Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Two POVs on the Future of Advertising

Your perspective on the future of advertising depends on if you are buying or selling. Everyone expects to have more control over the messages, the channels, the timing and the impact of communications in a two-way, on-demand world. But then expectations diverge.

MARKETERS

For marketers the future is a relentless series of refinements and calibrations in targeting, frequency and measurement. It begins by aiming relevant messages at those with a high propensity to buy. Based on response, the message, the medium, the timing and the offer are refined and retransmitted using the intelligent network and an array of media channels.

Highly targeted, cost-efficient communication is driven by a contact strategy, which orchestrates the content of messages and the delivery sequence through various channels for maximum impact in the shortest possible time. Rich in information and technology, marketers are eager to pick and automate their shots.

Databases drive the bus. We know who you are; we know what you want and how you become aware of your needs. We know how you research your options, how you factor prices versus benefits and how you define your own personal buying cycle. Based on this knowledge we craft an intensely personal series of messages and offers designed to engage, influence and persuade you at each inflection point. We are pushing messages at you using the intelligent network to facilitate and process your response.

CONSUMERS

Consumers of the future will have a passing resemblance to us. They will want new and innovative things. They will be irrationally loyal to the brands of their childhood. They will always love the music of their high school years. They will struggle to balance high-tech and high touch to work through the competing demands of work and home during the 24 hours in each day.

Opinion leaders, movie stars and trendsetters will influence them. So will friends, relatives and neighbors. Access to the Internet and private Internets will be available everywhere.

Personal communication devices will consolidate the functionality of watches, phones, e-mail, internet browsers, Google, cameras, encyclopedias, maps, GPS, restaurant and travel guides, English and foreign language dictionaries, keys and both ATM and credit cards into sizes, colors and shapes that will be fashion accessories. It will be easy to change devices and easy to move all your personal content from one device to the next.

Consumers will rate and review all brands like they do now on eBay or Amazon and they will insist on 24/7 customer service by phone, fax, online and by wireless devices with one-call resolution. No brand will escape from comparison-shopping in real-time across borders or currencies. Everyone from doctors and dentists to retail stores to plumbers, roofers and electricians will have prices, performance and reviews posted online.

Most consumers will expect brands to know them, to remember them, to store their purchase histories and to automatically replenish household items or routine supplies. Some will rely on brands y to remind them of service needs or check-ups. They will insist that those who collect data deliver real benefits in return. Radio silence or wasting a customer’s time will be brand suicide.

Future consumers will be persuaded to adopt new products by convenience and sleek design. They will consume foods, nutrients, products and pharmaceuticals that affect their moods, repair or optimize body performance and extend youth. They will want to fit in, look good and be like everyone else in their socio-economic, psycho demographic cohort.

Their tastes, influences and interests will change as they age and will be directly affected by education, disposable income and peers. There will always be a sizable segment that is price-driven. And there will be a growing segment that rejects cascading technology and yearns for a simpler lifestyle at a slower pace.

Today’s consumer is bombarded with 3000 commercial messages per day. The consumer of the future will be bombarded with even more messages but will expect to be in control of them, use them simultaneously and deploy a more powerful array of filters to carefully opt-in and opt-out.

Consumers will determine how, where and by which channels messages reach them. Many will be available to their preferred or favorite sources 24/7/365. Others will not. Many will change their content and channel preferences frequently. Others, mostly older people, will set them once and stick with them.

The future of advertising will be about getting on and staying on their inclusion lists. Imagine a never-ending game of musical chairs. If you are on lists in significant numbers you thrive. If you’re not, you die.

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