What marketing will look like in 2030
Marketing is an industry shaped by rapid tech development and disruptive change, making it challenging to work ‘future forward’. Rani Arsanios looks ahead to the year 2030, speculating on how the industry will evolve and change.
According to etymologists, the term ‘marketing’ first appeared in the sixteenth century, referring to the process of buying and selling at a market. If a time-traveller had told them back then what marketing looks like today, it would have been impossible to explain.
To understand the future, we need to study the past, said many well-respected historians and philosophers. But is that entirely true when it comes to marketing? Perhaps studying our history tells us a lot about who we are and makes an interesting case about how our society has evolved. And yes, it can tell us about how marketing and the business world are headed.
But what can really tell us where we’re going is recent tech developments and disruptive changes all around us.
Take, for instance, Facebook. Just ten years ago, marketing was utterly different before Facebook was what it is today. Back then, Facebook Advertising was not even on the map, let alone a core advertising channel for most global brands. In Q1 2021, Facebook generated $26.17 billion in revenue, mainly from advertising – that’s over $100 billion in ad dollars a year.
It begs to ask, where was that money spent ten years ago before advertising on Facebook was a thing? Well, it was primarily spent in traditional media forms like radio and TV. And once you add up other digital behemoths like Google and Amazon, you get a good sense of how much marketing spend has shifted over the last decade. If, in 10 years, hundreds of billions of advertising dollars shifted from one form of advertising to another, what can happen in the next ten years or even five years?
Perhaps no major shift will happen. Or, perhaps once again, new technologies will emerge and swipe our business and advertising models right from under our feet.
Here is another fascinating insight. The number of marketing technology solutions grew from 150 in 2011 to 8,000 in 2020. That’s 5,233 percent growth in 9 years. Below is a map of the current marketing technology solutions as of 2020. It’s a scary beast. To think how this can further evolve in the next ten years is an exciting yet overwhelming thought.
So, with that said, here are nine ways I expect marketing to evolve and shift by 2030.
Many of the below speculations are, well, speculations. However, data, science and logic can give us a level of certainty that they can materialise.
Brain interface advertising
Elon Musk and the team of scientists at Neuralink are building tools that communicate with the brain. And their website says, ‘With the right team, the applications for this technology are limitless.’
If that doesn’t sound disruptive, I don’t know what is.
The neural implants they are developing allows humans to interface with computers and devices. Micron-scale threads are inserted into areas of the brain that control movement. Each thread contains many electrodes and connects them to an implant, the Link.
By 2030, this technology will be a lot more viable, advanced, commercialised and widely adopted. And perhaps, advertising directly to the brain will become a reality. If that happens, brands and advertisers will look for ways to interface with the human brain to advertise and get instant feedback on their products.
We don’t know what this will exactly look like and the ethical and privacy implications of such technology. But if it becomes a reality, the world will be once again flipped on its head.
Location-based and AR-based advertising
Experts predict the world to have 41 billion IoT devices by 2027.
Between 5G networks, the evolution of AI, and the exponential growth in the Internet of Things (IoT), the world will be hyper-interconnected.
New advertising methods based on physical location and the presence of people will become a lot more effective and feasible.
Imagine waking up one day and searching for a new dress. You see an ad, you go to the website and consider buying. Later on, that day, you drive to pick up your kids from their martial arts school. There is a digital screen they use to share news and updates, but it also circulates ads. The screen instantly pops up an ad about that very dress you browsed in the morning.
Or better, you walk into a shopping centre, and there is an augmented reality (AR) booth that lets you check products via AR technology and as soon as you walk in, they show you the dress you browsed before.
And that’s just one example of how location-based re-targeting can evolve.
Businesses will leverage offices, hospitality venues, public transport and all types of facilities to personalise their advertising based on users’ behaviour, time and location.
Bot optimised marketing
Your content and marketing copy won’t be just addressing people. You will be addressing and selling to bots. That’s right. Bots.
