Advertising 2020: Where Hyper-Relevance Rules
Question 1: What could/should advertising look like in 2020?
Question 2: What should we do now to get ready for that future?
By 2020 people will ignore brands that don’t speak to them. If a brand’s marketing is not of genuine interest or use, something people can share in, it will be eclipsed by another brand that genuinely connects. In this new environment, brands have a choice, to be provocatively ingrained in their consumer’s passions and purpose or be relegated to commodity status. Following are 5 predictions that lead us to this conclusion.
Personalized Interaction and Live Support Will Be Expected
A new generation of consumers has a new set of expectations for personalized, on-demand support from brands, which Helpouts by Google and Amazon Kindle’s “Mayday” button have taken to the next level. In 2020, live, immediate customer interaction will be the norm for brands and organizations and a centerpiece to their marketing strategy. To meet this future, we must think about how we identify and deploy the right kinds of experts to be on the front lines of our brands, as well as how we develop, produce and distribute content that anticipates and answers consumer needs and desires at the moment it matters most.
Channel Planning Will Give Way to ‘Tribes’ Planning
As the digital universe continues to splinter consumer channels into smaller and more engaged (and often more siloed) communities like Netflix and Spotify, marketers are increasingly moving away from channel planning based on reach numbers and generalized demographic data in favor of new planning methods based on identifying the right consumer “tribes” with niche cultures and passion points that align perfectly with their brands. In 2020, this will be the way the planning process takes shape, and to get ready, we must find more intricate ways to analyze influence and dimentionalize the stories we tell. We must also re-evaluate the way we measure campaign success and engagement – focusing less on how many people we reach quantified by impressions and AVE, and more on how meaningful our reach is and how effectively it engages our audience and moves them to act.
How Brands Share Will Grow Their Share
Digital and social media has catapulted sharing to new levels and the impact on brands will be considerable. Edelman’s global brandshare™ study reveals that 90 percent of people want brands to share and that there is significant business value in doing it, through dialogue, experiences, goals, products, values and history. Successful brands will offer content, tools and inspiration that will help people do, make or share what’s meaningful to them. Collaborative storytelling apps like Smirnoff’s Mixhibit is one example of this, hinting at the future and the way more brands will create useful tools that not only engage people more deeply, but grow brand equity through sharing in an authentic and meaningful way.
Digital Content Will Converge to Be Reader-Centric
As brands like Red Bull and Mountain Dew create their own media channels and communities, and as sponsored content and native advertising further blur the lines between earned and paid media, the way people consume media and interact with content will change. Brand-owned media that speaks to well-defined audiences and fosters communities will take a front seat, generating earned media coverage that will be turbo-charged with paid amplification. In order to succeed in this new environment, brands will need to be laser focused on placing themselves in the right context, with the right audience, with the right ideals, via the right content, at the right time.
Online and Offline Worlds Will Meld into “In the Moment” Advertising
The successors of wearable technology like Google Glass will blend the digital and physical worlds. Ambient connectedness to information and one another will force us to redirect advertising dollars from billboards and TV spots to the millions of people who are “wired.” Opting in or out of brand communications will be more fluid based on a person’s exact location and activity, shifting the current focus from hyper-local to in the moment. Apps like Ebay Now will become widespread, as will technology that anticipates what a person wants while in-store. In a future where all kinds of objects are internet-connected, instant gratification will take on new meaning – if it rains and you don’t have an umbrella, the sensor in your wet shoes will send a signal to a retailer who will meet you with a rain jacket.
If managed well, these changes will enable longer-term engagement, deepen brand loyalty, and create more passionate brand ambassadors. To prepare for these new realties, we must make some important investments. First, we must invest in new kinds of research, data, and information from macro media and social media feeds, real time dashboards, and social community analytics. We must also invest in new kinds of strategy and planning resources in the form of people and technology – and in some cases that means looking beyond our own disciplines to help make sense of it all. Finally, it means ensuring that all of our campaigns are ‘social by design’ – with paramount importance on knowing our audiences intimately and ensuring that sharing is part of the DNA for every campaign we build.