There is no future for marketing.
AI, VR, VRS, holography, real-time marketing, branded apps, brand-based gaming, interactives, drones (UAVs), wearables, personalisation, targeted video content, autonomous technologies, expanded and manufactured social media networks, marketing technologies and data scientists. All will be (are and have been) slowly deconstructing, destroying what we today call marketing.
In its place will be a hybrid, a fusion, and a convergence of life experience, narrative, storytelling, crowdsourcing and achievement. Marketing will look and become more like a manufacturing process than the creative, management-based concept that forms the basis of modern marketing.
We have been at this crossroads before, in fact many times before. The difference is the scope of the current change and the number of roads that are now open to traverse at the crossroads. In the past, and probably before most of you were born, newspapers replaced the town crier, radio supplemented newspapers, and TV introduced and then revolutionised broad-based “big” media, driving newspapers and radio to reinvent themselves. The Internet brought the world to a single degree of separation and at the same time started the conversion of marketing into manufacturing. All these earlier “changes” cannot/will not match the impact nor the scope of what is happening now and will happen in the very near future. Big change is coming.
These new media introductions offer all that other big changes—strategic and structural—have offered in the past. The earlier changes had been costly, difficult to administer, and difficult to track. The new changes have some of the same pain points. Now, however, the changes are happening across tactical, operational, and strategic channels.
Introducing manufactured marketing – the future trend for your brand
Consider the ancient method of buying from a shoemaker, for example. Long ago, you went to a local craftsperson, a shoemaker or cobbler, and had that innovator make and even customise shoes for you and your family. The shoemaker knew you by name, by need, by financial restrictions, and could even, by noting the wear and tear of your old shoes, understand your future needs.
Shoemaking was and still is a manufacturing process. Yes, the scale and scope has changed, but the industry still involves manufacturing via a time-tested, cost/profit-driven process, even if the process has undergone significant changes to reach the level of effective shoemaking we see today. This is what is happening now to marketing.
It is only a matter of time that products like Shapescale, 3D scanning scales, will be offered to consumers for free and the data will be gathered and sent (via Wi-Fi, of course) to the brand, resulting in your next home product, clothing item, or healthcare service being customised and manufactured directly for you. Products like Shapescale are leading the move to marketing as manufacturing process
The foundational changes that are needed to truly change the way we carry out marketing are here. Coke may have fired one of the first shots across the bow with their very recent announcement that they have killed the CMO position. Is this a cost-cutting decision, as many pundits declare? No, to me this is a decision to radically alter the marketing landscape and look to what marketing has been for years and should be in the future. Marketing is a profit centre, and deciding to develop a chief growth officer position is a genius idea, an idea that does in fact support my long-held belief and the premise of the article, that marketing as we know it today has no future.
(Coming clean, my website has been named www.marketingisaprofitcenter.com for years. Why, I have long believed that marketing—like the printing, automobile, and other legacy industries—was about to open its eyes and realise that the protected world of agencies, marketing firms, and even consultants like me was about to change forever. That change has just taken longer than expected. That changed has arrived now, and technology, cost controls, and profit-based advocacy are driving this change and the future of marketing.)
Last October, Forbes published an article by Daniel Newman in which Newman discussed the top 10 trends driving marketing in 2017. It was a great article, but could have been even better if he had described how these top 10 trends will impact marketing for the next decade and may forever alter the current marketing strata. He also could have explained how these trends and others—when combined, integrated, or converged—are aiding and abetting in the conversion of marketing to a manufacturing process.
Looking forward—what is in marketing’s future?
Think about the process of future marketing. A data scientist, soon to be a data automated device, will examine, review, and develop highly targeted list or database that will be subdivided, based on the discovered data and the requirements of the brand. This data will be linked to a broad, diverse range of new media, old media, emerging technologies, and expanded social media.
Many, if not all, of the opening paragraphs technologies and your data imprint will be stamped or impregnated with an ID code that will allow the marketing manufacturer to devise a highly customised, personalised use- and desire-based program that will be reviewed, examined, and revised at every step of the customer experience and customer journey. This will impact your offers and your calls to action and affect the way the customer responds.
Marketing is dead, long live marketing! Whatever way or however you define marketing, I can assure you that in less than three years, your definition will dramatically, radically change. The problem is that the marketing landscape is changing, moving so fast there may not be a single definition of what is marketing is, ever again. My current and future definition of marketing is stated below: