This article first appeared in Forbes.
The 2010 decade sure had its challenges, but one positive change was the leap in technology capabilities. This holds true not only for consumers, but also for marketers.
For example, the proliferation of smartphones with powerful cameras, loads of apps and high-bandwidth mobile networks has changed how we communicate and share ideas. Marketers can promote events on the go, livestream sessions, share pictures and essentially keep people informed — globally and in real time. In short, we now have a multimedia studio in our hands.
Sure, the rise of smartphones began a few years before 2010 — the iPhone was introduced in 2008. But the widespread adoption of smartphones along with new social media platforms also helped the industry mature.
This now begs the question: Are marketers ready for the technology shifts we’re sure to see in the 2020s? Personally, I am keeping my eyes on these three trends.
Space Exploration For The Masses
Though the International Space Station program is ongoing, the last space shuttle mission under NASA was way back in 2011. The private sector, however, has been moving quickly on space exploration. Virgin Galactic, the space-plane company founded by Richard Branson, has already made multiple flights(subscription required) to the edge of space. Blue Origin, founded by Jeff Bezos, is testing capsules for space tourism, while Elon Musk’s SpaceX is busy launching satellites for improved internet service. Morgan Stanley’s recent “space investing” summit drew a big crowd. Let’s not forget Space Force — the newly created arm of the U.S. military services.
Space technology will open new doors as entrepreneurs explore tourism. Look for opportunities to help clients leverage “space talk,” and see how you can tie their product or service to it and make the company relevant. For example, Under Armour recently collaborated with Virgin Atlantic to create spacesuits for the masses.
Humanoid Robots At Home
“By 2025, one in 50 households in affluent markets owns a domestic robot,” according to a prediction published by CCS Insights. That’s good news, given the largescale adoption of floor-cleaning robots that make lives easier. Many companies globally are also bringing humanlike robots to market. But they are often constrained by price and consumers not being ready to invite “another member” into their homes. It’ll be interesting to see how fast society adopts humanoid robots to have all their tedious tasks automated without worrying about “someone” being in their house.
Marketers will need to help companies educate the market about robots helping people and why having a “humanlike” robot at home will benefit people. The key to mass adoption is education and getting everyone comfortable with technology.
Just like Siri and Alexa use voice to answer common questions for consumers, home robotics can do things like remind people to take their medicines, guard houses, adjust temperatures or order more dog food. Marketers can utilize tools such as videos, virtual reality or animations on websites or apps to demonstrate how robots for the home can assist people.
I am a binge-watcher and enjoy watching shows and movies on Netflix and Amazon on my schedule. I also love that I am not bombarded with ads. According to research, 44% of U.S. consumers signed up for a streaming service because they wanted an ad-free experience.
As marketers, we have to keep an eye on platforms that will allow us to build and amplify brands, without turning off customers and prospects. Make streaming part of every occasion and event. Share the content and experience with fans, in addition to the people who are on-site.
During a pandemic, for example, when people have to stay home, meetings, conferences and online teaching can be done using livestreaming technologies so that everyone interested can join the virtual ecosystem, irrespective of their physical presence.
You can leverage platforms such as virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) to better engage consumers with your brand. Depending on your business, you could create online, real-time experiences to demonstrate your products or services, or take customers on a virtual tour of the Bahamas or an automated warehouse.
Already, VR technology is being used by some providers of warehouse automation systems to “show” managers a 3D “digital shadow” of how their warehouses are performing, or to train front-line workers on how to fill orders more effectively. VR can let consumers see before they buy from the comfort of their home or office, or conveniently teach people how to get the most from their purchases.
In short, marketers will need to be aware of tech trends to help companies stay relevant and top of mind, while also being mindful of issues such as data security and privacy. Partner with companies that are innovative, and ride the technology waves, rather than being swept away.