Innovative forms of artificial intelligence are finding their way into devices that will automate everything from your sprinkler system and your car, to what you need to read in college and what you will wear to your next cocktail party.
Blockchain will be the new transaction platform for banking. Predictive analytics are recommending business outcomes based on data they “learn.” For many, these newfangled products and systems aren’t easily or readily understood. There are data privacy and security concerns. These advances lead to job fears. There’s worry that technology will, like in movies, somehow control our lives.
Marketers in this era will need to take a different approach to reaching potential customers simply because of the degree to which these new technologies can change how people live and how companies do business. To reference the technology adoption lifecycle in Geoffrey Moore’s seminal book, Crossing the Chasm, outside of the visionaries and early adopters who will try anything new, are the rest of us. The pragmatists, the practical ones. The groups that wait for others to try new things before they take the plunge. They need extra convincing. They need examples of how things work, and they need to hear these messages multiple times through multiple channels. They also need more empathy, and more TLC.
As communicators, here are a few fundamentals to consider:
Visuals Over Words: The more complicated the message, the greater the need for visuals. Consumers today want things summarized, and an entertaining visual -- infographics, videos, charts, graphs, etc. -- is a much more efficient means of capturing emotion, purpose and meaning than a long article or written instructions.
Love Marketing: Memes of love, security, and positivity will need to be the norm with new technologies that can evoke feelings of risk, loss of control, and concern. The campaigns of tomorrow will harp on feel-good messages of inclusion, safety, and well-being, as well as examples of how our lives will improve or how companies can better perform.
Psychographics and Audience Research: Understanding the nuances and sentiments of buyers, their personalities and needs becomes hypercritical now. Our success as communicators will be based on careful research and audience psychographics, so that we can begin to find the right words and pictures to intelligently reach audiences when they’re most receptive to the message.
Will Social Media Die?: The channels we use to reach audiences will also be affected by new technologies. Even social platforms will become “AI-enabled,” in that a program can learn what a person or group likes to post and read, and ultimately will be able to generate posts for them on specific topics. This flies in the face of the original “social” premise: transparency and authenticity. Social media won’t die, it will evolve just like public relations and advertising.
Stories from Others: It’s not new, but it’s more important now than ever: customer testimonials, proof points, examples of how things work, all will be particularly critical in the B2B world, and within certain consumer demographics. These stories must be told with positive emotion and humor, visually, frequently and through multiple channels. This will require even more integration of previously siloed services within brands and the agencies they use.
These and many other new communications strategies and tactics are going to surface as a new era of innovations hits on the market. It will be an invigorating time to help deliver the ultimate promise of technology, and to help the world embrace its benefits.