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The Future of Marketing: Wearables, Virtual Reality, and Voice Technologies

If one thing holds true in the 21st century, it’s that we’re more connected than ever before. We have anthologies of information at our fingertips. We can search, communicate, collaborate, buy, sell, even pay with just the tap of a screen.

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As Black Mirror-esque as it seems, the connection between humans and technology is undeniable. Our faces unlock phones, and our experiences as consumers have evolved drastically at the hand of technology. It’s only right, then, that our suite of tools and technology as marketers has evolved, too. As expansive and invasive as new technology has been even in just the last decade, meeting the needs and demands of the marketplace will become a matter of staying tech-savvy.

What does the intersection of marketing and technology look like over the next decade? Our team has some thoughts:

Development Team

With the proliferation of technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and augmented/virtual reality, we’ll see the line start to blur on how we traditionally think of interacting with media. With that, we’re going to see more dynamic and immersive experiences.

Those experiences could range from interactions with interfaces that are more personalized to the user, whether it’s customizing the experience based on that person’s needs and preferences, or even reacting to that person’s mood in real time (or other subconscious attributes that person may not even be aware of). With machine learning, there may also be advanced predictive models that are utilized to anticipate a users’ behavior before they even realize it. Hopefully, this type of adaptive technology will be used for good (e.g. technology that promotes accessibility to all users regardless of their abilities).

Generally, digital interaction will become even more omnipresent with the creation of new wearable technology or heads-up displays that seamlessly integrate with our lives. These technologies intend on making interaction more convenient and streamlined, but in the process, will likely expose people to even more advertising in their everyday lives. Websites will continue to be important for people to produce longform content, but consumers may be using alternative ways to interact with the content, like using new wearable tech to read the content aloud, or utilizing an app that has AI integration to summarize or curate the content before the user consumes it.

Businesses and content creators will need to adapt to this new technology by creating new types of content that take advantage of the immersive and omnipresent nature of the tech. One example would be creating VR (Virtual Reality) or AR (Augmented Reality) experiences to give a more realistic impression of a product or service. Plenty of that content is already being produced today, but if VR becomes more mainstream, the demand for this kind of content will also grow. Generally, businesses will be fighting to cut through all of the digital noise that their audiences will be interacting with on a daily basis, so these experiences will need to be engaging, intuitive, and convenient.

User Experience Team

With advanced technology, there is a new ability for consumers to hear from marketers in a more direct way. The same is true for the reverse—marketers can hear more directly from consumers. User Experience (UX) research is becoming more prevalent, with more jobs being created to meet a growing corporate need.

Machine learning and AI drastically affect an organization’s ability to socially listen. Will listening and audience research become cheaper as it is more accessible? Will these new methods become just as common for an organization to invest in and maintain as, say, social media?

Not too long ago (relatively), it was nearly unheard of that you could coordinate a ride home, unlock your house, or even sell your car all from your phone. Technology does not meet consumer demand, but rather, it informs it. User experience will always be along for the ride. As the field increases, the need for not just UX design, but good UX design will be crucial to cut through to your audiences. This booming discipline will be ignited by the new technology we’ll see in the next decade, if not by the technology we’re already seeing.

Creative Team

Any new vehicle of communication will bring a tidal wave of creative expression from society, ultimately informing the collective media landscape. Similar to how scrolling and swiping gave us new language, gestures and expectations, AR and wearables will reach a consumer adoption that creates its own behaviors and expectations—bringing with it a collective good and bad.

The good:
In a perfect world, great UX will inform everything. Society will welcome hearing from friends or learning about news, products and services through a watch, sunglasses or their car windshield.

The bad:
Bad actors in marketing will exploit this. In 10 years, the line between advertising and life will evaporate completely, creating a larger reticence of marketing tactics and making it harder for brands to create well-intentioned, non-annoying, authentic experiences. Our industry will need to take more care, infuse more value, and be more human than ever before. No one wants a pop-up ad in real life.

And, news flash—10 years isn’t that far out. Start immersing yourself now. Do you own a wearable today? Do you know how they work? Have you gamed in VR? Do you understand AR culture? Go to a crypto conference. Buy an Oculus. Understand the technologies—the people— that are coming together culturally to make this new world a reality. Start looking at skill sets and experience. What’s missing from your creative team, your development team, your content team? What will they need to contribute effectively in the future?

As an industry, we can’t underestimate the speed of maturity in this space. What’s considered “great” AR will constantly change, and for a while. The skills required to craft high-quality experiences will compound. And the achilles heel: You can’t wait for the tech to refine before stepping in the ring. Adopt too late and you’ll fall into a cultural gap. Prioritize your team’s understanding of what’s under the hood now.

Mighty Citizen Can Help

Do you need to catch up to the digital age, or prepare for the ways it will transform in the coming years? Reach out to our experts at Mighty Citizen—we’d love to hear more.

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