The following is a part of our first Annual Trends Report. Stay tuned as we release the full report in the coming weeks.
Current Observations: These trends live in the lower right quadrant of the chart. They are happening now, and they are important to watch, but their potential impact on our industry is not as substantial as the most impactful trends under Significant Finds.
The marketplace acceptance to the idea of paying for tasks that can and should be automated by companies of all kinds is decreasing fast. The idea that data flows freely and adds value to touchpoints of all kinds is becoming a basic expectation in the marketing world and beyond. The value of marketing will not be delivered in the form of the executional tasks that have conventionally been part of the equation. It will continue to trend toward the strategic thinking and business optimization that an automated supply chain affords.
Implications for Marketers
A certain level of automation is a baseline expectation as we go into 2022. Marketing budgets will no longer fund manual tasks that can and should be engineered out of the value chain. Procurement departments are already hunting for these efficiencies among their partners. Agencies must prioritize the necessary infrastructure and talent to drive automation.
Big Tech Backlash and Legal Action
As tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon have grown in size and influence, lawmakers, consumers, and regulators have become increasingly concerned about the amount of power they hold across numerous industries. The leaders of these companies and others have been called before Congress to testify about their practices, and anti-competitive action lawsuits have been filed against them for the ways in which they wield their power. These legal actions came in a flurry at the end of 2020, followed by revised complaints into 2021, and the bombshell whistleblower report on Facebook by the Wall Street Journal.
Implications for Marketers
These legal actions are likely to take many years to work their way through the courts. However, the trend points to some level of divestiture across these large companies. That divestiture could result in us needing to create strategies for multiple platforms (Instagram and Facebook separately, for instance). Given that the intent of these actions is to promote competition, we could also see new players emerge in these areas, which would also require additional strategies.
Facebook Faces Legal Risk Similar to Big Tobacco or OxyContin, Analyst Says
Amazon and Antitrust: As EU Inquiry Begins, U.S. Ponders Similar Action in 2021
Stay tuned for our full annual trends report.