Rishad Tobaccowala – What should/could “advertising” look like in 2020?

Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer, VivaKi

The Connected Age

In 2020 the spinal cord of all marketing and advertising will be the Internet.  Billions of people, tens of billions of devices and an infinite  amount of content will be connected to the Internet and therefore connected to each other.  Advertising will be driven and defined by connections.

Successful advertising in this era will be similar to what has made for successful advertising and brand building over the ages:

  1. Creativity:  Storytelling that connects dots in new ways that resonates with culture, brands and people.
  2.  Relevance: Engage with people in places, times and mindsets where the advertising is most impactful.

However there will be many changes in the way we deliver creativity and ensure relevance.

  1. Broader palette to brand building: In addition to audio and video and word and image, marketers will be able to leverage place based relevance using mobility, get people to participate in brand stories and pass them along using social platforms and deliver just in time utilities and services through mobility.
  2. Multiple paths to engage people:  Micro fragmentation of media to audiences of one (online media people engage with media one at a time), combined with increasingly data richness, will allow marketers to reach and re-aggregate people in many new ways. For example even today marketers can leverage Amazon shopping data and demo to fine tune and calibrate advertising in completely new ways.
  3. Collapse of historical ways of looking at marketing: As more electronic media including television (due to online streaming and connected televisions) and print (tablet based magazines) become digital and mobility fuses the real and electronic world, there will be no longer possible to organize as analog and digital channels. Similarly the historical funnel of awareness, consideration, purchase and advocacy will occur quickly and often within one platform like an Apple or Amazon or E-bay.

The Future Does Not Fit In the Containers Of The Past

The key challenge for marketers and marketing will be in four broad areas and we need to build skills in these areas.

  1. Organizational design.  Marketers have tended to organize themselves in an analog/digital world or upper/lower funnel structure and for a world where most of their activity was well considered or pro-active rather than real-time and reactive. Companies need new expertise, more agility, and new ways to work within an organization and partners. The Chief Technology Officer and the Chief Marketing Officer will need to be joined at the hip.
  2. Insights, Measurement and Allocation.  In the future marketers will grapple with much more data and many more ways to engage consumers (for instance paid, owned, earned media).  The challenge will be how to extract relevant insights from the data flow and how to select and allocate dollars between channels and tactics.  Next generation econometrics and big data mining will be a key part of the future.
  3. Delivering utilities and services and not just messaging as part of brand building.  In a connected age marketers will have two powerful ways to build their brands. First they can reach and respond to people more cost effectively because of the Internet since t they are not limited to working through media partners. Secondly, because of social networks advocacy will be a key way to build brands. In order to engage people and leverage advocates, utilities and services that solve problems or provide value will be a key way to building brands. New talent and mindsets will be key as well as identifying new platforms and partners to enable utility and service delivery.
  4. Upgrading People:  Marketing will grow more important since it is about understanding and meeting customer requirements, and customers are becoming more empowered. The challenge will be whether marketers and agencies are capable of meeting the new challenge. Do we have the leadership, do we have the training and do we have the knowledge to deliver in the new world. Marketers working with each other, new partners and academia must invest in upgrading the capabilities of their people in areas of next generation storytelling, comfort with data and technology and the need for better collaborative skills.