Are we finally headed towards a frictionless experience economy? How did we get here? Where almost anything can be delivered in an instant, where we’re inundated with choice, convenience, and access? How did it happen so fast?
Ten years ago, Mary Meeker’s first iteration of the Internet Trends report was released which was called “Ten Questions Internet Execs Should Ask & Answer.”
In it, she outlined how mobile was rapidly changing the way we were consuming and connecting, making everything easier, more convenient, and also, more fun.
Mo’ tech, mo’ problems for consumers
Fast forward to 2020, and sure, we have everything at our fingertips, but tech’s unstoppable proliferation into our daily lives is not all good news, as society tries to grapple with technology’s dark side: fake news, screen addiction, and digital fatigue.
In the past decade, these four things have revolutionized the world of marketing and martech, and will continue to do so in the near future:
- The ubiquity of smart device technology
- The rise of digital convenience
- Social media ad targeting and declining organic social reach
- Frictionless customer experience
All four reflect major changes brought about by technology, and the impact it has had on us guinea p- I mean, humans.
The ubiquity of smart device tech
In 2010, Apple’s iPad was introduced and Mary Meeker’s 2010 Internet Trends Report suggests “Mobile first” will reign in the coming years. Only 35% of Americans own a smartphone in 2011.
But, by the end of the decade:
- 81% of Americans own a smartphone.
- Facebook runs “Portal” device campaign all throughout the 2019 holiday season. Muppets as celebrity influencers….🤷♀️
- Walmart offers $450 gift card black Friday deal for smartphone trade-in purchases.
- Fitness equipment like the Smart Fitness Mirror and Peloton bike become immersive smart devices that offer private fitness experiences at home.
- Amazon Alexa extends/becomes available in automobiles (voice search optimization becomes important) - all adding the deluge of screens/device-time. It’s only a matter of time before she becomes a backseat driver.
- 200 million Amazon Alexa-powered devices in 2020.
- Your kid spends their entire waking hours talking to their friends, playing games, and supposedly “doing homework” on smart devices.
- Apple runs privacy campaign - Apple launches a campaign around security and privacy that strikes an ominous chord when it comes to the data you have on your smart device...“Your location. Your messages. Your heart rate after a run. These are private things. Personal things. And they should belong to you…”
- You know someone who has unplugged their Google Assistant because they’re paranoid it’s listening to them all the time. If not, come have a chat with me - I’ll tell you about my failed Christmas gift to my parents.
#1 Marketing and martech trends for 2030: More and more content and smart devices (everywhere)
By 2020, mobile and smart device tech has reached maximum “stickiness.” Conversely, device-free time becomes important. Data privacy concerns rise with the ubiquity of smart devices.
We’re seeing a social shift in the long term effects of privacy…. As billions more in venture investing targets our personal data for resale in a multitude of ways, people are starting to more deeply question their growing lack of data privacy and control.Andrew Hawn
So what does this mean for the next ten years? The ubiquity of smart devices means brands will have to create more variations of content in the coming decade that are optimized for each smart tech device and also across the smart tech ecosystem. Think smart watch creative, ads for smart fitness equipment, voice search optimization (copy snippets for AI (artificial intelligence) assistants), and so on. In order to meet the demand for content, marketers will look for new ways to automate creative, while staying on-brand.
At CES 2020, LG’s vision for the future suggests “AI becomes a seamless part of our living,” where “everywhere is home” and a series of interconnected smart devices and solutions can do everything from reassuring you before a big presentation to picking out a restaurant and making reservations to making sure you have something nice to wear when you go out. But this kind of AI-inspired future has big implications for privacy and customer data, as well as for the amount of content that will be required to make it a reality. Kaya Yurieff suggests that:
The hottest product at this year’s CES technology conference may just be privacy[CNN]
Brands will be tasked with putting more emphasis on the safety and protection of customer data, while simultaneously providing personalized experiences that are inevitably fueled by this data. They’ll also need robust martech solutions in place in order to organize, host, and distribute this content to an ecosystem of smart connected devices and services.
The rise of digital convenience
In the early '10s, you could buy a share of Amazon for only $130 a pop. (Bet you wish you had a time machine to go back and buy some shares!) You probably bought books, did holiday shopping and maybe that was the extent of your Amazon usage. You drove to the grocery store to buy groceries and items you needed.
But, by the end of the decade:
- You use Amazon PrimeNow to deliver groceries or items from Amazon’s warehouse. You just ask Alexa to reorder toilet paper or baby wipes or whatever and go about your day. 1 share of Amazon is $1793 today.
