterns and buying behaviors in such a way as to appear serendipitous.
Data-driven eCommerce opportunities
Imagine shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue’s eCommerce site for a Calvin Klein buckle-strap sheath dress in Summer Yellow. You make the purchase and then open Instagram to check in on your friends, and as you scroll through, you find a photo of the perfect crossbody handbag in a coordinating navy blue. Just a click, and you’re looking at it on the Zaful.com online store. Five minutes later, the bag is on its way to you, and you have no idea you were just sold.
Sophisticated AI used a combination of a color-coordinating accessory-suggestion algorithm and prior analysis of your fashion purchasing habits to make the accessory appear for you. The whole experience might have felt no more intrusive than if an in-the-flesh salesperson showed you the perfect bag for the lovely dress you just picked up.
Don’t make consumers keep looking over their shoulder
A deft touch with these advances will not only be desirable but necessary. The alternative is a version of today’s remarketing efforts amped-up on steroids – ads reactively appearing immediately for every item browsed, every cart abandoned, every word uttered within earshot of a smart speaker. Imagine asking your partner for a stick of gum and then looking at your smartwatch, only to find a banner ad for the latest neutrino-mint-flavored chewing gum there. The banner might as well as say, “Big Marketing Brother Is Watching.”
That’s one of the biggest challenges that marketers will face in the coming age of hyperconnectivity. Collecting every available bit of consumer data and using it without any thought given to how invasive and pushy the use may come off to consumers could lead to a destructive backlash. With companies like Apple pushing privacy protection and giving consumers more options to opt out of data collection, misuse of future data acquisition and handling tech could lead to a drought of data. Those marketers who employ intelligence coupled with restraint will be positioned to reap the benefits: a wealth of actionable data on consumer buying habits and the graceful marketing tactics that encourage purchase without the perception of “digital hard-selling.”
The lessons of a possible future
These are lessons worth taking to heart today. For the future always arrives gradually, until suddenly one looks around and realizes that the future is – how’d that happen? – now. Those marketers who seek to harness the full power of data – yet with the foresight to use that information in thoughtful and clever ways that don’t heighten consumer concerns – are the same ones who will prosper in a coming online world that is data-rich, yet also more surveillance-sensitive.
BDEX endows your marketing with the power and depth of human connectivity. Call 917-410-6616 or contact us to learn how marketing solutions from BDEX can help you with your present and future marketing data needs.