Yesterday, a Google search using the term future of marketing returned over 500,000 results, and my search was limited to the past year. Clearly, there are an abundance of views about how marketing will evolve over the next several years.
A quick scan of the first several pages of search results revealed that many of the articles and other materials focused on a specific aspect of marketing or a particular marketing technique. It's more difficult to find content that takes a longer-term, big-picture view of the future of marketing. A new book by Raja Rajamannar, the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at MasterCard, fills the gap.
In Quantum Marketing: Mastering the New Marketing Mindset for Tomorrow's Consumers (HarperCollins Leadership, 2021) , Rajamannar lays out his vision for how marketing needs to evolve in the face of a deluge of emerging technologies that will change how people obtain information, communicate and live their daily lives.
Technological developments have already driven huge changes in how marketing is practiced, but Rajamannar argues that the changes we have seen so far amount to only the tip of a massive iceberg. He writes, "The last five years have seen more change in marketing than the previous fifty. And the next five years will outpace all of them put together."
Rajamannar contends that we are standing at the precipice of the fifth paradigm of marketing, which he calls "Quantum Marketing." In this impending new era, the marketing function will have the potential to ". . . leapfrog toward astonishing levels of consumer insights, real-time interactions, and hyper-targeted, hyper-relevant consumer engagement."
But Rajamannar also argues that marketing needs a fundamental reset to take full advantage of the opportunities the era of Quantum Marketing will offer.
He notes that marketing is currently in a crisis, with a growing number of companies " . . . fragmenting the 4 Ps of marketing . . . and distributing them across multiple areas outside of marketing." He also refers to research showing that most CEOs say they have little confidence in their marketing team, and he suggests that many CEOs don't see value in marketing.
The Landscape of Quantum Marketing
Rajamannar devotes most of the book to a description of his vision of what marketing can look like in the era of Quantum Marketing. He addresses a wide range of topics, including:
- The continuing - and explosive - proliferation of customer data (Chapter 4)
- Advances in the capabilities of artificial intelligence and the rapid growth of marketing-related AI use cases (Chapter 5)
- The emergence of a slew of new technologies that will enable new ways to connect with customers (Chapter 6)
- The impact of blockchains on the marketing/advertising ecosystem (Chapter 7)
- The need for a new approach to customer loyalty (Chapter 10)
- The declining impact of traditional advertising (Chapter 11)
Importantly, Rajamannar also includes a discussion of marketing ethics, and he ends the book with a detailed description of the characteristics and skills that CMOs will need in order to succeed in the era of Quantum Marketing.
A Worthwhile Read
Quantum Marketing provides a timely and important perspective on where marketing stands today and how it needs to evolve to remain (or become) a driver of growth and competitive advantage in a rapidly-changing world.
Most of the content that marketers see and/or hear on a day-to-day basis is focused on short-term strategies and tactics. While this type of content is useful, it's important for marketers to occasionally take a step back and think about longer-term issues. Quantum Marketing provides that longer-term perspective.
I do question whether Rajamannar gives sufficient weight to the impact that privacy concerns could have on how marketing evolves over the next several years. His vision of marketing's future depends on companies having relatively unfettered access to consumer-related data. In fact, he suggests that new and emerging "connected" devices such as smart speakers, autos, home appliances and wearables will add a tsunami of data to the vast amount that already exists.
The uncertainty is: How much of this data will be available to companies for marketing purposes? Google's decision to block third-party cookies in its Chrome browser has been widely publicized and discussed, and so has Apple's move to require user permission before allowing third-party cookies in its iOS 14.5 update released last April. According to a December report by AppsFlyer, only 46% of global iPhone users (37% of U.S. users) have opted-in to tracking.
If governments step in with new data privacy regulations, or if other private companies follow the lead of Google and Apple, some of the futuristic marketing techniques described in Quantum Marketing are less likely to be widely implemented.
Even with this caveat, however, Quantum Marketing is an important book and a worthwhile read for marketers.