Technological change is exponential, NOT linear and the advertising industry has already become a series of ones and zeros. Given the exponential pace of change brought on by technology and big data, the world of advertising is going to look very different in 2020. While storytelling is never going away — as human beings we all connect with narrative formats and compelling messages — the ways in which marketers deliver and tailor these stories to the individual consumer will be dramatically different.
The big story in 2020 is a Quantified Everywhere advertising landscape. We are in the nascent days of this movement today as content targeting delivers digital advertising pegged to browsing and social behaviors. Data-driven advertising newsrooms, like sparks & honey, leverage insights from predictive analytics to drive real-time creative executions and content delivery that is more of the moment, more compelling and more engaging than traditional calendar and media-based advertising.
But this is only the beginning of the data-driven advertising newsroom of the future. The combination of quantified, sensor-based data, social data and transactional data will create a real-time marketing nirvana for the advertising industry. It will also open up new media spaces by turning currently unavailable physical environments into new storytelling experiences. Screens will be everywhere via new materials and projection technologies, sensors will be embedded in ALL physical objects and link ALL objects together into a unified network, and the average consumer will have enhanced sensory capabilities via the ever increasing computation power of 2020 Smart devices.
At the center of the Agency of the Future will be a sophisticated data-driven bridge with companion AI robots. Imagine a wall of screens and projection technology that constantly feeds data and information that cultural strategists, data scientists, creatives and AI bots can quickly access to take the pulse of what is happening now and what is expected to happen in the future. The “bridge” in the agency of the future will operate more like the user interfaces from the movie Minority Report with predictive analytics and machine learning playing the role of the human-like Precogs. That is, it will be an always-on, predictive command center, both for accessing and analyzing data and information in real-time, and also for deploying the right branded stories and experiences to the right consumers at the right moment.
This model will allow for seamless shifting between rematerialization and dematerialization. Digital technology and data will be used to create a deep understanding of consumers, digitize the physical world with one click, rematerialize digital files via fast, real-time 4D printers and distribute branded content via the complex networks of physical and virtual screens.
Imagine passing someone on the street that is wearing an amazing pair of sun glasses. A digital ad for that item could appear as you pass by and simply by indicating you want it, the glasses could be digitally delivered to your 4D printer where it would be manufactured and assembled. The speed at which we go from the digital world to the physical world and back again will be nearly instantaneous.
Think this all sounds like far-fetched science fiction? Data-driven newsrooms, predictive bridges, AI robot strategists and 4D printers are all being developed today. These fringe signals will continue to double in capacity and performance each year, while costs are driven down. The effect of exponentials will shift the industry from an outdated, linear model to what I see as a Quantified Everywhere advertising renaissance.