Are you ready for the next big thing in marketing? Sure, but what is the next big thing in marketing? That's what we're trying to answer in this blogpost. We've gotten 10 of the biggest experts on planet marketing to give their thoughts on where the industry is going. So read on if you want to get a glimpse of the future.
All of the clever people in this blogpost will also be talking at The EDGE. And you should definitely consider going. The EDGE is more than just another conference of the same-same, but in a different setting. It’s a party of bold ideas, wild solutions and extraordinary thoughts on the future of content and inbound marketing and native advertising. Get your tickets here.
Now let's hear it from the experts: What is the next big thing in marketing?
I’m sure you want to hear something fancy about an automated drone-assisted billboard ad or something, but I truthfully think the next big thing in marketing is going to be the old big thing in marketing.
It’s going to be content that sits further and further away from the product you’re selling, but closer to the people you’re trying to sell it too. Look at what Mailchimp and Wistia are doing, with their Netflix-style content hosting. It’s so far away from their product, but it’s closer and closer to who their target audience are, and what they want to watch.
Of course, that all means we’re going to have to get even better at knowing who our target audience are, and find ever more creative ways to deliver stuff that blows their socks off. Marketers are going to need to be much more consumer-facing than ever before - because if we don’t ask our audience what they want, we’re just going to carry on making trash that no one cares about.
Matt Arnerich, Head of Content & Brand Voice at Famly
Content marketing is getting mainstream. It'll be used by the small one-man business and large corporate businesses. It will be linked to the Customer Experience strategy - where the approach is outside-in and a 360 degrees disciplin.
Mie Bilberg, Head of Online Sales at Carlsberg
Maybe in 2025 Amazon drones will send us shopping-insights directly to our smart device or we take our lunch break on a virtual Times Square, whose billboards are showing customized content. Content Marketers definitely like to talk about the future and sure, I understand why. We are creatives and we have to know the trends before others. And, of course, it is cool and fun to imagine exciting future scenarios. But what about the here and now?
I apply my complementary skills to work every day. Besides being a wholehearted content marketer, I'm also a mindfulness trainer. I recommend to my meditation-students practicing attentiveness.
Staying in the moment helps us focus better and, more importantly, it leads to smarter solutions. This applies to ourselves but also to our clients. You can only act in the here and now, and so this should be your focal point. You cannot act in the past and you can’t in the future.
Yvonne Schröder, Director Content Marketing at Aperto an IBM Company
The next big thing in Marketing or Smarketing as we say at HubSpot - that is sales and marketing mixed together - is I would say that there are two major trends. The first one. Using video to accelerate the prospect and customer experience. I'm talking about using video in every aspect of the engagement process. If you don't use video in your smarketing efforts it could be problematic. The second one. Using automation to make the customer experience more human.
Dan Tyre, Sales Director at HubSpot
The next big thing will be the focus on owned media as a strategic function in business. Product and service brands will increasingly build media divisions that will transform their marketing from cost center to profit center. We will begin to see all companies adopt some of the same strategies that more forward-leaning companies like LEGO, Amazon, Red Bull, and Jyske Bank have already developed. Content and a strategic approach to building audiences will become a core part of successful business strategy.
Robert Rose, Founder & Chief Strategy Officer at The Content Advisory
The next big thing in marketing is AI. And one immediate impact AI is having on marketing now is automated content. This is content that doesn't just write itself, but pictures that appear and self-organize, video appearing like magic to accompany your blog post, and all sort of other ways content can "just happen." Automated content will impact every function of the organization.
Rebecca Lieb, Strategic Advisor & Consultant
Personalization in collaboration with the customer. Let me explain: Personalization is hardly something new, nowadays it’s not even an advantage but a basic necessity. But it also has a somewhat bad reputation. Consumers say things like “I don’t want anyone else deciding what I read” or “I feel that my data is being used just to make me buy more”. There is a danger in this.
If a company’s credibility is questioned, no method in the world will make a customer buy from them. But at the same time, the amount of information, offers, services, ads and technologies in constantly increasing. The consumers can NEVER navigate though all these messages on their own, they NEED personalized communication to sift through the massive amount of choices. That’s where the next big thing is.
To achieve a personalization but avoid the customer feeling surveilled and unable to control their flow of information. So I think that we all need to set the customer in the driver seat. The companies that manage to invent perfectly personalized communication and maintain the customer’s trust, will win. Their data is theirs, not ours to play with. Let’s develop offers together with the customer, not work separately in a black box and present our message without the possibility for the customer to take part in the process. The customer is still king. Or queen. We are but simple servants.
Sofie Redzematovic, Business Developer at Hjärt-Lungfonden
Like we switched from a web-paradigm to a mobile-first world some dozen years ago I think we are right now on the verge of the next generation of man-machine-interface. Our predominant interaction with the internet respectively the internet of things or technology will be voice or gesture first. This will have a huge impact on product design, marketing and content in general.
Andre Alpar, Investor & Digital Marketing Strategist at Alpar Beteiligungs
The next big thing is not voice, video or AI. The next big thing is marketers actually making a difference. Some say that we are asleep at the wheel, but I say that we’re not even in the driving seat. Hell, we’re not even in the $@#%* car! We need to have seat at the table where it matters.
In order to get there, we need to up our game, be bold and most of all make brave decisions and follow-through. We need to get from the “make it pretty”-department to become the “change agent” of our organization. Let’s not jump on the next shiny thing in front of our nose but start focusing on making a difference instead of making a brochure!
AJ Huismann, Co-founder of Content Marketing Fast Forward
I think the next big thing in marketing is marketing. I hate to sound glib but I do think a lot of the fads and tactics are running out of runway and really the only way left to do great marketing is do great capital M marketing – strategy, research, creativity. Yes the internet has flipped everything on its head but there’s no one headset or app or channel that’s going to suddenly move product faster.
Where I come from, marketing is a hell of a lot more than comms. It’s the whole picture. And I don’t think marketers can hide behind any single tactic any longer.
But hey if we need a shorter, sharper answer I like drones so maybe drones?
Harendra Kapur, Head of Writing at Velocity Partners
*This post is (if you haven't noticed) in English. That's because The EDGE is an international conference. So it's like a service, you know, to people that aren't speaking Danish.