Email as a function of our lives is not in question, but consumer email is expected to slow its growth over the next few years, with many turning to instant messaging, social sites and mobile IM as the core means of staying connected to family and friends.
Email behavior and habits are changing, as are consumers in general. The mobile device is changing us, bridging remote, work and home life interchangeably and storage is infinite. But what around us is going to change how we think about email, advertising and consumer brand connections?
I’ve become more and more inspired by some of the work Sparks & Honey has been producing about wave branding and cultural innovation. Read this and you’ll see a few examples of what we should be thinking about in the future.
As a marketer, and one who strives to see around the corner, I continually ask, what will our world of consumer and business advertising/marketing look like in the future?
Here are some 2017 predictions related to email marketing as we know it today:
Email to 3D printing. Want that coffee cup on sale? The design will be distributed through email, and you can print it on-demand. The promise of real-time fulfillment will arrive and subject lines will evolve from “Free Shipping” to “Print it now.”
Virtual currency. Real-time commerce, will arrive. Bitcoin and the future currencies will hit mainstream, and concerns over the hacking of online transactions will subside enough for consumers and mainstream brands to adopt. Want something now? Open your email on your smart device (TV, tablet, car, refrigerator or phone) and immediately acquire it right in the email. Buy, sell, trade at your fingertips.
Scent technology. Not likely to hit mainstream this soon, but I still believe it will arrive. I’ve long believed that the ability to tie marketing to scents is the real emotive connection we are missing -- on Valentine’s Day, you smell flowers and chocolate. All the smells of the world, will be distributed through packets of information to any device. Brands will connect scents with promotions. No longer will Starbucks be known for its sign, but for its smell of a new roast in the morning.
One screen. I believe the future will deliver us a single screen that can be projected onto any surface. No longer will you need to connect to display devices on three different operating systems; rather, a portable projection device will allow you to size and project on anything -- your glasses, your car screen, the wall in the bathroom, school desks, a shop display. Real-time ads will need to get a lot smarter to capitalize not only on geo-location, but contextual surfaces and consumer patterns that will dramatically shift by the generation of the consumer.
Email as we know it will be the same. We will still message, we will still have inboxes, you will still have third parties predominately storing and mining your communications. Privacy will be a huge concern, but convenience and connectivity will far outweigh the benefits to those that want to wall themselves off to the advertiser.
“It has become appalling obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity” -- Albert Einstein.