Jeffrey Eisenberg sent me this 1994 Compuserve ad that talks about delivering “up to 60 messages per month” as though 60 would be the largest number of emails that any of us would ever need to send.
Isn’t it interesting how our use of technology always seems to evolve differently than any of us expected to see happen? Yet we continue to be attracted to pitchmen with booming voices and bad toupees who claim to be able to tell us how we’ll use technology in the future.
In 1978, Fed-X was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In 1983, they became the first U.S. company to reach revenues of $1 billion without merger or acquisition. Then when FAX machines became popular, everyone predicted the immediate decline of Fed-X. After all, why would anyone spend ten dollars to send documents overnight when you could send those same documents in a matter of seconds for the price of a long-distance phone call?
Fed-X revenues will be about $46 billion in 2014.
Not many years prior to 1978, the introduction of electric toasters, gas-powered lawnmowers, self-correcting typewriters, microwave ovens and other “labor saving devices” had the experts convinced that boredom would soon be the biggest problem facing modern Americans. How were we going to spend all that leisure time?
No one – absolutely no one – predicted that we would simply accelerate the pace of living, cramming more productivity into each waking hour until we were frazzled and breathless and had to look at our driver’s licenses to remember who we were.
We used to tell ourselves that we could become anything we wanted to be. But today we tell ourselves we can become everything we want to be.
We’re living multiple lives simultaneously.
As a consultant, people ask me to predict the future of advertising. They look at the fragmentation of mass media and the rise of digital technology and ask, “What’s the next big thing?”
The only thing I know for sure about the future is that it will happen. But rather than dodge the “What’s next?” question, I’ll give you my best guesses. (You should set an alarm on your phone to remind you 6 years from today to compare my predictions to the realities of September, 2020. We’ll probably both get a big laugh out of it.)
1. Audiences will continue to get smaller, but ad rates will increase.
2. Micro-targeting will become increasingly popular as predictive modeling through Big Data promises advertisers that they can reach “exactly the right customer at exactly the right moment.”
3. Excited by the promise of predictive modeling, most advertisers will continue to focus their efforts on finding the right customer to sell instead of finding the right message to deliver.
4. The big rewards will go to advertisers who find the right message to deliver.
5. Savvy advertisers will use the Post Office to deliver warm messages to prospective customers for the price of a first-class postage stamp. The most successful of these will be hand-addressed, original greeting cards in numbered editions.
6. No, I wasn’t joking about #5 above. I actually believe direct-mail is going to make a come-back, but this time around it will wear better clothes and have a lot more class.
7. Broadcast radio (AM/FM) will continue to offer great value to advertisers for at least a while longer. Internet radio continues to erode Broadcast radio, though more slowly than most people assume. The most reliable projections indicate it will be about 8 more years (2022) before Internet radio is as large as Broadcast radio.
Indiana Beagle has more details about all of this in the rabbit hole. To enter the rabbit hole, just click the fish in the Compuserve ad at the top of the page. Each click of an image in the rabbit hole will take you one page deeper.
Welcome to Wonderland, Alice.
Roy H. Williams
What you say to yourself makes a huge difference in how well you perform in business and life. That’s the premise behind AFFORMATIONS: The Miracle of Positive Self-Talk, the new book by Noah St. John that helps busy people “accelerate income, boost self-confidence, and make success automatic.” This week at MondayMorningRadio.com, Noah shares his own Afformations with us. It’s kind of like a Vulcan mind meld, only you don’t need to have pointy ears to get inside Noah’s head. Seriously, he’s a fun guy. – Indiana Beagle
I let the wizard have a page beyond the terminus of the rabbit hole – I’m talking 12 rabbit hole levels deep here – and he inserted a hyperlink in red-letter words to a hidden page for which I feel compelled to apologize. If you find it, please keep in mind that it wasn’t me. – Indy