A good friend of mine, Jeff Hilimire – Chief Digital Officer over at Engauge, blogged a post where he poses this question: “How do you think marketing departments will change over the next eight years?” You’ll see he also posted it on Quora.
Anyway, I posted my response (which I’ll admit sometimes I might get long winded when I write) off the top of my head. I might circle back and give a more researched answer, but then I feel it would be a bit too contrived and less conversational. Where’s the fun in that, right? Besides… it would get lost in a pile of other “to do’s” if I try too hard to turn thoughts into formal articles. I’ve got a half dozen unfinished articles on my desktop right now. LOL. ;)
So here’s my reply: (Please share your opinions here or there or wherever you’d like.)
2020, eh? Lot’s could happen between now than then. I read a few of the answers already posted on Quora and they sounded like descriptions of marketing departments for a much closer time frame. I say you’ve got to get out of today’s box and really imagine what the world will be like in 2020. The marketing department of 2020 will need to be a reflection of the world at that time. Like I said, I think a lot could happen by 2020. Just look at the past 10 years alone. The next ten will make today look like the stone ages. Maybe it’s just me, but my approach in imagining the what a marketing department must look like in 2020 would begin with taking a good stab at imagining what the world will look like first. So for example, researching the technologies in development that are slated to hit the market in the next ten years plus looking at what other major factors that may affect our culture as a whole (e.g. political, economic, etc.).
Think of it this way: In 1990, marketing consisted of roughly TV, radio, print, display and direct (mail, telephone). In 2000, the list of channels is maybe several dozen options (I won’t try to list them here). In 2010, the list is crazy long and included items nobody predicted back in 2000 (iPhones, social media, gps everything, etc). Want to take a stab at 2020? What will entertainment look like? What kind of breakthroughs are right around the corner? For example, will there be lifelike holographic capabilities by then? How will we be able to interact with it? How will such a thing affect communications and social interaction? What about quantum computing, black silicon, artificial intelligence (that’s a biggee), robotics, bio-technologies, technology implants, etc, etc. I think the trend is that everything in our environment will, in one way or another, be digitally enhanced, possibly intelligent to some degree, wirelessly connected and even aware of its surroundings (sensor technologies). Okay, yeah so maybe these things are a little far out, but history shows that many astonishing and revolutionary things have gone unpredicted and totally blind-sided us… so you get the gist of what I’m saying.
That means: as technology digitally blends into every inch of our surroundings and everyday lives, so will marketing follow suit. All marketing becomes digital marketing. All virtual and physical objects become targets for marketing play. The standard for marketing departments may be a bunch of tech geeks (but won’t we all be by then?), social behaviorists, number crunching analysts, creatives (of course), monetization specialists (it all has to translate to something, doesn’t it?), and whatever/whoever else we can throw in the mix to sufficiently figure out what we’ll need for 2030. Hmmm…