Marketers Must Learn to Anticipate Content Trends

Every company, regardless of size, knows they must advertise if they are to grow. Yet with all the money that is being spent, it is increasingly difficult to get your message to the right audience. This is where it pays to be anticipatory. Using the systemic method outlined in my Anticipatory Organization Model, you can ready your organization for the disruptive transformations ahead.

Do you remember when MTV was the best way to get in front of the teen and young adult audience? Once mobile technology became popular, it didn’t take long for that age group to be on the move.

In no time, videos were streaming on iTunes. Though teens continued to watch, viewership dropped. Then came instant messaging, followed by social media. For a time, Facebook gave advertisers their niche audience of young consumers congregated in one place.

That is until Snapchat and Instagram came along.

To add to the challenges of the last couple of decades, smart speakers are now in about one-quarter of U.S. homes, and podcasts are gaining popularity. In fact, about 50 percent of households now say they listen to podcasts, with a majority of them joining the trend in just the last three years.

According to, 38 percent of listeners are age 18-34, and 64 percent listen on their smartphones.

What’s Next in Target Marketing?

As technology-driven change changes direction, it is easier, and far more profitable, to change direction with it. “It’s easier to ride a horse in the direction it is going.” That’s what my grandfather told me as a little boy working with him on his farm in Texas.

Every company, regardless of size, knows they must advertise if they are to grow. Yet with all the money that is being spent, it is increasingly difficult to get your message to the right audience.

This is where it pays to be anticipatory. Using the systemic method outlined in my Anticipatory Organization Model, you can ready your organization for the disruptive transformations ahead.

Three Hard Trends and Two Tech Trends to Watch

In my work as a technology and business futurist, I have found the most effective way to approach becoming an AO is to focus on demographics, government regulations, and technology. In addition, it is always good to know which consumer technology trends will stick around. I call these Hard Trends (as opposed to Soft Trends, which may come and go).

  • Demographics drive opportunity. There are nearly 80 billion baby boomers in the United States. Not a single one is getting any younger—a definite Hard Trend.

  • Government regulation is a constant. As a general rule, will there be more or less government regulation in the future? Of course, there will be more, and that’s true regardless of the industry or organization. That’s also a Hard Trend.

  • Technology will continue to grow. From the ever-increasing functional capabilities of our smartphones to the growing use of 3D printing, technology is inevitably going to become more functional, more sophisticated, and more widespread. That’s another definite Hard Trend.

  • Multi-layered media is here to stay. According to research, our attention spans are shorter than ever, and consumers demand instant gratification and quick fixes—not a litany of product features and benefits.

Today, content channels such as social media, Apple Watch, and Google Home provide the perfect vehicles for interactivity at any time, in any place, and with any person.

  • Consumer attention is likely to stay at a premium. At least for the foreseeable future, multi-layered media is here to stay. Consumer attention remains at a premium.

Advertisers know the harsh reality: Running an ad on a major television network and supplementing it with web banner ads is no longer a guarantee of reaching the audience.

If you use my Hard Trends Methodology to look ahead to the future of marketing, you’ll be able to anticipate the fast-moving innovations to come. New devices are likely to be developed, and their connectivity doesn’t show signs of slowing any time soon.

Learn to be anticipatory—start with my book, the Anticipatory Organization, available on

Virtual Reality and Subliminal Marketing

However, if the masses embrace VR as predicted, should we be concerned that this completely immersive experience could lead us once again down the dark road of sinister subliminal advertising?

Virtual reality (VR) has become a reality, as nearly every tech company has created a product that features it, and it is now seen by many as mainstream. Facebook-owned Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, and the HTC Vive are just a few examples of household names that have launched us into the future of the immersive experience.

There is little doubt that VR has the potential to revolutionize the entire entertainment, tourism and even learning industries if audiences adopt the concept of strapping a device to their heads. At the same time, there will be those who feel instantly compelled to compare the technology to such fads as the first 3D television.

However, if the masses embrace VR as predicted, should we be concerned that this completely immersive experience could lead us once again down the dark road of sinister subliminal advertising?

Applied to VR equipment and other, similar technology, subliminal advertising has the increasing capability of wielding a much deeper impact on the unknowing user. given the vast, immersive characteristics of the VR environment. Consider one concept we’ve seen, where music apps and a smartwatch claim to play subliminal messages at a frequency overlaying music that cannot be detected by the ear, but only by the subconscious brain. This seemingly harmless idea could be incredibly valuable to savvy advertising agencies, as well as to candidates running for office.

