FIVE TRENDS THAT WILL RESHAPE TOMORROW'S ADVERTISING INDUSTRY
21 February 2012
Are you ready? Mircosoft Advertising's Laurent Delaporte asks
Today, the pressure on CMOs and marketers to deliver tangible results in the short term is intense. It's easy for tunnel vision to set in. Positioning your brand and understanding how it will tell its story tomorrow can play second fiddle to the present. Advertisers are reacting to trends rather than mastering and exploiting them.
In short, as futurologist David A Smith puts it: 'Only companies that prepare for a very different tomorrow will thrive. In short, get ready for the unfamiliar and the unknown.'
Let's take some specific examples. If people born in Muslim countries are to represent 33 percent of the global population by 2050, can an organisation afford not to offer customers a halal option? Or, with 1.6 billion of the world's population set to be over 60 by 2030 (compared to 700 million today), how much of an emphasis should be placed on targeting teens? Should the focus be shifted to the people over 50 who also hold the majority of wealth? These trends are inevitable and happening now, and brands need to start planning for them.
Technology trends are no different. They will have a revolutionary impact on the way brands tell their story to tomorrow's consumer. So what are these trends, and how can brands prepare? At Microsoft we uniquely straddle the advertising and technology industries, and believe tomorrow looks like this:
1) Everyone as a Storyteller
People want to tell stories about their real-life experiences and seek ways to build a more meaningful 'personal' brand around their passions, beliefs and activities. Whether you're a mother in the middle of America or a political activist in the Middle East, social communication tools such as Messenger, Facebook and Twitter are enable you to tell your story instantly to a mass audience. And with technologies as simple as camera phones now in every pocket and connected to the cloud, these stories are richer, more visual and more impactful than ever. The fact is that today a great story can - and should - travel around the world in five minutes. Preparing for this represents a huge shift in thinking for the CMO.
2) New Horizons for TV
The battle for the future of the living room rages on, with a series of next generation TV platforms poised to reinvent the relationship the consumer has with content. Our Xbox console has firmly planted its flag with the delivery of premium content and apps through a new and improved dashboard, where marketers can buy 30 second spots. Whatever the future of TV looks like, one thing is clear - the age of it being a one way dynamic is over. Advertisers need to be ready for that.
3) A Seamless, Multiscreen World
The fundamental principal behind Windows 8, and Steve Ballmer's comments about 'metro' as an interface, is that the user experience will be seamless across devices. For advertisers, this is about removing 'the device' as a barrier between content and consumer. More than ever before, the content will take center stage versus the device or channel. Only brands at the very front of the curve will be ready tell their story in this seamless fashion.
4) Human Experiences
Natural user interfaces (NUIs) including touch, voice, vision and gesture creates more natural, humanized ways of interacting with technology. We are already seeing gestural advertising emerge through Kinect NUads, and brands must consider how to effectively harness extra senses as they plan their audience engagement. What should your brand sound, feel and smell like? How can you empower consumers to virtually experience things they never have before?
5) Pervasive Displays and Data
The 'internet of things' is coming. Soon, we'll be connected to people, information, services, and applications through technology that requires no action on our part. We'll take for granted the fact that screens and sensors are embedded wherever they might be useful - at home, at work, on the move or in public spaces; in our cars, clothes and cupboards. Imagine a world where you're connected to everything - not just the web - all the time. For advertisers, this will present a new set of rules regarding the interplay between consumer, product and content.
The technology that brings to life the scenarios outlined above may seem far-fetched and futuristic, but the majority are already at some stage of development within Microsoft's R&D teams. It won't be long before they are a reality that marketers need to understand and embrace in order to tell their brand's story.
The late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs used to say, 'a lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them.' Brands can't afford to wait until tomorrow's trends blossom. They need to be ready now. Are you?
Laurent Delaporte is Vice President, Microsoft Advertising for Europe, Middle East and Africa