We just welcomed our third son, Caleb, into our family. Over the last few months, I have been thinking about the world he is coming in to, how it is changing and what marketing, one of my focuses, will look like as grows up.

Innovation is happening so quickly that predictions like this are a fool’s errand, but for the sake of Caleb and discussion, here are trends I see that I believe will continue to carry through the next 18 years.

Marketing Will Move to the Extremes

Every day it becomes more difficult for marketers to get and keep our attention. In order to stand out, marketing will move to the extremes in order to differentiate and get our attention.

The problem with extreme marketing is it becomes a competition among marketers to either be more extreme or to find a new point to take to the extreme. Unfortunately, many of these extremes are ones we, as consumers, do not want to see.

  • Carpet Bombing. To be noticed above the clutter of competing advertising messages, many advertisers will simply bombard us. Increased frequency is one way marketing stands out, but it often isn’t welcome.
  • Aggressive Interruption. Thankfully telemarketing during dinner has subsided, but marketers continue to look for ways to interject. From real time social media response campaigns to retargeting ads pitching products we looked at only moments before to traditional intercept marketing at malls or resorts, marketers will continue to interrupt what we are doing to get our attention.
  • Gratuitous Creative. From gratuitous foul language and nudity to unrelated contests and giveaways, marketers will stray further from their message in order to get our attention and pull us in.
  • Extreme Value. Standing out from the crowd, some marketers will focus on delivering value to their customers first and foremost, with great offerings supported with information, tools and resources that provide value to the target audience, even if they are not a customer.

The final way to differentiate is the one we, as consumers, prefer and the path I pursue as a marketer. However, we will see all extremes, not just this one, as marketers rush to get our attention.

Information Will Be Everywhere

Today, one of the biggest pain points for B2B marketers is creating content. In the future, getting the information people need in front of them will be the biggest challenge. Behind this trend is the fact that content will be everywhere and in every form.

Systems that serve consumers will filter, organize and deliver answers and specific information consumers need. As a marketer, having the answer will just be the first part of the battle. Having your answer presented will be the war.

Data Will Underlie Everything

In Minority Report we saw advertisements targeted to John Anderton as he walked into a store. What made this extreme is not technology, it is identification and data. The technology to suggest products to an identified individual based on their interests and purchasing behavior is widely used.

Data about who we are, what we like, what we buy and where we go will drive personalization of marketing even in environments that today we do not consider personal.

Eighteen years from now, privacy will be a very different debate. I believe companies will have the right to collect data and data collection and application will be widespread.

As individuals, we will have increased access to data about us, but the privacy debate will have shifted to what we can do with the information others have about us, not what information others have the right to collect. [Note this is a prediction, not an endorsement!]

Your Turn

What do you believe marketing will look like when Caleb turns 18, in the year 2030? Please share your thoughts in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake)!

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