By Norm Johnston, Mindshare
American surfing legend Laird Hamilton once said: “We are all equal before a wave.”
He was of course referring to an actual “water up my nostrils” physical monster of a surfing wave, but the words can easily be applied to our industry.
In the last twenty years we have gone through two massive waves of disruption to marketing.
The first, and I remember it well, started back in the mid-1990s when the desktop Internet finally registered on media’s radar. Enter noisy 56k modems, 468 x 60 banners, rich media (hallelujah!) and an eventual recognition from marketers that this digital thing was not going away.
The second wave took a few years to build up. There were lots of forecasted ‘tipping points’ when it comes to mobile, but nobody disputes that it’s big and it’s now here. Arguably we are still coming to terms with the implications of this second wave as it rides out across the globe. There’s still much work to be done.
But just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, a colossal third wave, arguably the biggest of all, is rapidly building momentum. The Internet of Things with its hyper-connected everything is about to become reality. Within five years nearly everyone and lots of everything else will somehow be connected to the Internet. It’s going to be huge and game-changing.
This collection of short essays provides a quick glimpse into how this third wave will not only bring lots of new connections, but will also change the way we engage with technology and as a consequence how we see content, shop for goods, search on information and manage our lives. It also reimagines our approach to data from being a heavy-handed tool for media to a powerful means to improve the value customers get from engaging with brands and advertising.
In each case these essays illustrate how these new technologies are giving people a virtual sixth sense, an ability to do, think about and feel things above and beyond our normal five senses. And the same goes for companies who are beginning to make their own sense of how this third wave of disruption can augment their own approach to marketing.
Like all waves, the opportunity (and the threat) is to determine whether and how you will prepare for this next round of disruption. As Jon Kabat-Zinn, another surfer, once explained, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.”
So get your surf board out and get ready to heighten your senses. There’s a huge wave on its way.
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