About a year ago I had a conversation with one of my industry colleagues about the future of inbound marketing and communication.  He introduced me to the digital native/immigrant divide.  What is that you ask?  It’s the date that separates people born after Internet technology was introduced from the people born before. 

This was the first time I’d ever heard this concept articulated so clearly before.  Prior to that, I never considered what the ramifications of digital natives growing up would be on inbound marketing.  As a demographic, their expectations on content and how that content is delivered will probably be completely different than ours today. 

This begs the question – What will content distribution, internet technology, inbound marketing and web conversion look like when digital natives grow up?

Inbound marketing may look something like this:

Social Media

Currently social media conversion is in its infancy.  Most social media campaigns rely on an outside landing page to convert prospects.  This is not ideal for marketers because it introduces “shock” to the user.  Anytime you take a visitor from one website to another they experience a conscious (and sometimes subconscious) uncomfortable feeling.  It’s kind of like getting out of a comfy hot tub and jumping into a pool.  Both are water, but going from one into another has a major impact on comfort.  

This is the same reason you don’t want to take a website visitor to a completely different looking website for conversion.  Ideal social media conversion would be done inside the social media platform.  There are several apps on Facebook today which allow fan page owners to create a custom interactive Facebook tab with subtab navigation for lead capture and inbound marketing.       

Prediction – The popular social media platforms of the future will give people and businesses the ability to capture qualified leads and sell products.  Web design companies will decline in number because businesses will use their presence on social media in lieu of a website for inbound marketing, brand building, driving leads, selling products and communicating their unique value proposition.

Search engines will be used much like the yellow pages are used today – not often.  This is because real-time search will be main stream.  So rather than looking for products, services or information on Google; products, services or information will find you.  Today, real-time search is in its infancy, much like social media conversion is.  Websites like Twitter and Facebook are showing us how real-time search might look.  

With applications like Tweetdeck you can create Twitter information streams based on tags, words, people, etc.  By setting this up in advance a user will receive real-time content based on their interests.  Facebook takes a different spin on real-time search.  Facebook ads are placed on your page based on the information you provide in your profile.  So, if you happen to be an Ohio State alumnus, you might just see an ad for Ohio State football tickets on your profile.

Prediction – Through advanced data mining technologies and predictability modeling social media will not only be able to offer you content based on your profile, postings, friends, network, etc., but social media will be able to predict what problems you’ll be facing and what content will solve your problems in real time.


With smart phones growing in popularity everyday it is not hard to believe that they will begin to take the place of computers.  Digital natives will probably prefer smart phones over computers and the trending shows this to be likely.  As an inbound marketing channel mobile is in it’s infancy too.

Prediction – Inbound marketing agencies will focus on social media and mobile website deployments with regular website deployments being tertiary, if at all.  However, with social media business profiles being preferred over websites anyway, mobile websites will begin to fade too.

What do you think about my inbound marketing predictions?  I guess we won’t know for another 15 to 20 years how accurate they are.  If you think I left something out or you have different predictions please leave a comment.  I’d love to hear them.