Recently a very interesting, if not alarming, post on Facebook by Dr. Robert Goldman outlined a few of his future predictions. Mabe you have heard of him, or maybe not. He is known as the “anti-aging” doctor. His accolades are too numerous to list here, most of which involve sports medicine and healthy lifestyle. So, what on earth does Dr. Bob know about the future? Well, after reading his future predictions post you may think he knows a whole lot…or nothing at all. However, this post isn’t necessarily about discarding his predictions as nonsense. Nor is it about proving them as possibilities. I want to take some time and dive-in to what some of these predictions (should they come true) could mean to the marketing world.
Mood and Face Recognition Software
If you think mood and face recognition is the stuff of Sci-Fi movies, think again. For example, there are rumors of facial or iris recognition replacing the Touch ID techonology in the Apple’s 10th aniverssary iPhone 8 set to be released in 2017. But what about now? Well as stated in his post, Facebook has used face recognition software for years. At first it was not at all that great, but it now boasts a 97% accuracy, beating out even the FBI’s own software.
What This Means to Marketers
In the near future and within moments a device will not only know who you are, but also what you like, dislike and might like. Based on past learned behavior; like recent search queries, online orders, tweets and other social media shares, companies will be able to target their audiences like never before. So, that new Harry Potter book you have left sitting in your Amazon basket for weeks could communicate more about you than you think. Couple that with mood recognition software like Emotient (acquired by Apple last year) or Moodies and you now have the ability to, in real time, guage an audience’s reaction to advertisements, Netflix “Top Picks”, Amazon suggestions, etc. Now store those reactions and, over time, a marketing and ad agency will be able to target each individual consumer based on thousands or tens of thousands of perameters.
Marketing will no longer be an educated guess as to what you may want, but morph into a predictor of what you "need."
The possibilities of such technology are vast, but the problem, or at least the difficulty I see will be how all of this information and data will be collected and sorted. Just looking at current technology one could potentially:
- Pull general info from social media (age, sex, likes, dislikes, location, income based on lifestyle and career…)
- Pull search queries from Google, Youtube, Pinterest, Amazon etc.
- Pull watch lists from Amazon Video, Netflix, Hulu, etc.
- Pull purchase histroy from Amazon, eBay, online grocery purchases, etc.
- Pull data from your networked devices, the IOT (Internet of Things)
- Pull Travel and search queries from Kayak, Priceline, blah blah blah.
- Throw in face and mood recognition history
Will all of these companies get along with each other well enough for the betterment of mankind and the future of marketing? And who, or what, will sparse all of this data to deliver the “digital you”? Rest assured, someone will figure it out because there is money to be made in doing so.
Key Takeaways (Humble Opinions)
I believe, what we will see in the future is the absolute dissolution and melding together of marketing practices as we currently know them today. I don’t mean the 4 P’s or the 5 Forces Model will cease to be relevant. What I mean is that the concepts will have to evolve and adapt to include new technology.
- Paid media, owned media and earned media will cease to exist seperate of each other. Inbound and Outbound marketing will be one in the same, because even traditional channels will be completely tailored by, and results of, the media and content YOU have placed online. Marketing will no longer be an educated guess as to what you may want, but morph into a predictor of what you “need.”
- Tracking and awarding specific channels for their marketing success will become far more difficult because a consumer’s final decision to purchase will have been a result of a myriad of touchpoints and 1000’s of data sets. For example, did I buy my new Nike shoes because I saw a cool Facebook ad, because I earned a 25% rebate from Zalando after downloading the Nike App or because I saw *enter celebrity name here* wearing them in a Youtube video? The answer is that all of these things plus hundreds of other touchpoints probably informed my decision. So who gets the marketing credit for my purchase? Facebook? Youtube? Zalando? Sure, there are cookies and tracking software that can do their best to track all of this today, but even now it is a difficult thing to pinpoint. This difficultiy will only increase exponentially as technology continues to advance. This leads directly to the next point.
- Awarding these specific channels for their success will become less imprtant and possibly unnecessary. Because of this, the traditional ad-buying methodology will shift. For example, rather than paying Youtube to post a generic Nike ad before a video, companies will simply purchase the search and behavior information collected by Google and Youtube (which is obvioulsy already happening). This information will be used, along with all the other data collected about you to personalize an ad that not only targets you specifically, but targets you specifically in that exact moment. The technology will be advanced enough to know you prefer Nike over Adidas, and your last shoe purchase was over 7 months ago. Like I said earlier, the ad will be less of an educated guess of what you may want, but more of a predictive reminder of what you need. The collection and collation of this data will be far more important, and therefore worth more to companies than whether the ad was delivered through TV, Youtube or Google. In short, data will be the new marketing currency rather than Ad-space, clicks or views.
- Consumers will begin to expect ultra-targeted, personal ads. This will inherently force traditional, inbound and outbound channels to step up their game and work together before they finally melt into each other.
This is all speculation, maybe even topian, but there ARE things that marketers can be doing today to keep up with the quickly changing landscape. First, if you are not involving Inbound marketing in some way with your marketing efforts you are already behind the curve. My advice is to educate yourself on Inbound marketing and what it can mean for your company. It’s not a silver bullet, but it IS a weapon you will not only need in your future marketing arsenal, but one you need today.