W2O@SXSW: Seven Key Trends Shaping our World

On Monday, I shared my view on seven important trends shaping our media world during the W2O SXSW Summit in Austin that will impact our media industry and our approach to data science, as well as create a wide range of new opportunities for entrepreneurs.

In my view, each of these trends either is or will be a game changer for how we interact with customers and citizens in the 195 countries on planet earth.

#1 – Messaging platforms are becoming the center of media – the world is sprinting towards more frequent use of messaging platforms, since there is a belief that they offer an encrypted, safe and private environment. This shift means that behavioral analytics will increase in importance as we measure changes in behavior and language more than full conversations. Basically, pattern recognition will trump conversational analytics.

#2 – Transactional metrics will be replaced by lifetime metrics – a next generation of relationship metrics will track people and communities forever. Psychological models will explain why a journey is evolving. Content will be created that aligns with the right moments for you.

#3 — Search is the most important and least understood media platform worldwide – this will change as we appreciate search as being the brain, library and jury of our lives. It is the uber of location-based information, since we can see who has influence by topic by town (and we could revolutionize the designated market area (DMA) system). We can look back decades to understand how a brand or reputation has evolved due to the enormous library capacity of search and the results of search serve as the ultimate “truth” of the market.

#4 – Global brands will realize how important it is to reach youth well before a future purchase – since our memories and habits are most intensely formed for life in the period between 0 and 25 years of age, it is often too late to make a big difference if a brand starts to care about us after this initial point.  We need to be more like Disney and think of customers for life.

#5 – Streaming media is becoming our new center of how we learn and have fun – if we look at trends for podcasting, music streaming and related platforms, it is clear this is a growing area. What is less obvious today is how it will revolutionize how we will work.  Podcasting/videocasting can unlock peer learning inside organizations, allowing teams to learn iteratively across the globe. Brands that learn how to “narrate life” will personalize their story and build more powerful and loyal audiences. And B2B applications of immersive technology, such as VR, will open up new opportunities, ranging from improved classrooms to training surgeons via VR and haptic touch. It is nearly limitless in its applications.

#6 — We will shift from a focus on the genome to a focus on the “menome” – imagine if our genomic profile was combined with our smart wearable data and then we added in our internal biochemistry diagnostics to understand how to improve our health. We will want access to all of OUR data, which will lead to an explosion in new private clouds, new applications of blockchain to ensure verification and new relationships with companies who can improve our wellness. Yes, we want the right to control who advertises to us, but this is chicken feed compared to future examples related to our menome.  My belief is that a new generation of devices, diagnostics and drugs will emerge from this knowledge that will transform the healthcare industry as we know it today….as just one example.

#7 – Our ability to protect our brands, organizations and ourselves will be increasingly important – bad actors are innovating as fast as we are, identifying ways to sell us counterfeit goods and services (a nearly $500 billion industry), introduce us to extremist views, sell us illegal opioids and more. Our ability to stay ahead of bad actors will become an important part of our media efforts.

Each of these trends has the capability to transform how we work, act and benefit today. Our ability to evolve at a pace that keeps up with this change will separate the winners and losers in the world of entrepreneurs in the years ahead. It will be a fun, chaotic and hopefully productive era.

Bob Pearson
Bob Pearson

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