Removing the everyday distractions of modern life and locking consumers away in an entirely immersive experience is every marketer’s dream — so before “plugging in,” we should all consider the potential implications of the use of this unregulated technology to manipulate us.

When we take a closer look at the advertising that surrounds us, it’s obvious that subliminal messages are real and powerful, as seen in one 2015 example created by a Brazilian advertising agency. The advertisers placed a billboard of people yawning at a busy metro station in Sao Paulo. This “contagious billboard” was fitted with a motion sensor that automatically detected when commuters were passing by and then displayed a video of somebody yawning.

The campaign aimed to convince passers-by that they were tired by using infectious yawning. The billboard followed the yawning video with this message: “Did you yawn, too? Time for coffee!” If it is possible to convince busy commuters to buy coffee by broadcasting a subliminal message, can you imagine the power potentially wielded within an immersive virtual reality experience that is completely free from distraction?

The gathering of data from our online purchases already allows subtle messaging for influential purposes, so the adverts that pop up and the messages we receive are certainly no accident or coincidence. Everywhere we turn, we are unwittingly subjected to product placements in video games and movies, but we congratulate ourselves on being able to see the messages and resist their pull. However, would we be as resistant to such messages if they appeared while we were completely immersed in virtual reality?

There is an enormous responsibility for any advertising agency considering bringing any form of advertising or marketing to virtual reality. If the consumer experience is in any way tainted by the out-of-date and detested marketing messages from our past, consumers will fail even to adopt the medium.

The main problem is that the current method of advertising is broken, and billions of dollars are wasted on ads that are either not seen or deemed irrelevant to a consumer’s lifestyle. This change in customer behavior is ushering in a new era of marketing called “targeted display advertising” (TDA) that uses consumers’ own data to deliver personalized ads that resonate with them.

Organizations finally have a handle on big data, and they will be able to leverage our mobile devices to learn what we’re interested in even before we clearly know ourselves, based solely on our browsing histories.

As we drift between devices and screens, we have surrounded ourselves with wave of white noise that has become a frustrating obstacle for any advertiser striving to stand out amongst all the distractions. However, a headset that removes any form of outside interruption by pumping sound into a consumer’s ears and preventing his or her eyes from wandering could make subliminal messaging hard to avoid.

Before becoming paranoid about what’s to come, it is important to understand how this technology can also be used for the greater good, too.

Virtual reality can make a positive difference in our lives by opening up fantastic opportunities for learning, rehabilitation, teaching and tourism. But I would like to see more conversations and debates about how subliminal marketing messages should be used in that environment, to help solve any problems before they occur.

What are your thoughts on the immersive experience virtual reality delivers to audiences, and about the benefits and downsides of its being leveraged to deliver subliminal messaging?

To better determine and understand the Hard Trend opportunities the immersive experience virtual reality delivers to audiences, get my latest book The Anticipatory Organization.

Pop Quiz, Monday with Chloe Smith

Being involved in a startup means your role is a moving piece and there are so many things you want to achieve, at the one time!

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Chloe Smith

Chloe Smith
Photo credit: Chloe Smith

What is your job role?
I’m the Chief Product & Technology Officer at Leadr.

Tell us about your company?
Leadr solves online advertising for small businesses. But our larger purpose expands beyond that. We’re here to help our customers understand how to market themselves effectively in an affordable way. We take care of online advertising for small business owners. And we do it in a way that’s focused on building a partnership—We give you a team of marketing experts and intuitive software via a Personalised Dashboard to monitor the results, contact your Account Manager 24/7 and access personalised tips to help your businesses marketing improve.

What do you love most about your job?
Helping our small business customers improve their online presence and watching their businesses grow as a result. For me, this means continually questioning how we are adding value to our customer’s businesses, how we can help educate them and provide market-leading advice and tools to deliver value to small businesses of all types consistently.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
Small business owners have so much passion for what they do. Our customer’s enthusiasm is infectious. At Leadr we genuinely believe in our purpose to help our customers realise their potential through online marketing tools and expert advice. We put that purpose, energy, and enthusiasm into everything we do and we’re always asking how we can make our service better. That aspiration and energy are what motivates me every day – to give our passionate customers a service that they see working and helping them.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
My co-workers inspire me in many ways, and they are a genuinely brilliant bunch of people who can teach me something new every day. We’re focused on building positive energy and entrepreneurial spirit into all our processes and ways of being – that approach galvanises me to do better and grow each day.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
We see ourselves as a great team, and part of being a great team is creating a culture of freedom and passion. That means providing our team with opportunities to grow through education and training, learning lunches and professional development. We celebrate our achievements, and we make a big deal about our small wins because we’re focused on growing. We thrive on having a team of passionate, different and unique individuals. We create a place where they can grow and thrive as business professionals.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
Being involved in a startup means your role is a moving piece and there are so many things you want to achieve, at the one time! Prioritising what is imperative, nice to have and not needed at this moment is crucial to ensuring you don’t get bogged down, wasting time on inefficient tasks. Always focusing on the goal of the business and the immediate steps required to get it is essential and learning to say no is crucial.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
For any project, we use daily stand-ups to align and keep the project to a deadline. Feedback is also essential to this process, creating a culture where feedback is vital to everyday business but is seen as something positive.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
Don’t let fear hold you back from starting something you wish to pursue. There are a lot of people that talk about the ‘what if’ and never do it. That’s a frustrating mentality to me. I hear people who have great ideas, and I think you should do that. They let fear stop them and in particular a fear of failure. If you’ve got a great idea, make it happen and don’t always feel like you can’t do it because it might not work.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

