We’re not approaching a technological singularity any time in the near term, but we are on pace, within five years, to reach a great convergence where technologies, processes, and experiences are beginning to gel into one big figurative glob. Delineation is dwindling between a brand experience vs. entertainment (i.e., watching Netflix) vs. browsing a storefront via an app is becoming less obvious and less important.

Marketing, in many ways, falls smack dab in the center of all of that. On one hand, while we can’t let technology dictate our strategies, we can’t just sit around and ignore it, either. Blockchain is changing payments and transactions, but it can also be used as a trail of evidence for a customer’s purchase. New data-tracking capabilities make pinpointing a person’s digital footprint easier, which in turn makes targeting customers easier and their experiences more personal. Marketing isn’t about what you want to say anymore; it’s about creating the best experience.

We asked several of today’s leading marketing masters to share their take on the biggest marketing trends and predictions headed our way in the next five years. Below are those five big predictions, and the experts explain where marketing is heading and what it means for you and your business.

1. Real-Time Marketing Is Really Here to Stay

As much as some brands out there might like to envision having microchips embedded in consumers’ minds that “fire” whenever they’re considering a purchase, such a thing is not immediately feasible… in the literal sense, anyway.

But, real-time marketing is coming to the forefront, as brand-building itself becomes more evident than ever. Connected devices, connected homes, and voice and cross-device personalization — all trends we’ll touch on here — are the parts that make “real-time marketing” a real thing. Lindsay Murray of Blue Acorn iCi elaborates:

We can’t all be Amazon, but we can leverage technology to do more than just newsjacking or reactionary social posts. Consumers expect much more.

2. Voice Is the Talk of the Town

Mass adoption of voice as a channel may lie just beyond the horizon, but it is time to begin preparing for the dynamic changes that voice-related search is already bringing. How? Primarily, by embracing what Apple, Google and Amazon are doing, but optimizing things on your website for voice search.

Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media Studios “voices” his recommendations:

In the near term, write question-answering content for web pages and product/item descriptions geared for semantic search.

twitter “Leverage #voice-as-a-channel by writing question-answering #content” says @crestodina CLICK TO TWEET

Wil Reynolds, founder and Director of Digital for SEER Interactive, issued a tweet where he explains how the data his team found indicates that, for the most part, brick-and-mortar shoppers and millennial fashionistas are most likely to voice-search for information:

Which industries were most impacted by #voicesearch – we looked at 1 Million queries to find out – https://t.co/fIQdfuBSdK pic.twitter.com/wuk1K6NBex
— Wil Reynolds (@wilreynolds) August 8, 2017

3. Don’t Get It Crisscrossed with Cross-Device ID

The consensus among the experts I talked to is that while true cross-device channel identification is further along than it was a few years ago, there are still a couple barriers to widespread and successful adoption.


“XDID is at a point in the hype cycle where it’s “cool.” There’s two things I see that will limit implementation in the next five years — but if those can be dealt with, we may see wider usage. One is standards. What’s the standard of XDID — cookies are simple, but XDID is more complex. The other thing: how will application vendors respond to XDID? 75% of companies don’t [yet] have the tech to handle it. If those walls can be breached, we will see wider usage.”

Robin H. Smith • Co-Founder & CEO, VL OMNI

Joshua Scotton, co-founder at Personify XP, recognizes the immense value that can come from XDID, but warns against legal complications, avoiding the creepy factor, and accidentally targeting the wrong person with the wrong message:


twitter “#Data allows marketers to match device fingerprints & stitch multiple devices together to track someone for the end-to-end journey – but we have to be careful” says Joshua Scotton of @PersonifyXP CLICK TO TWEET

4. Blockchain Creates a Locked Frame

Blockchain for marketing is evolving, but potentially game-changing as we look for more efficient ways to analyze, track, and prove processes. Eric Siu, blockchain expert and founder of Single Grain, introduces how the dynamic new technology works:


twitter “#Blockchain is an #online ledger for immutable tracking of transactions & establishing proof” says @ericosiu CLICK TO TWEET

Christopher Penn of Trust Insights expands on the implications for proving data providence:


What does this all mean for marketers in the near term? As Christopher alludes to, expect more ease and greater efficiency for basically any process-related event. Blockchain may be the most interesting prediction in our list, partly because it’s already somewhat actionable, but also because of its potential for impact in the future.

5. Banner Blindness

Banner ads, in the traditional sense, just don’t make much sense, these days. With a ROI of $2 — the lowest of any other activity — more marketers are turning to owned channels where they have greater audience control, like email or mobile.

banner blindness

While “banner blindness” threatens to dismantle traditional display advertising, social media and GDN retargeting is a high-value, sort of new-age substitution. This method lets you reach existing contacts or lookalike audiences with content more likely to resonate than a typical intrusive banner ad.

Final Thoughts

The line is thinning between brand experiences, utility, and entertainment. Technology is expediting the delineation, and making a lot of things more efficient for marketers, including providing a connected customer experience across the connected digital ecosphere.

Mindfulness of these five predictions will put you in a position to be ahead of the curve for the next five years.

Handpicked Related Content: