When we see fashion shows we, OK maybe it's me, but I see models walking down the cat walk and I immediately think, "I will never wear that". But of course, that isn't the point, nobody actually wears that outfit, or only one or two do. The point is for it to create debate and maybe sell some of the "normal collection" which you can buy on Oxford Street or Bond Street if you live in London as I do.
It's the same with looking into the future of Digital Marketing, which we often do. The problem with looking into the future is we use today as our datum point and not look at the trends. A friend of mine was offered shared in Blackberry when it first started, enough that he could have sold at the height of the products success for a life changing amount. But he didn't buy. He admits, he looked at the Blackberry and said "what would I want my email on the move, I can get this on my email at the office".
Or before the iPhone was launched, Nokia used similar technology and showed it to a sceptical public and they rejected it. Would the glass screens break of you dropped the phone? Wouldn't the screen be smeary? How could somebody use a keypad, that wasn't a keypad. You can imagine the Nokia R&D team was a little bit surprised and bewildered when Steve Jobs presented his version of the technology and the world went wild.
So what do we know about the future of marketing?
We know that the past is failing. While people spend a shed load of money on advertising, ask any consumer and they all say they don't consume ads. We fast forward through ads on the TV, change channels if ads come on the radio. Ad blocker ability is growing at 30% year on year. So much so that Adidas have at the World Cup abandoned using advertising as their core audience use ad blockers. But where are their core audience? On social.
GDPR seems to have ended the email marketing game. I'm certainly doing my bit to remind people when I get the odd unsolicited email, of the fines that they will receive if I report them. The reality is that in the 90s we read all of our emails, we now skim our email. The only articles are see about email marketing today are about how to manipulative about open rates. In fact there is a whole industry about spamming me so I open your email. But we all know, open rates does not equal revenue. You might have a higher open rate, but I've now deleted your email as I wouldn't buy from a company that has to resort to spam to try and sell me something.
We all use the internet to search to buy things, I'm told even cold callers do. We all know that we search for content, read articles, blog and we make decisions based on the insight we obtain from this. All on social.
Corporate marketing has turned into noise. We all say we are the best, number one. Websites have turned into brochures. In fact most buyers ignore websites. But buyers are on social (spot the trend building) as they are looking for content to help them define what they want to buy and the products to short list.
Then let's look at AI. We are obsessed about data. Data is the next oil we are told. Really? For one I cannot believe that with GDPR and the other data privacy legislation coming down the track that "data aggregators" will exist. Add to that, the fact that the holy grail of marketing is personalisation. Wrong. It's relevance. Again social helps us here.
In conclusion the future of digital marketing in fact all marketing is social.
Social is natural to us as humans. We have always been social, from being tribes in Africa were we had to form teams to stay alive, all the way through life we have formed groups. It's frictionless, it's free and 80% of the internet empowered world is there. So what is holding you back?
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.