- People start to value their time more than the cost of delivery.
- A whole new host of delivery services emerges: Uber Eats, Instacart, Doordash, Deliveroo, Drizzly.
- Grocery stores start offering pick up and/or delivery including major players like Walmart and Target.
#2 Marketing and martech trends for 2030: Digital convenience
This rise in digital convenience means brands will have to produce a lot more content in the coming decade to “stock” the digital shelf and make sure that their products and services content is easily distributed to a host of new digital store fronts.
With the heavy burden of manual work to keep these store fronts up-to-date, brands will look for ways to automate this process through martech solutions like digital asset management and product information management system integrations and thoughtful applications of artificial intelligence.
Social media advertising, user base growth and the decline of organic social reach
Social media is a “new thing” for brands to take advantage of in 2010 (60mil users on LinkedIn in 2010. Facebook millions of users in 2010. Twitter users 100 million.) A 50 billion dollar opportunity exists for brands to match internet advertising spend with time spent in media (internet).
But, by the end of the decade:
- You check Instagram to catch up, see one Ad and end up buying a $90 makeup foundation from a D2C brand you’ve never even heard of. Why? Micro-targeting and social proof make it the right time, right place.
- Brands fill the gap that the Internet Trends Report highlighted in 2010 - spending billions on internet advertising by 2019.
- Social media is ubiquitous. LinkedIn 660+ million users. Facebook: 2.45 billion users. Twitter 330 million users.
#3 Marketing and martech trends for 2030: Social rapidly evolving
Social media was for a time a crucial part of the marketing mix for brands - ad spend increased to reach consumers. Twitter is used as a real-time customer service communication platform, but by the end of the decade, organic reach for brands on social significantly declines. CMI predicts brands should plan for the end of social, while Vice News highlights how millennials are ditching “mainstream” social media.
Brands are changing how they approach social media, meaning we may see a very different social media landscape in 2030. That means you might start seeing brands focus on other platforms like TikTok or investing more heavily on influencer marketing instead of brand-owned social profiles:
Sponsored content doesn’t have to lack authenticity, and when you give influencers freedom, you’ll see the return tenfold.Jolie Jankowitz
Senior Director of Influencer Marketing at FabFitFun
Consider Sally Beauty’s recent launch of the #SallyCrew influencer program which the brand will commit three-quarters of a million dollars towards. Retail Dive says that this strategy pays off, especially for brands in the beauty, fashion, style and cosmetics space.
Aside from leveraging influencers on mainstream social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, you may even see some brands begin to leverage their influencer networks on lesser-known, emerging anonymous social networking apps like Whisper - where communities are organized around specific interests and topics.
Mo’ tech, mo’ problems for marketer’s too
When it comes to researching and purchasing products and services, we are now overwhelmed with choice, bombarded with options, sometimes easily influenced by digital endorsements and reviews. The martech trends that have shaped the past ten years have also helped shape how brands manage the ever-growing need for content to fuel digital experiences across channels and devices.
The global explosion of high bandwidth connections will create a truly global and massive market for digital media content, whether niche or mainstream.Johnny Ryan
A History of the Internet and the Digital Future
Martech in 2011
Martech in 2019
Martech grows and grows, but do marketers fully leverage digital capabilities?
Chief Martech’s infamous marketing technology landscape supergraphic didn’t even exist in 2010. It debuted in 2011 - where only 5 digital asset management platforms were listed. It’s predicted that martech spend will only account for 1% of the total marketing budget in 2012.
But, by the end of the decade:
- 143 MRM and DAM vendors listed, 7,040 total martech companies listed.
- Worldwide spend on martech is around ~121 billion dollars.
- “Marketers report they only use around 61% of the functionality available in their martech portfolio. They lack the resources and skills to integrate and adopt the tools.”
#4 Marketing and martech trends for 2030: Frictionless martech
There’s no reason why the second golden age of marketing won’t also include advances in marketing technology. People (already) expect a frictionless experience when it comes to purchases in their private lives - why not also in their business lives? We expect frictionless experiences to become a major martech trend in the coming decade.
By the year 2030 what is really exciting is most things will be frictionless. Everything will be purchasable. Everything will turn from product to service.Tamara Ingram
Global Chairman at Wunderman Thompson
See what marketing will look like in 2030 👉 https://youtu.be/imjeJtl2tBg
Martech companies will need to live up to the idea of “everything easier, more convenient and more fun.” And brands will need to get savvier about the technology they choose to adopt and integrate into their marketing tech stack - prioritizing those that will help them create more frictionless experiences for their customers.