Vizeum global president Thomas Le Thierry visited South Africa recently, delivering a presentation to clients on how the media agency was navigating disruption in marketing. This included trends around consumers, tech, and urbanisation.
Introducing Le Thierry, Vizeum Johannesburg managing director, Byron John (left), commented: “We don’t notice the disruption until it is past us and becomes the norm… We’re in the disruption now, so it’s difficult to see at times.”
Le Thierry began his presentation by talking about one of his passions, music. The evolution in the way people consume music was a clear representation of the platform revolution, central to the world we live in today, he said.
Whereas before there were records, tapes and CDs, which dictated the music tracks in a linear way, new technologies have now “made people the chief editor of what music they want to listen to, what print media they want to read, what kind of pictures they want to see, what movies they want to watch,” he explained.
“The change is not linked to the format from analogue to digital, but its link from a linear consumption to a platform consumption… It’s not a digital revolution, it’s a platform revolution,” he added.
This revolution is affecting media and advertising as well. Whereas before brands disrupted content by breaking into it with advertising, they now need to be part of that content. Linear marketing metrics, like share of voice and share of market, have been replaced by audience numbers and sales on a platform.
This revolution is being driven by direct to consumer offerings, is data powered, and based on narratives. Service and home delivery are brands that are succeeding.
Transformation related to advances in technology
Le Thierry (left) identified two key factors that will continue to change and impact on this platform world. The first is continued advances in technology.
“By 2020, the achievement of 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) coming together will be a reality at scale,” Le Thierry predicted. “The biggest single effect of that is devices in our homes and in our lives that will be powered by intelligence, and all interconnected.” In this world, there will be no traditional advertising and no branding, with linear retail having been disrupted. Marketing for non-packaged goods will also be a priority.
Le Thierry sees several lessons from this new world:
- If you are not fit for the purpose, your brand will die. Stores will still exist, but they won’t be places to buy goods. They are there for experiences and consultations, while products are being delivered to your home.
- Marketing to real people is vital. Connecting with the end consumer and making them the centre is key. Brands need to create their own platforms and not rely on third-party ones like Amazon and Google.
- If brands make data the single currency of the business, they will be winning. They’ll be understanding the consumer and the insights, and be making relevant advertising, and know what works and what doesn’t.
Transformation of the world around urbanisation
The second factor Le Thierry pointed to was the impact of urbanisation.
“There will be a massive exodus to urban areas in the coming years, the same that we saw with the Industrial Revolution. Those big cities are transformational for our clients’ businesses. This is where the growth is happening, this is where the influential are, this is where the heart of the business is beating,” he said.
These will create targetable hubs for brand reach. It will also create a new sharing economy, with so many people having to share infrastructure, resources and space.
Follow Michael Bratt on Twitter @MichaelBratt8
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