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A look at the future of marketing
During the ESADE Alumni Refresher Programme on May 4th, professor Jaime Castelló enlarged upon his theory of how marketing can be done in a different way in a world where everything is connected.
Information technology has always had an impact on marketing. First, because of its impact on the way we communicate, from the invention of the printing press to the use of the smartphone. ''Today’s marketing budgets are spent increasingly on new technologies,'' said Castelló. Technology has also changed creativity, the way products reach customers and how products are paid for. In short, new technologies are changing the way we do marketing, so the technology of tomorrow will also affect us.
The Internet of Things
A new reality facing companies is the Internet of Things (IoT): separate things that are linked up, enabling them to share information and perform tasks without any direct human intervention. Professor Castelló explained that ''by the end of 2016, 6.400 million such things were connected, i.e. 30% more than in 2015. At this rate by 2020 there will be more than 20,000 million, a vast IoT network.''
Jaime Castelló then screened two videos about IoT and the technology that makes it possible: technology that is already on the market. On this basis of all these data, Castelló then outlined two possible horizons which may result from the IoT evolution: the year 2020 with more than 20,000 million connected things, and 2040, when machines will be able to think for themselves. What impact will both have on marketing?
Before presenting his theories, professor Castelló asked the audience to work as a group and imagine the future of marketing in both scenarios. After this short exercise, he then outlined his own theory.
In Castelló’s theory, this is the year that platforms triumph over pipelines (production or assembly lines). ''Uber, for example, offers the same thing as Ford but has just an app. The main companies might be platform and not pipeline companies,'' he concluded.
The IoT would also enable us to know where our customers are at all times, opening up a new dimension: immediacy. The fact that all products are connected could lead to everything being sold as a service, depending on how they are used, and everyone paying for the use of things, as in Car2Go.
The Internet of Things is also changing how customers are contacted and is prompting corporate marketing departments to seek a new type of executive familiar with the technological environment.
The second scenario proposed by Castelló involved machines able to learn by themselves: artificial intelligence. Voice and gestures will be enough to interact with them, smartphones, for example, will no longer be necessary.
Professor Castelló envisages a whole new world in which machines will do things we had never even imagined. We will share the world with another intelligent species. Machines will be able to take decisions or help us take decisions; we will state our wishes, and decisions will be taken by artificial intelligence. There will be some things we want to automate and others we do not. ''We will have to deal with a new segment, artificial intelligence, and we will have to know how they are going to take decisions and how we are going to prepare value propositions for decision makers.''
''Although we have used our imagination to look ahead, the biggest surprises always come from where you are not looking so it’s essential to be prepared,'' and with these words, Jaime Castelló ended his talk.
See you there!
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