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Can You Resist Predicting the Future? I Can’t.

by Joel Machak

Let’s look out five years. What will the marketing world look like? You may be on top of current trends, but where might they all lead? I’m only talking five years. What media-consumption trends do you think will shape our landscape? Here’s the view from where I stand:

I believe six trends will reshape the communications industry in the next five years.

  • The Vanishing Intermediary. It’s practically upon us right now: the end of the middleperson. Immediate connection, interaction, and commerce will further reduce intermediary relationships. Custom content will find the individual at the moment of decision. Savvy marketers will anticipate and aid consumer choices at the individual level.
  • The Transparency Revolution. This one’s my personal favorite. Giving your audience an honest and open look behind the curtain builds trust and affiliation. It invites your audience to open up in return and by letting down their guard. And it gives marketers more opportunities to tell authentic and enriching human stories. I believe the leaders in transparency will simply be the leaders, period. Everything else will have you saying “hey, your marketing is showing.”
  • Your Content is Your Brand. Sharable, authentic, native content soars, propelled by innovation and ever-new channels. And this will only accelerate as more new venues arrive – the next Snapchats, Vines, and Periscopes are all right around the corner. Personal content generation will reach all segments of the population. Each individual’s shared experience becomes a trusted source to motivate moment-to-moment decisions, affiliations, and transactions. Yum.
  • Closing the Screen Gap. Wearables and tablets bring everything everywhere. A screen is always in sight. The concept of interrupting life to “go online” will essentially disappear. Look around, it already has for many. Online interaction and commerce will become ubiquitous. And coming soon: “head-up,” from glasses to head-up displays. I’m just waiting for someone to invent tiny screens for our fingernails.
  • The Multitudes Matter. I believe we’ll see a societal tipping point from “no voice” to “one voice.” Technology will further enable like-minded individuals to converge and combine their voices to exert powerful influence. We’re seeing the seeds of this today. And I believe these seeds will grow. It’s not quite hive mind, but it will become a force with enormous potential.
  • Finally, in a Word, 3D VR. Okay, four words. Three dimensional virtual reality. Like Google Cardboard. I see VR and AR (augmented reality) exploding across our media paths. Just search “VR” in your app store. It’s powerful, immersive, memorable, consuming, interactive, and compelling. The mind processes 3D VR video as an actual experience, elevating the potential impact well beyond conventional video. How can you resist? Many big brands are climbing onboard.

For marketers, the next five years will be a time of enormous potential. The combined voices of a connected populace will shape our culture at an ever-increasing pace. By telling authentic stories that enter the media life-stream, we’ll be empowered as never before to shape attitudes, change behaviors, and move millions to act. It should be a fun ride.

Joel Machak

EVP, Executive Creative Director

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