Back To the Future II gave us some insights about the future of marketing in 2015. How does it compare to today’s marketing?
Today marks the 30th anniversary of Marty McFly’s time traveling adventures in Back To The Future II; specifically Wednesday, October 21st, 2015. While there were a few things that the sequel to the original Back To The Future got wrong, there were also many technologies and gadgets that they got correct.
The way that technology has changed & advanced has proven to change the way we, as consumers, are marketed towards, & even the creation of new forms of marketing.
Digital Marketing Was Created:
In 1989, when Back To the Future II came out, there was no Facebook, Twitter or even Google. Marketing was done in newspapers, magazines, billboards & flyers. While this is still true today, digital marketing has completely revolutionized how we see & view ads.
Social media has taken over the way we interact with our friends & loved ones, let alone the many advertisements & brands we are able to interact with as well. If a customer has something positive or negative to say, instead of calling up the company & having to wait on hold, they can simply pull up the Internet and write a comment.
The Advancement of Cell Phones:
Back in 1989, cell phones were just becoming widely available for use. Cell phones were oversized & all they were able to do was dial & connect you with the person you were trying to reach. Instead of calling, you can text someone a message from one phone to the other instead of having to speak with the person all together. Is texting not your preference? That’s not a problem because you can also video chat with your family and friends.
In 2015, cell phones have touch screens where a person can download apps & get all of the information they need right at the palm of their hands. Smartphones have become so popular that mobile search on the Internet has surpassed desktop search in 2015.
Tablets, Watches & Glasses…Oh my!
If you were to freeze someone in 1990, merely a few months after the release of Back To the Future II & unfreeze them in 2015, even though we don’t have flying cars, I’m sure they would still be amazed by technology.
Nowadays, smart phones aren’t the only everyday accessories for consumers; we now have wearable gadgets & other inventions that many people can’t live without. The idea that watches do more than tell time & you can now surf the Internet or receive phone calls on your watch shows that companies like Apple are really making technological advances. Google has created “Google Glass” where you can surf the Internet through a pair of glasses.
Also, arguably the biggest advancement since smart phones is the introduction of tablets. Microsoft & Apple have created an even smaller version of a laptop that is widely used by people of all ages. The touchscreen device can stream television, watch movies & even send text messages to your friends or colleagues.
We’ve learned to sell without selling:
Product placement is one of the biggest forms of marketing nowadays. No matter where you go, we are constantly being bombarded with products being strategically placed in ads & celebrities endorsing products. The one issue that we face here is that product placement, is not subtle by any means.
In Back To the Future II, we saw Marty interact with brands in their 2015 form. Pepsi had a “Pepsi Perfect” bottle & Nike had self-lacing sneakers. While we aren’t at the point of self-lacing sneakers, we are at the point where drones are being used for aerial photography and video.
Another big takeaway for marketing is the idea of inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is a way to attract customers to purchase your products without selling to them. Instead of outbound marketing where you advertise sales & discounts to your potential clients, brands now educate their buyer personas on why they should be using their services. Instead, Inbound marketing answers questions and helps provide answers to their clients.
While we don’t have the flying cars & we aren’t wearing all silver with pointy hats (well most of us aren’t) that we saw in Back To The Future II, we can learn a lot about where technology & marketing has been in the past & where it’s going for the future. Imagine what the future of marketing will look like in 2040. Who knows, maybe when we revisit this post 25 years from today, we’ll finally have our flying cars as well as everything else Marty saw in Back To The Future. Only time will tell.