Celebrating the past decade. So what’s next?

We just celebrated nFusion’s 10th anniversary as an integrated marketing agency, so I thought it was time for some quick reflection on the past decade and some pontification on what the next 10 years may hold.

When we started in 2001 the dot.com bubble had not yet burst. The twin towers were still standing in New York. Real estate was thought to be a sound investment. And General Motors was public company. From an economic perspective, the last 10 years were a disaster. Trillions of dollars of wealth was lost.

Magazines and local newspapers were highly profitable businesses. E-mail addresses, if you had one, often ended with .aol. Google AdWords had just launched with 350 customers. And YouTube, Facebook and the iPhone were still years away from being invented. From a marketing perspective, the decade created more dramatic changes in a shorter time than any period in history.

So what can a marketing leader learn from the past decade to be prepared for the next? My favorite prognosticator is Bob Johansen, author of Leaders Make the Future. He identifies a leader’s key challenge as dealing with Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity by providing Vision, Understanding, Clarity and Agility. The former four attributes certainly typify the past decade and those attributes will be even more pronounced in the next decade.

So what key trends do I believe will be impacting marketing the most in the years ahead? I believe there will be at least these four:

1. Mobile access to any content, anytime, anywhere: Smarter smart phones. Lighter tablets. Smarter, more connected cars. Intelligent eye wear. Jewelery that is as functional as it is stylish. On-demand information will fundamentally change how consumers shop and make local decisions.

2. New content interaction devices: The iPad will look archaic in 10 years. And we haven’t figured out how to fully leverage it yet. Message exchange, photo sharing, game playing and TV watching will have platforms that raise users’ expectations about what a great experience means. Will marketing communications evolve at the rate that technology enables?

3. Faster networks: More complex content will be able to move around the world instantaneously. Video chats from your phone are here now. Are interactive holograms around the corner? Download 3D content in seconds. Check out that vacation property before you book it. See what the custom paint job on you new car looks like in advance. The demand for video content is only going to accelerate.

4. “Information overload” filters: The production of content that can inform and entertain consumers will grow exponentially. To deal with the deluge, users will filter facts, opinions and other content based on their own criteria. Trusted opinions. Known networks. Efficacy ratings. The challenge for marketing will not be breaking through the clutter but getting through the filters.

We believe that the future of marketing is inherently a digital future. We are excited about the possibilities and will be building our next decade on a digital foundation. How about you?