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PHD predicts how new technologies will impact society and the marketing industry over the next five years

PHD predicts how new technologies will impact society and the marketing industry over the next five years

"PHD details how a social approach to technology will drastically alter institutions from
government to gaming, from media to marketing," says Facebook’s David Fischer

New technologies that will become prevalent over the next five years and their impact on society and the marketing and communications industry, is the subject of a new book released today by global media and communications agency PHD, part of Omnicom Media Group.

David Fischer, Vice President of Advertising and Global Operations, Facebook comments; “In 2016 Beyond the Horizon, PHD takes us through a fascinating and detailed look back at how technology has brought us closer together even as geography has pushed us farther apart.  PHD details how a social approach to technology will drastically alter institutions from government to gaming, from media to marketing.  The future PHD outlines is a place where technology enables us to connect with our friends and harness their collective wisdom to make better decisions.  It is a future that is connected, networked and, while uncertain, certainly better.”

2016 explores the likely developments within areas such as connected TVs, markerless augmented reality, enhanced voice-recognition, Natural User Interface (NUI) and NFC (Near Field Communication) and how, coupled with the acceleration of social media usage, they are changing the actual physics of marketing.

The book considers that with one in every two people in the developed world connected to a social network, there are now 1.2 billion independent media owners all linking to each other.  They are influential, given that peer recommendations are more trusted than any form of advertising, and since social networks don’t stop at their own boundaries but instead affect the entire web, they leave a print on ‘social graphs’.  This is leading to a complete change in how society functions and all of this activity is increasingly mobile.

2016 looks at how technology will affect the areas of infrastructure, interface and internet as well as the implication on society in 2016, including:


•    The most defining difference from 2011 will be people looking through their devices and holding them in-front of their vision to augment their surroundings. It will be a common sight in the street, in shopping malls, in front of outdoor ads, in shops and in cinemas.

•    An increasing amount of purchases will be made after a device has been held over the product to see a summary of user reviews and even brand sentiment. As people enter stores, they will be peering through their translucent devices and seeing hovering ads and user reviews – but all organised and ‘iconised’ so that the information is attractive and easy to digest.

•    Youth audiences will amuse the older generations by holding phones in front of their friends’ faces to gain access to their social graph. A large percentage of youths will abandon any concerns of data-privacy, as the desire to be witnessed will be overwhelming. They will be further incentivised by the additional benefits that they receive such as micro-payments, tailored content, pay-wall access, free wi-fi and the kudos of belonging to well-branded groups. These super-socialisers will allow more of their activities to be witnessed by their social networks. Some people will set-up closer knit groups for a sort of VIP access to what they are doing.

•    Voice controlled smart devices will act like personal assistants. We will speak naturally into them to book restaurants, flights or even to find out specific pieces of information. Computation will be done in the Cloud and every single engagement will improve the
overall algorithm for all; by 2016, the experience will begin to deliver on expectations.

•    Devices will be constantly tapped as people use them in most parts of their daily lives from payment-pads to micro-payments and against shop windows to check-in or check-out.

•    TV viewing will be done in some connection with people in the same social graph – people will get used to knowing who they are watching TV with. This will become the central fireplace around which social networks will gather. A large percentage of people will consume TV with their smart-device in their hands and have the content working across both screens – this is particularly the case for appointment-to-view content.  

•    The smart device will commonly be used to find out more information about what is on screen and make purchases there and then – an increasing amount of the products within content are embedded with more information, socially enabled so they can ‘Like’ them and connected to an e-commerce engine so they can buy there and then.

Finally, based on the observations of technology’s impact, PHD has predicted how this will manifest itself in media agencies in the future:

•    By 2016, the advertising industry will largely be considered as much a technology industry as it is considered a creative industry. The communications agency of 2016 will be increasingly considered to be a digital-based agency first and foremost and in many of the developed markets, communications agencies will also consider themselves as data agencies.

•    Agencies will take client data and combine it with their pools of existing data and social data to create high propensity segments – therefore increasing the bespoke nature of audiences and increasing the potential scale. This will present an increasing challenge for advertisers and for auditors in terms of assessment.

•    Some communications agencies may divide themselves into two halves with one side focusing on Upscale services and account management and with the Automation half being centrally ‘pooled’ within the holding companies. The Upscale half will be ultimately on a road to compete with the existing creative agencies. The Automation half will be on a road to compete with the algorithm-based software/investment houses.

•    What we will see is an increase in the value that communications agencies add. Advertisers will spend more time selecting their communications agencies than they do today and than they do with any other agency as the complexity in assessing one against the other will increase. But get the decision correct and the effect on the advertisers’ business will be as, if not more, significant than it has hitherto been with the selection of the creative agency.

Industry thought leaders also give their views in the book, with their opinions and key themes from the book brought to life in film via mobile* using Zappar’s augmented reality technology.  Among those included are BBH’s Sir John Hegarty, Diageo’s chief marketing officer Andy Fennell and Babs Rangaiah, VP Global Media Innovation, Unilever.  

Mark Holden said, “We will see as much change in the next five years as we have done in the last 10. Technological development will enable us as people to move one step further on our journey towards abundance – where we are able to be everywhere with everyone with everything in the moment. With this paradigm, we can assess the technologies that are likely to gain traction over the next five year – technologies that are distributed across infrastructure, interface and the internet. Successful developments will be those that liberate and empower people.

The result of all of this will be that by 2016 ‘media agencies’ will be a greater determinate of marketing success. And by 2016, marketing will be a greater determinate of business success” he continued.

The book, which has been authored primarily by PHD Worldwide’s strategy and planning director Mark Holden, alongside a number of PHD executive co-authors, will be available to buy on Amazon at a cost of £15.99 from 19th September with all proceeds going to Unicef.


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