Michael Jacobs – What Could Advertising Look Like in 2020?

Michael Jacobs, Chief Digital Officer, Voyr

To begin with, Generation C – where C represents connected – will be firmly in control.

Rather than age, income or education, Gen C will be defined by their digital lifestyle. Mobile , whose adoption eclipsed the birth rate for the first time in 2012,  will have become a truly indispensable modality.

Geo targeting and geo tagging will be much more sophisticated and an integral part of everyone’s daily experience. Wallets will have long since gone virtual. Cloud computing, virtual agents, augmented reality — all will have gone mainstream. Content will easily move from screen to screen, dependent only on a user’s whim. Search will have long ago learned page intent from content rather than just  keywords. Social networks and influence will be interchangeable, enabling consumers to create, engage and cultivate meaning at scale. Gaming  — from mechanics and design through the user experience –will have become a remarkably  rich, immersive platform for play and branding.

What won’t change is the primacy of storytelling. Experiences will come first and technology will be the enabler. Advertising as an interruptive act will be gone, replaced by narrative content that is informative, entertaining and on brand in a much more relevant way.

What do we have to do now?

The agency business model needs to be completely reinvented. We need to fully embrace the concept of making things people want rather than making people want things. It’s not just about demographic shifts but new mindsets and behaviors.

Agencies need to become more prolific at creating intellectual property. This will require agencies to become more nimble and agile, in addition to tech savvy.

Silos need to disappear – creativity is as much the province of technology, analytics as it its is writing , design and strategy.

Agencies must view digital not just as a medium but as the way we live today. By thinking this way – and it is a fundamental shift in the way many agencies currently solve any given brand’s challenges – agencies will have to transform the way they create, deliver, capture and monetize value.

Without this shift, agencies will miss pivotal swings like “the internet of things” (electronic devices that are interconnected and can communicate with each other).

The Mad Men generation has given way to a generation raised on smartphones, laptops, tablets, instant messaging and file swapping. Smart organizations will take the time to tap into the way they think and their value system and adapt accordingly.

Lastly, agencies in the social era must understand and reflect the power of communities, of collaboration, of co-creation.  Talent is more critical than ever. Attracting the right people will require open frameworks and flexibility in how we work together and with clients.