What will marketing look like in 70 years
Yesterday I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel at Henley Business School judging student presentations on the future of marketing. The goal was to predict what marketing will look like in 70 years’ time – no easy task even for the Sir Martin Sorrells of this world.

There were some excellent ideas and thoughts that I figured were worth repeating on here. If you’ve got any to add, pop them in the comments box below.

1.     The marriage of marketing to technology –  you have to understand the world and how marketing fits within the world to predict its future. Few would disagree that the future of the world is technology; the future of marketing is intrinsically married to technology.

2.     The rise of the cyborg – humans will be fully integrated with computer systems and they will become an extension of our brain. There will be those that reject this and choose to live a non-augmented life. They will be left behind and will be unable to compete in the labour market given their technological disadvantage (“the hippy versus the Technorati”).

3.     B2C becomes Business-to-Chip – marketers will stop marketing to the end consumer but to the processor chip inside each of us that marries what we want with what is on the market, what is best for us and what we can afford. In other words, B2C marketing becomes Business–to-Chip marketing. The consumer is no longer the decision maker. 

4.     The death of verbal communication – now this probably won’t happen in 70 years, but it will be on the cards. In a world of brain to brain transmissions, verbal communication becomes redundant. Language barriers will be removed with instant, seamless translation (or the emergence of a globally dominant language among the Technorati).

5.     AV advertising – while virtual reality will be a thing, augmented reality will be a bigger thing. It will mean a world in which (among many many other things) every advert we see is personalised to us and us alone. None of the thousands of people in Times Square will see the same advert on the billboards, each will be unique.

6.     Auto-marketing – will human marketers still exist? Or will AI do what we already do but so much better than we could ever do it?

The one theme that kept on coming up throughout all of these discussions was data privacy. In a world where everything – your health, finances, sex life, political thoughts, emotions, arguments, threats, insecurities – is stored in a database, retrieved through an API, and potentially displayed on a screen, we must have complete confidence in the system to be secure from unwanted visitors.

And in that world, what are the chances that those unwanted visitors will include marketers?

If you enjoyed this, read Tom Thatcher’s follow up – “The Future of Marketing is One Thing, What About the Future of Politics?”