The Present and Future of Digital

By Vivek Bhargava, CEO, DAN Performance Group

Shaping the Digital Landscape

The digital landscape is rapidly evolv­ing – what was typically seen as just another medium of advertising and marketing, has today become the age we live in. Digital is playing the role of a catalyst and multiplier across every facet of an organization. Digital com­bined with innovative technologies will be a game changer, a single digital technology like artificial intelligence may disrupt almost every single indus­try we know of today. The biggest dif­ferentiator between legacy technologies and digital is the nature of exponential growth it enjoys, coupled with the connections between all the current exponential technologies.

There is also a drastic change in the way digital is looked at today by the C-Suite. Approximately two years ago, a typical meeting with the promoter of a firm to discuss their digital strategy would be directed towards the CEO, who, in turn, would pass on the buck to the CMO as he was perhaps too mired in ‘mainstream’ strategy. Today, one spends hours with promoters who are interested in sitting down one-on-one and understanding the best way forward for their respective companies, a path that could make the most of digital media.

“Cloud computing and machine-learning algorithms have fueled the jump in artificial-intelligence solutions”

In effect, digital today is the sole medium ensuring that a brand connects with its target audience. No other me­dium offers such customized slice and dice of demographics, psychographics, geographical and location based data along with detailed behavioral analysis of the consumer, enabling the facilita­tion of the right communication reach­ing the customer.

Breaking it down with an example, considering television as a medium, one has to plan for frequency – the fre­quency may or may not take place. In digital, however,one can setup a certain frequency wherein the consumer has to watch a particular advertise­ment five times. If it is skipped, the advertiser does not have to pay for it. Alternately, in television, the ad­vertiser ends up paying for the ad­vertisement irrespective of whether it was watched or the channel was switched. Several brand market­ers are still wary of readily making the shift from television to digi­tal – but once they do, there is no looking back.

The Challenges that Lie Ahead

The top most challenge brands face today owing to evolving consumer behavior is communication in the digital economy. Firstly, we live in the times of an ‘instant’ generation buy some thing today and it’s de­livered to your doorstep tomorrow– they never have had to wait for any­thing in their lives. The generation of millennials demands everything instantly without any interruptions. Thus, communicating to this sector is going to be an immense challenge though advertising till now has pre­dominantly been interruption led.

Secondly, today a brand is per­ceived as a totality of experiences of the product or service. Previously, brands stood for one specific qual­ity e.g. Volvo for safety, Ferrari for speed. However, today there are mil­lion consumers who each have a dif­ferent image of the brand they buy. While one may associate a particu­lar car for its resale value, another may view it as a portrayal of their status symbol. How does one run with a single communication mes­sage when your brand means differ­ent things for each consumer? This one-on-one communication where one can’t say a single thing about the brand is a challenge. Vendors will soon come up with new innova­tive solutions based on this customer evolution in the future.

Mapping out the Future Trends

The future belongs to exponential technologies great digital transfor­mation will take place on this front.  Technologies will eventually inter­twine to make a single virtual eco­system. Robots, drones, 3D print­ing, nano-technology, block chain are a few amongst others.

Artificial intelligence software solutions are likely to be the top disruptor in technology in the com­ing decade. Cloud computing and machine-learning algorithms have fueled the jump in artificial-intelli­gence solutions. It is interesting to note that no two machines make the same mistake. How ever, ma­chines can only replace the func­tions human beings do, not human beings themselves.

Additionally, virtual reality pro­vides an immersive experience. There may be the possibility of virtual real­ity utilized as an advertising format, since that pretty much increases the screen size to infinity and can make quite the impact.

Further more, in the last two years alone, five billion GB of data was generated which accounts for 90 percent of the world’s data created till date. Making sense of this data, creating actionable insights through this data and its applications will prove to be a game changer and en­able wealth creation.

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