By: Nikola Hopkinson, Content Manager, ADMA
When you search for ‘digital trends of the future’, Google will invariably serve you the same five to 10 topics: increasing popularity of mobile, rise of apps, cloud technology and programmatic etc.
What you get instead from Tom Goodwin from Havas Media, is a much more holistic and meaningful answer to the ultimate question: What will digital look like in the future?
Goodwin was one of the keynote speakers at ADMA’s recent Global Forum and presented some thought-provoking ideas on the future of advertising and digital.
He sees brands using technology on a superficial level that is meaningless to customers, like ‘digital garnish’ and uses Ikea as an example. The Scandinavian furniture giant has released a virtual reality experience for designing kitchens, yet their website and online capabilities have a lot of room for improvement.
“Brands need to apply technology less to the edge and more at the centre of business,” says Goodwin.
Companies like Uber and Airbnb are great examples of innovative and disruptive brands that use technology at the core of their business.
“Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content, and Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate.”
Goodwin likens most digital transformation journeys to the Sagrada Familia, Gaudí´s emblematic temple in Spain’s Barcelona — painfully slow evolution over time. He suggests that businesses, marketers and advertisers need to embrace change and create a new culture — and do it fast.
“We built ourselves the foundations for the past, and we need to rethink things for the future.”
According to Goodwin, there are nine ideas that marketers need to be mindful of when planning for the future.
1. The disappearance of digital
In the coming years (and it’s most likely already happening), the distinction between online and offline will disappear and as such, so will the idea of digital.
“We need to understand that online is like oxygen or electricity. It’s a really vital thing that we don’t need to think about that much — it’s part of the tapestry of life.”
2. Infinite screens
Back in the day, devices used to be singular purposed — take a TV or newspaper for instance. But today, smart phones and TVs are all traditional media plus more!
Devices should now be thought of as screens that serve as a “profound canvas for advertising”.
3. Intimate screens
As screen sizes got smaller and smaller along the journey of the screen, they also got more personal. Think about the incredible amount of personal information your mobile phone holds.
This intimate screen with incredible interactivity presents an amazing opportunity for advertisers to target customers in the right place, at the right moment with highly personalised content.
4. New realities: VR, Augmented and mixed reality
The emergence of new technologies now presents customers and brands with new realities — virtual, augmented and mixed realities — plus new and exciting opportunities.
5. More mediated
According to Goodwin, we consumed around 45 hours of media per week back in 1995. 20 years later, that number has jumped to around 75 hours per week. Research shows that we miraculously spend an estimated 31 hours per day (yes, per day) on activities, thanks to an increasingly multi-tasking world and of course, the smart phone.
The key takeaway here is that in an already media-heavy and busy environment, customers don’t want more to do. “Be mindful that we don’t live in a world where people are looking for extra things to do,” says Goodwin.
6. Paradigm leaps
Paradigms shift so often in today’s evolving world, that Goodwin suggests innovation and looking forward are the key to staying relevant.
“If you perfect something for the old world, you’re basically irrelevant for the future.”
7. New world thinking
Remnants of the ‘old world’ like the QWERTY keyboard and carbon-copying (or cc-ing) people in emails are great examples of our reluctance to shift our thinking.
Goodwin suggests we need to start working around technology and the future, rather than around our behaviours and assumptions based on the past.
Apps have started moving the background, delivering relevant information only when you need it. Goodwin calls apps like Google now the holy grail of advertising, where customers are served the right information at the right time in the right context, to help them make decisions.
The speed with which we’re developing and adopting new technologies is faster than ever before. At a time when everything is changing rapidly, we need to think ahead and look forward rather than thinking about how things were done before.
“Businesses need to work with technology at the very centre of your business, start looking forwards — work around what’s possible.”