People will have less and less time to spend on doing the essential routine activities and decision making, such as ‘what to buy for my cousin’s birthday party’, instead, a bot will be doing that for them.
Whether it’s grocery shopping or buying gifts, people will have AI-based shopping Apps that do shopping for them based on their criteria and shopping behaviour.
Businesses and brands will need to adapt and optimise their advertising and content to interface with personal shopping AI tools to maximise their sales and ROI.
Attention is the most crucial currency in marketing. According to various sources, we now see up to 5,000 ads a day, or even more. Regardless of what that number actually is, one thing we can all agree on is that it’s gone significantly higher over the last few decades.
So, how can your advertising be effective when you’re fighting for the attention of your target audience with thousands of other advertisers?
Advertising that’s based on storytelling and long advertising copy will be less effective than it is today. Not because people don’t like stories or long-form content, but because we no longer have time or hear a long story.
People will want to know the value proposition right away to decide if it’s what they wish to buy or not.
If your video ads are 60 seconds long today, they’ll probably need to be 45 seconds by 2030. Figuring out how to deliver powerful advertising messages in shorter ads will be a challenge and opportunity for brands.
Content quality and originality
AI will be capable of writing content for all different types and purposes. Whether for SEO or social media posts, a bunch of intelligent software will create content in a blink of an eye. And some of this content will be good. And soon, these tools will flood the market and be widely accessible and cheap enough to be adopted by most businesses.
But would that content be good enough? Will we be able to tell if the content is bot written? Will we care?
My bet is people will want to see originality, creativity and authenticity in content a lot more than they do today. Businesses and brands will need to invest more in original and unique content and tap into a higher level of creativity.
Personalised products marketing
Drop-shipping will be dead. What was once a cool and trending way of starting an ecommerce business will no longer be practical or financially sound.
Technology will enable us to give more value to buyers in ways we didn’t imagine.
Instead of mass production, manufacturing automation, ‘production-shipping’ –which is essentially manufacturing personalised products at scale – will be possible. The buyer will dictate what they want, and their specs will be put to production the minute they make an order. And that model will be financially feasible for many sectors.
Ecommerce will be more about personalised products rather than mass production and mass sale. Fashion brands will produce and sell items that are specific to buyers’ measurements and tastes.
Car and vehicle-based advertising
A lot of vehicles by 2030 will be self-driving and automated. On top of that, cars will be a lot more interconnected to most devices.
If cars are self-driving, what are we doing whilst we’re in them? Perhaps we’ll be watching a movie, talking to a client or listening to music.
Radio is still somewhat an effective advertising channel for those who drive and commute in vehicles. But when we no longer need to drive because our cars can take care of that, will we be tuning into our favourite radio channel, or will we check our phones, tablets and PCs?
What if next-generation cars have smart embedded screens and devices that advertisers can leverage to display ads whilst you’re on your way to work?
Audio and visual car advertising will become an effective way to reach people and generate sales.
Try before you buy marketing
Virtual reality (VR) based content marketing will be huge. Instead of going to a restaurant and risking not liking the atmosphere or the setting, imagine being able to feel how it feels to be there without actually going. Many industries and sectors will leverage VR and AR-based experiences and content to allow customers to get a taste of the experience before making full time and financial commitment.
Marketing channel diversification
Diversification won’t be optional. It will be the only reality.
Businesses will have a marketing channel mix that’s a lot more diverse than today. There will be a shift in focus and mindset. Rather than focusing on advertising platform, brands will focus a lot more on advertising through people.
If you look at the marketing mix of most businesses and especially SMEs, you’ll find that they have two to three main channels of focus. Perhaps they focus on Facebook Advertising or Google Ads primarily and run content marketing initiatives as a secondary channel to generate sales.
By 2030, marketing efforts will become a lot more fragmented and diversified. Even Startups and SMEs will realise they need to invest seven to 10 marketing initiatives/channels to compete and thrive.
Rani Arsanios is the founder of SAVV Digital, a Digital Marketing Agency based in Sydney, Australia.