Technology Future in Global Marketing
Originally published by The Guardian on 10/09/14.
Throughout the history of human civilization, we have never created or owned a device that is so personal and powerful as the Smartphone.
Our relationship with mobile devices has become so intimate that there is separation anxiety if we are separated from our devices for just a couple minutes.
With our mobile devices, we can buy, sell, pay, communicate, collaborate, learn, entertain, search, play, monitor our health, document our own lives and more. It allows us to do so much with a single touch or swipe. Heck, one day, we probably can 3D print useful objects directly from our own mobile devices.
Technologies and devices also change the way we create, consume and promote content. All these changes signal a fundamental shift in our behaviors. Behavior, in turn, drives marketing requirements and strategies.
Content presented on touch screens is different than content displayed on old-style TV, PC monitors or print. We are still creating content for traditional formats, but we are also branching out to mobile apps, mobile content marketing, and user-friendly content for different screen sizes. With this “protect and tackle” approach it’s important be aware of new technologies, which may impact the future landscape of content marketing. Four important areas that are crucial for marketers to understand are Search, Wearables, alternate input methods and Big Data.
Google continues to refine its search algorithms, which impacts the content that will be displayed to audiences. A few years ago, results were limited to relatively simple matches to a user’s queries. Current search results already take into account “when”, “where” and “how” in an attempt to anticipate your needs and deliver more appropriate responses by evaluating contextual information including your location, past search history, calendaring and other relevant clues. In the future, search engines will continue this trend in an attempt to act like an artificial intelligence assistant.
Impact on content marketing:
Instead of spitting out thousands of links, search will anticipate our needs and propose the most relevant content pieces based on its understanding of us at that time.
Search will not only filter or select content on behalf of us, but also deliver up the content we need based on a human-seeming understand of available data about the searcher.
Because of this, the content that marketers create should anticipate users’ needs. Instead of creating large-scale finished pieces of content, it will be more effective to create modular pieces that can be used as building blocks to quickly create targeted content in reaction to changing needs, requirements and behaviors.
Having one intimate mobile device is not enough. We constantly pursue smaller and more innovative form factors such as Pebble, Apple or Samsung watch, Google Glass and other wearables. Though these devices may seem rudimentary currently, more and more useful features will be incorporated into such devices until they become indispensible and change our behavior. While initial PCs in the 1980s offered only simple text editors and spreadsheets and were therefore only useful to a limited subset of consumers, today’s machines offer fare superior capabilities including managing music, photos, editing movies and interacting with friends across the world. Phones have followed a similar trajectory so that today users can use them to manage their daily lives. Expect wearables to follow suit.
Impact on content marketing:
With smaller form factors, long form content may not work well. Form, design, copy and user interface play much bigger roles in content creation for wearables. You may need to customize content for different devices.
Content may be much harder to scale from one device to another. Responsive design may not completely work for different wearables, since form factors and infrastructures of devices are different.
Voice Recognition and Gestures
We create content for our eyes only. As technologies continuing to advance, we can expect increasing interaction with content through voice and gestures. Marketers will need to create content that is activated with voice commands and hand movements. Content consumption is evolving to enable multiple forms of input and output rather than just simple keyboards and screens.
Impact on content marketing
: With the introduction of input and output devices tuned to multiple senses, content creation can no longer be in only written form.
Interaction with your content needs to be available in multiple formats to take advantage of touch, gesture and voice capable devices.
Big Data and Personalization
The proliferation of connected devices and our dependence on technologies and tools has created a massive amount of data. Every time we touch any device, there is the possibility that our actions is being recorded by the companies that provide the service, app or tool. Even off-line activities, like taking the subway, are being recorded by security cameras and become data. Regardless of the implications to personal privacy, the abundance of information allows companies to understand what makes individuals unique and allows us to tailor content to individual needs as well as identify previously hidden opportunities.
Impact on content marketing:
With Big Data to understand your customers better, personalized and customized content becomes not only possible, but also essential. Your customers expect you to know them better. We need to manage and create content differently in order to take advantage of available information and efficiently use our budgets.
Imagine a system or set of applications that are format agnostic and treat different source content as units of raw materials in a big database.
Properly cultivated and created content can then be assembled to target very precise customer segments. Eventually even customer segments of single individuals.
So, what should we do differently now?
Let’s consider our predicament for a moment and go back to basics. Why do we create content? To grow business. We create value by creating helpful, educational and entertaining content to grow business. No matter how technologies advance, how sophisticated search algorithms become, how big data enables personalization of our content needs, everything comes back to the following:
- Start with a great product and service
- Start with the mindset of helping your customers
- Plan and strategize your content
- Create relevant content to serve your customers
- Promote and syndicate your content where your customers will find it
- Establish the process to measure and optimize your content
No matter how the world changes and technologies evolve, some fundamental marketing principles stay the same and continue to serve as our compass.
 For Larry Page, Search Is Still Google’s Ultimate Moonshot: