The future of digital explored

Despite the fact that the fun of digital communications is living in the 'now', it's a wise idea to watch new ideas transform themselves into the next big things on the web, and then determine the perfect moment to adopt and learn them. But when you're slap-bang in the middle of the industry, it's an even wiser idea to map out the potential digital futures well ahead of time and start warning the rest of what to expect. Here I present five potential digital futures based on some recent topical posts.

# 1. Digital Future One -- A future of #Fails Ethical #Fails highlights how many social media users in particular are choosing to use unethical tactics to win sales. As we all become more comfortable with using digital platforms, there is tendency to misuse them because we can. One potential future is that unethical practices like spamming other pages will 'muddy' the once 'clean' channels that we use daily.

This in turn could cause potential customers and networkers to abandon these platforms and look elsewhere. As people, we will become less trusting of others' online intentions and 'up' our security. That means no posting to business Facebook pages, blocking posts, having to accept all requests that are currently accepted automatically, checking and editing all blog comments, and vetting our contacts.

To some this may seem ugly and extreme. To digital platform providers, this could end two-way engagement as we know it and lead to a retraction of services as interaction dwindles.

# 2. Digital Future Two -- Here a Celeb, There a Celeb, Everywhere a Celeb, Celeb The Rise of Social Celebrities and how businesses influence the digital world to gain a kind of celebrity status online is HUGE news. Dubbed as 'power users' and 'digital heavy-weights', these celebrities have extensive networks, gain much media hype, are called on to host and speak at events.

A prediction is an online world full of social celebs, paid to 'tweet' or 'share' messages on behalf of weaker users or businesses. Not unlike brand ambassadors or endorsers.

These celebs could create serious online sway as online personalities to endorse products and if they prove that their status can amplify messages AND increase conversions, then I believe marketing personnel will be using them as part of their marketing strategies.

# 3. Digital Future Three -- Anyone in Need of a Specialist? When we see growth within one sector and the rate of adoption soars, it's a natural progression for others to set up their own versions. Of course, duplication as a mirror image is pointless (you just can't compete). That's where spealialist sites come into play -- these sites appeal to a smaller market group (customer segment) or focus on a particular niche area.

Some popular examples are Pinterest and Foursquare. Pinterest is based on the idea of 'pinning' a collection of images and videos to a pinboard and sharing with friends. Foursquare is all about places and keeping up-to-date with where your friends are in the world.

A possible future is one where specialist sites rule. A place where the internet is inundated with sites catering to all sorts of passions, uses and hobbies.

For digital marketers this would be heaven:

  • As you can plan your marketing activities on sites which cater perfectly to your target audience.
  • You can select the best sites to market your business, based on your strengths.
Social media sites in general use sticky content, and this makes them extremely powerful.

# 4. Digital Future Four - Feeling Ha-appy? According to recent research, there are five billion mobile user. 40% are tablets. Mobile and tablets are the fastest growing tech tools and sales are now over-taking PC purchases. Power brands across the globe are investing in mobile apps to reach a growth market or appeal to take part in 'local' marketing communications.

Imagine a world where every brand had an app to engage you, or an app that was triggered by your proximity and an offer popped up on your phone screen when you drove past? Well this world is becoming a reality as more and more businesses look to apps as a way of harnessing modern usage. A few popular apps are Facebook, Instagram, Angry Birds and Shazam.

Some are mobile-friendly sites, some games and some are handy little apps like scanning and finding your favourite songs or saving on mobile calls.

#5. Digital Future Five -- Gamification and Interactive Living (my personal favourite) This future centres around mini games and interactive marketing...anywhere. From billboards to mobiles, social sites to video -- everywhere is an opportunity to create an interactive experience. At a Google event in January,we were shown a small video snippet of interactive marketing -- a virtual Tescos shop in a Subway station in South Korea.

  • After a long day's work, commuters can simply scan their purchases with their phones and travel home to await delivery.
  • This is the perfect way to influence on-the-spot decision making and create a competitive edge, steered by technology.
QR codes are a low-key example where you can scan codes via your phone that show a website or Vcard information. QR codes can be printed on business cards, product packaging, T-shirts, on tattoos and invites. There are countless examples of campaigns and ideas like these on to tease your interactive appetite.

What are your thoughts?

Post by Christina Gilibert, CG Online Marketing,



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