We can see a lot of ways commerce is changing today. Amazon and other e-commerce putting pressure on retail, customer experience trumping brand message, interaction moving to the Web and now moving to the mobile Web. But where is this all going? How is it going to look marketing to consumers in 2025 and beyond?
This is because the interface tech of our devices is going to change over to voice technologies.
“Typing is going to go away,” said Britton. “In five years from now, 10 years from now, we won’t even type. We’ll talk into our phones, not type into our phones.”
His picture of the smartphone of the future is a pair of Apple AirPod bluetooth headphones. The kind of device that lets you interact with your phone without having it in your hands or in front of your eyes.
Britton thinks that 95 percent of what you do with your device in 2025 will be done in your ear.
This is a future all of the major device makers are moving toward. Personal assistants and voice-activated devices like the Alexa products are essentially working toward IOT without the screen, and therefore without the typing.
What does this mean for the consumer of the future?
You don’t really pick from lists in voice search. You ask for a recommendation, get one, and either go with that or suggest a new one.
One example Britton gave was buying batteries: You ask Alexa to buy batteries, and it’s likely to offer the Amazon house brand. Then the user may buy those, or suggest another: “Alexa, get me Duracell instead.”
Even though extensive product choices exist, only a few are really in consideration: The one Alexa suggests, and other brands that my be top of mind for the user. In a post-text world, there is not the exhaustive of choices to flip through and compare that you have on a device with a screen.
Customer Experience Over Brand
Why would consumers want that? because, in this future where young professionals are renting and experiencing more than owning, deep product decisions are less important. Or those decisions are made based on word of mouth, not product listing.
And that’s the core idea that came out of Britton’s presentation, and quite a few others I’ve seen lately. It’s one of the biggest trends of the fall 2017 events season: The opportunity to market through competing brand messages is going to become more limited as the delivery mechanisms optimize to create a more convenient user experience.
Convenience means streamlining choices. Which could put many lower tier brands in a bad spot.
In that world, your brand will be more impacted by experiences that stick in the user’s minds than marketing. The experience may be even more important than the offer, since in this world, users may not care to compare many offers.Perhaps your owned audience, your house list, will keep your offers getting through. But if you want them to pay attention to those communications, again, you need to build an experience they want to continue to go out of their way to interact with.
If that future sounds a bit bleak to you, it’s time to worry less about he message and offer, and care more about the experience you’re providing.