It’s no secret that advances in marketing technology have enabled brands to collect more data from their customers than ever before. However, a large majority of this data is often deemed “irrelevant” for a given campaign and tossed aside. The most successful marketers instead choose to dig deep into this data to find unexpected trends and correlations. Subaru, for example, unexpectedly learned that their customers are 2x more likely to own a dog, so they made a comical spot featuring dogs driving their vehicles and it instantly lifted sales.
Companies that interact very briefly with consumers (via short-form content or information) had a very lucrative 2015 and show no sign of slowing down. We attribute this to the steady decline of the human attention span, which now averages at a mere 8 seconds (down from 12 seconds in 2010). For example, while people only spent an average of 32 seconds on BuzzFeed, the company brought in $1.5B of revenue last year. On Shazam, 19 seconds led to $1.0B in revenue, and on Vice, 16 seconds led to $2.5B in revenue.
No one thinks of their experience at Starbucks as a UI or UX moment. Once technology becomes as intuitive and gestural as human interaction, it will become truly invisible. That’s where things like IBM’s Watson or Mark Zuckerberg’s idea of building an AI assistant for his home come into play. Natural language processing/AI plus naturalistic interaction/input methods are where we are headed. Right now, these are wonky, jittery prototypes. But the shape of the future is becoming clear. Are the fearful pundits right? Or does Ray Kurzweil have the right idea?
Incubate Your Future Threat:
Organizations across the world are increasingly acquiring or building “start-up” units within their walls to bolster creative thinking and fix inefficiencies. Even companies as large as Google, which pieced together a small team to design a marketing training app, and the Fed, which built a small digital agency to fix broken government websites, are finding that the spirit of innovation and agility that these teams embody have achieved real ROI. But companies of all sizes need to think about who their biggest threats are, and see if they can guard against them by creating solutions within their own walls.
As the media landscape becomes evermore complex and driven by technology, it will almost certainly become more fragmented too. While many agencies view this shift as a threat, it should instead be viewed as an opportunity. More than ever, clients are looking for experts to guide them through the ambiguity and the range of new technologies that could be utilized for their campaigns. Smaller agencies without the resources to experiment and agencies that are not nimble risk the possibility of falling behind and losing the business.
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