The State of Marketing in 2020

 Borrowing heavily from my marketing peers, this compilation looks to the future of marketing. Some of the comments contradict each other because the comments come from a number CMOs who are MENG members. 

The ideas revolve around three core groups. These include consumers, the retail and other traditional channels as well as all areas of advertising.

In summary, most commenters think the biggest impact will come from the advancements in technology as companies and their customers become more proficient and reliant on its use.

 - Consumers will continue to push for telephone support and access to real people to handle complex customer service problems such as tech support and billing issues.

 - Consumers will continue to demand higher quality, people who can speak English and stronger warranties as products continue to proliferate thus increasing competition.

 - Retailers will be forced into state of the art database marketing offering customized products and services based on predictive models and finite geographic targeting.

 - Less disposable income switching more to value at the expense of costly brands.

 - Technology will make specific products more easily available requiring less research. For example, consumers can already scan items on the iPhone to find the best price.

 - Demographics:  today, 75% of the people 70 in the US are white and 25% of the people under 10 are white. These changes position multi cultural marketing as the norm rather than an option. Though more diverse, the population as a whole will become increasingly older.

 - Advertising hype looses credibility in the face of easily available information.

 - Checks will disappear completely from the scene as chips imbedded in the skin will contain all required personal information more powerful than today's ATM card.

 - Printed materials such as books will always have a market, but they will print on demand from electronic files. The consumer will print the book or order the book preprinted depending on price and convenience.

 - The land line telephone and Ethernet connections will still exist, but will be used for very specialized reasons. The need for security will determine the level of use for these old technologies.

 - Complete medical histories will exist in one place giving doctors an important diagnostic and prescription tool.


 - Malls will become less and less viable as centralized retail outlets due to high costs and customers' decreasing willingness to shop the old way.

 - Large retailers will take on more responsibility for marketing products that support the store's brand.

 - The Internet rather than the local store interacts with the customer to sell products. The store becomes the warehouse where customers can get product support and pick up items when they don't want to wait for delivery.

 - Television usage is declining among younger people and is being replaced by the internet. But TV, Internet and gaming will merge into a single device making targeted offers to users of all ages.

 - Hard copies of magazines, newspapers and books will be as common as hand-crank telephones.


 - Marketers will combine branding, image advertising, positioning and direct marketing strategies for true communications integration if they are to succeed in the new world.

 - Analytics and customer intelligence will lead rather than follow the creative and strategic media planning processes.

 - Customer intelligence will take a seat at the C level in most consumer goods and BtoB companies.

 - Persuasion from customer behavior patterns will allow marketers to understand customer needs at a greater level of specificity and timing as the mass of data becomes more usable with the new analytic tools.

 - The need for speed and marketing expertise will become a core competency of successful companies.

 - International marketing becomes the norm rather than the exception going from less than 10% of companies of all sizes to more than 75% (needs research to validate the 10% assumption). This means that medium sized and small companies will be in the International game competing with the giants. 

 - Social media will increase in importance as consumers rely on peers for product recommendations rather than company representatives who gain financially in a given transaction.

 - The Internet becomes more expensive as social sites and search engines monetize their businesses for the long term.

 - Spam will continue to grow as a problem for email marketers. Advertisers will increasingly rely on email for CRM and cross selling products to existing customers with refined offer personalization. But email as we know it will not overcome the stigma brought on by spam to make it a core new customer acquisition channel.

 - The Internet, and attributable profitability is direct marketing, and I think that will be most important.

 - Mobile messaging, customized promotions, self selected communications (permission emails or mobile messages) will grow exponentially.  But traditional email messaging will become a smaller part of  the mix.

 - Today's internet, television, and printed materials will be delivered through "reading" glasses which can be controlled by hand and finger gestures not unlike sign language.

 - The Post Office -- get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills. (Poster's note: some of you will take exception to this one.)

"I see an unstoppable shift of power from seller to buyer, and I see that flowing through to new leadership for modern corporations, coming from the people who grow up managing the external instead of the internal. Said more simply:  I think marketing is going to increasingly become the route to profit and growth, and the CEO office."

Another point of view:
"This is not a popular belief but marketing has not and will not change. What changes are the distribution channels and media to communicate.  Example:  Twitter, Facebook, yada yada are nothing more than a channel to reach consumers. You still need business and marketing strategy, content management strategy, brand positioning, relevant messaging etc. "

Or what about this one?

"There is no way you can project 10 years out. Look back 10 years. Could you have projected social media's impact on society? Mobile Marketing wasn't a possibility. Online video. Consumer barcoding. I can't even schedule this year's summer vacation."
I was wondering if you could think of other changes that we need to prepare for?
Posted on September 24, 2010 and filed under Direct Marketing Strategy, General.