What follows is from the brain to the page ramble that hopefully can spark some imagination and thoughts.
I’m going to go out on a limb and throw out some ideas of where I think things will go in the next 10 years, mostly because the story of SoLoMo (Social, Local and Mobile) can’t continue to be the hot thing every year.
At the root of it all I think there will be Hyper Connectivity, an evolution of not just the connection of sites via links, but via content, and APIs. The cross sharing of data and information. Whether we want it to happen or not it will for a few reasons. Google is driving the sharing of all the data they have across their own platforms.
There are few companies that can operate on the scale that Google does, but take multiple smaller companies and websites and open up their bits of data in interesting ways and you can create a way to compete against this. Google is striving to know not only who you ware (Google+) but what you do (Search, ads, analytics, etc.). Sadly at the base of all this it simply means they can be smarter about trying to get you to buy (or find) more stuff. I simply have to believe that there are better uses of data than this.
Examples of opening up data and succeeding I think are things like Netflix Million Dollar Programming Prize. I can only imagine how much more successful this could have been if Netflix had access to larger volumes of information such as Amazon’s data sources (or the independent online sellers). More interestingly is how predictive this may be of someone purchasing a video to keep. The opportunity to open up data sources can be mutually beneficially. This is also why I think you’ll hear more about “big data” and not just “big data” but “connected big data” looking at multiple large data sets and deriving value from them.
Developing auto linking algorithms in digital books to tie together similar and related concepts in books that were written by separate authors, is another way that open concepts can be beneficial, or on the other side providing a counter point to an argument in a digital book. Connecting not just words but concepts and ideas.
On the other end I think you’ll start to see smarter ways of understanding intent, and perhaps this is where the smallest growth will begin. Taking not just what you do but what you search for, and who you interact with socially and developing profiles to better understand who you are and what you need. Take for example the way a plumber may talk about drains, faucets, and showers and compare that to the language a common person may use. The plumbers language will likely be more sophisticated and knowledgeable about those topics and likely a richer vocabulary compared to the common person. They’ll search and talk about thinks much smarter than the normal person, from a marketing stand point knowing the experts from the common person provides an opportunity to create smarter content that can speak their language.
I’m not talking about personalization; I’m talking about predictive personalization or intent marketing. Intent marketing combines CRM, Social, Search, device data, and Analytics into a practice that understands who you are, what you’re looking for, and what you might need to do next to make an experience as seamless as possible. Think of it as GPS navigation for your digital experience.
Whatever the future brings, it needs to be more than getting data on my cell phone, or talking to my friends on line. The next 10 years will be smarter, faster and hopefully more open than the last 10, and we’ll see transformations not in just how we market, but in how we perform tasks. Research papers that can cite sources automatically, daily planning that can tell you when you need to slow down to improve your overall health and life style, things that will impact you in ways you never thought possible. The next 10 years is just beginning and I think it looks pretty exciting.