Looking Into the Crystal Ball: A Round-Up from The Future of Marketing
Following The Drum’s The Future of Marketing conference, we’re summarising the event’s hottest topics in both on, and offline, marketing.
The Future of Trends
Technology is a big enabler for marketing, but looking further, we want to understand what is working for brands and how they connect with their target market. Here are some of the discussions that came up when looking ahead for our industry.
AI and VR
Unsurprisingly, many discussions at the conference revolved around AI and VR. How do we make use of these technologies to deliver brilliant campaigns and make them scalable?
One interesting concept was the idea of a ‘metaverse’ - a term that’s being used more and more in the context of delivering virtual reality experiences to wider audiences. Wikipedia defines metaverse as ‘a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space, including the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the internet. One example that springs to mind is the Mars Experience Bus, the first immersive VR vehicle ever built to replicate the Martian landscape.
On the other end of the scale is the idea of targeting very specific, tailored audiences – rather than mass groups. We find the marketing industry is talking more and more about the importance of human interaction and the impact of neuroscience on making marketing campaigns more impactful and meaningful by being able to emotionally connect with individuals.
The power of sound
It’s not a secret that music is a powerful resource for brands, but Jack Fryer, Director of Research and Planning at Universal Music UK, said that it is crucial for the popularity of content, products, and brands themselves. Studies shown how music lights up all parts of the brain, enabling us to connect with brands on a deeper level. He called this phenomenon “data emotion” - the science of magic.
The Future of Content
As channels are constantly inundated and becoming saturated with content – be it text, image or video - platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are de-prioritising brand and organic media, in favour of paid. It’s all steadily becoming a pay and play game.
Brands still need earned content to showcase values and prove authenticity, but without amplifying the reach of this content with paid media campaigns, there is a high risk of not reaching enough of the relevant audiences.
The Future of Social
We’re witnessing – and unfortunately not able to actively do much about – the rise of dark social. Dark social content is essentially a term which encompasses all the communications and links shared through private messaging apps, such as WhatsApp or Snapchat, but also via Facebook Messenger or Twitter messages, or through platforms such as email or SMS.
The prevalence of this communication channel (88% of customer data is dark for most organisations) whereby millions of social media users send private messages, means that marketers lack a way of accurately tracking traffic sources. It’s essentially the traffic that is shown as direct traffic in your analytics, but really – it comes from referring websites and platforms which are un-trackable, unless specific implementations are put in place. It’s not always straightforward, but not impossible.
Therefore, one of the conclusions of the event was that dark social traffic is extremely valuable. It is the equivalent of one-to-one influencer marketing, or word-of-mouth between people who know each other well and are therefore very likely to impact decisions of their peers. If that can be harnessed for marketing, it could have huge benefits.
The Future of Data Compliance
With the new pro-consumer data legislation and the exponential growth of marketing technology, the conference discussed how many can see conflict looming: a situation where we see almost 2/3rds of consumers feeling ‘out of control’ or ‘worried’ about sharing their data and where less than a quarter of online users regards sharing their own personal details to get more value from companies.
This is the world where General Data Protection Regulations will force companies to destroy what RAPP, the worldwide media company, call ‘data which they own, but hadn’t received consent from users to hold’.
Here are the 10 elements that all companies using 3rd party data need to have covered, before GDPR comes into force:
1. Consent given freely, specific, informed and unambiguous
2. Full disclosure given before data collection
3. Ability to exclude some or all data from profiles
4. The right to be forgotten & right to portability acknowledged
5. Appointment of a data protection officer
6. Security breach notification procedures
7. Privacy impact assessments
8. Ensure 3rd parties you transfer data to are compliant
9. Ensure companies/countries outside the EU are compliant if transferring data to them
10. Insurance policy review for scope and limits of coverage
- Following The Drum’s The Future of Marketing conference, we’re summarising the event’s hottest topics in both on, and offline, marketing.