Five Revolutions that Will Shape the Future of Marketing

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Revolution #3: Artificial Intelligence Becomes Less . . . Artificial

Creativity and imagination are often thought of as the one realm that computers can never conquer, because the inner workings of the mind are what make humans unique. But it is already possible to control a computer with our thoughts alone, and commercials for IBM’s Watson computer are now touting its ability to generate new ideas — helping chefs develop original new recipes, for instance — using data to spark creative inspiration.

As artificial intelligence continues to evolve and improve — powered by the combination of Big Data, the Internet of Things, and always-connected devices tied to people’s location and activities (e.g., the Apple Watch) — it will begin to behave more and more like a giant alternative brain, one that rivals and surpasses humans in many ways. Machines already do most jobs that involve repetitive motion. When machines start replacing people who use their imagination for a living — writers, designers, architects, engineers, teachers, etc. — they won’t just be taking better jobs, they’ll be challenging what it means to be human.

This shift will create a great deal of psychological stress for people with actual brains, generating a massive need for goods and services that will help them adjust to this strange new reality. Brands that can help people ride the wave of change to a brighter future, or help people cope and adapt, will be in high demand — as will brands that affirm human values and identity.

The market is full of trendy terms — Big Data, the Internet of Things, digital natives, globalization, social media, etc. — that attempt to describe the complex technological and social changes that the world is currently experiencing. However, there is a danger in reducing complex social dynamics down to a few catchy buzzwords – trendy terms can act as intellectual shortcuts that fool people into thinking they understand these ideas when they really don’t.
Yes, everyone knows change is coming. And everyone can see it happening around them. But in the next 20 years, so much change is going to happen so quickly that large portions of the populace are going to have a difficult time keeping up.
And it won’t just be individuals. Underestimating the speed and impact of these changes will be the downfall of many businesses large and small in the coming years. In a world of constant disruption and uncertainty, however, marketers who truly understand the key forces behind these changes will be in a better position to adapt and survive. Looking ahead, there are several horizon-level revolutions that everyone in marketing should be aware of, because they are about to be felt with a force that is difficult to overstate.

Owen Shapiro is the author of Brand Shift: The Future of Brands and Marketing. Shapiro is a market researcher, strategist and speaker and spent more than 30 years in customer insights and market strategy. He has a career-long interest in helping launch innovative start-up companies, several of which have become well-known brands, including Staples, PetSmart, Sports Authority, Ulta and Five Below. 


Related Topics : Vulnerabilities and Patches, Resellers, Broadcom, Broadband Services, Supercomputing

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