Marketing Tips for Launching a New Product

Do you want to launch a new product or service in the market? Launching the product is next step after you have decided what you want to offer as your product or services. Product launch is a crucial step as the sales and growth of the product is dependent on a good and well-hyped product launch.

Take an example of the leading tech brand Apple. Do you know that they sold 300,000 WiFi units on the launch day? Within 3 days, 1.7 million iPhone 4 units were sold. Clearly, they knew how to launch a product for maximum sales! You too can kickstart your product launch and can boost your sales to a huge success. But there is no universal law that is to be followed. Every brand has its own strategies, brand value, and shortcomings. Do you know that sometimes even the most experienced product managers fail to get the product off the ground?

Photo by Ugur Akdemir on Unsplash

Every single day countless products are being launches across the globe. But they fail to perform well in the market no because they are not up to the mark, but because they are not marketed well. To launch the product in the market that creates a buzz in the market and that catches the attention of the target audience requires careful study of the market. Let us have a look at the following steps that will help you in achieving this target:

Analyze your Competitors

In addition to working on your brand’s SWOT (Strength Weakness Opportunity Threat) analysis, you have to keep an eye on the competitor’s SWOT analysis too. You have to start by taking your competitors seriously. Make a list of your competitors that are offering products or services in your domain. Try to figure out their strength, weaknesses, strategies and future plans. Analyze what makes them stand in the competition. Plan your strategy according to your competitors. Get into the shoes of the customers and know what is their definition of a good product. This will help you in your marketing strategy, advertisements and you can stand out from the crowd.

Focus on Target Customers

Photo by Dom Hill on Unsplash

As a brand, you have to focus more on the target audience. They are the ones for whom you are launching your new product or services. So it becomes necessary to focus on the customers who are most likely to buy from you that too for a long term. There may be customers who might be purchasing similar products or services as you are providing and appreciate the new features or quality you are offering. But your ideal customer will be those who have a need for your products and services, can afford to buy the product and are eager to buy from you.

Give Something Unique

Before actually starting marketing, you must have a clear idea of what you have to market. What are the things that make your product stand out from all the products that are available out there in the market? You should make it clear to the customers that why should they buy your product and not from the bunch of competitors out there in the market. In a nutshell, make sure your product is a value to the money, it should have unique features and it should fulfill the needs of the customers.

Work on Marketing Strategy

“A standing man in a black and white shirt reading a newspaper” by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Next, you have to make your marketing strategies clear to your team. What would be your channels for the marketing? Are you going to market the product online? Select all channels through which you would like to market your product eg, newspaper, magazines, print media, digital media, television etc. Generally, multi-channel marketing is more effective as your product is exposed to the customers from every possible channel.

Test Before Launches

We know you have put a lot of effort, money, and resources and bought up your post like a child. Why risk the success of your product prior to the proper testing of your product. You should test your product or service, marketing message and the value you are going to provide through your product. You can first focus on the sample target audience group or simply can have a meeting with the target audience group. Distribute your product in malls, and small retailers to know the response. Carry out online surveys to know how your product is performing before actually launching the product.

Get your Campaign Started

It’s time to start your campaign. Get all the media coverage you can get. Create a hype and buzz for the product. Start advertising heavily, start various contests, distribute prizes. Hold a launch event for the product. Get your product available in the market so that customers can easily buy your product. Make sure that you get the most out of the media coverage and hype. Analyze the results after the campaign and check what worked best for you.

By implementing all these techniques, you can boost the sales of your product. There are many other strategies that you can follow for a good product launch but these are few strategies that work for almost all the brands whether big or small. A good product launch is foundation for the good sales and you can lay the foundation for your next product and next innovation.