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.

5D Analysis to Understand Target Group – By Er. Anil Guru

Firstly, each idea serves a specific market and it is important for the entrepreneur to know which market to serve. For example, a fairness cream may not be much use in Western countries with primarily Caucasian population; similarly, a tanning cream is of little use in Eastern tropical countries like India or Sri Lanka.

To understand your customer, you may have following 5D analysis

  1. (Definition) What is your customer based upon Demographic, Technological, Socio cultural, Economic, Political and Legal factors
  2. (Discovery) Discover the customer based upon 7 WH questions like When, what, how etc. e.g. How you can reach to your customers.
  3. (Dream) Who does your customer want to become? How you can support in their dreams. How new dreams can be initiated and utilized to unleash for realizing your venture’s dreams / mission?
  4. (Design) Do you understand your customer’s decision making process? For each product/market segment?
  5. (Destiny) What you want to achieve in a defined period. E.g. a sale of 1 million USD in 1 financial year by bringing 1000 customers to my platform.

The 5D Analysis is proprietary methodology of Er. Anil Guru i.e. the author of this blog post.

The identification of target group is very crucial as correct estimation of market size, business modelling, customer acquisition strategy etc will depend upon the degree of correctness and depth of understanding about your target customer / market.

About Author

Anil Kumar Gupta (AKA Er. Anil Guru) is a Business Empowerment Coach who supports ventures from Envisioning to Empowerment (E2E) by Inform, Instruct and Inspire (3Is) founders through sharing Insights, Intellect, Information and Ideas (4Is). He is An Electronics Instrumentation Engineer, Software Professional & Author.

He is technology entrepreneur and also helping over a dozens of startup ventures to succeed in their entrepreneurship journey.  In his able leadership role, Hexaview Technologies could touch the new horizons of growth and win accolades like Deloitte Fast 50 Tech Companies in India, NCCI Award of Excellence, 50 Cool startups of the year.

He is best known as 10X Growth Guru for providing 10X growth to Startups & Small entrepreneur along with mid-size companies too. A few dozens of ventures has been benefited through his start-up mentoring, product commercialization and growth strategies.


B.Tech (Electronics & Instrumentation), MCSE, ITIL, ISEB

High Accomplished Startup / Business Coach
Editor – NOLEGEIN Journal of Entrepreneurship Planning, Development and Management
Mentor for Change – Atal Innovation Mission, Niti Ayog
Ex Convener – PHD Diaspora Forum
Ex OFBJP Convener – Middle East Nations
Awarded like “Samaj Ka Gaurav” from a National level prestigious Vaish organization.
International Author, Speaker / Jury @ IITs, IIMs, Universities, Management Colleges and Business Platforms

He is instrumental in connecting Indian diaspora to motherland through various connects like socio-political, corporate or cultural connects. He has served current ruling party (BJP) as Convener – Middle East Nations in their foreign affairs wing. .

He has a vision to work with Govt bodies, Chambers of Commerce and corporate to connect Indian diaspora and promote collective growth in terms of monetary capital, social capital and knowledge capital.

Among his association with various business organizations his association with PHD Chamber of Commerce as Convener – PHD Diaspora Forum   worth mentioning here.

He is also a technology guru too. He has played crucial role in many country level innovative implementations in almost all the gulf countries and some of them got global recognition. Among his literary works, a technology book published from UK is worth mentioning here.

He is Father of Customization Quality in Dynamics AX ERP. He has been first person outside Microsoft to define, implement and evaluate quality standards for Dynamics AX customization project, which started trends of QA in ERPs.

Due to his zeal for bringing change in nation, he is appointed by NITI Ayog as Mentor for Change under its Atal Innovation Mission.

He has been considered an authority in Ideation, Product Designing, Business Modelling and Strategic Management.