Futurist predicts ‘data is the new oil’

Massive fragmentation in traditional media channels will mean marketing campaigns having to embrace social media sites like Facebook, mobile and internet television.


Speaking at this week’s Tradedoubler 2010 summit in London media futurist Gerd Leonhard told delegates that the planet’s predominant oil economy will be replaced by a new data economy.


“Data is the new oil,” he said. “Oil used to be all that matters. Wars were fought over oil.”


Leonhard said one million zettabytes of data would be uploaded on to the internet this year, 75% of which will be created by users.


Facebook, he said, was already the planet’s biggest broadcaster, eclipsing all other media organisations and the Google TV would further fragment the sector.


This represents a threat to firms in that they will have to relinquish some control over their brands because customers will be empowered.


But he said the development will also offer huge opportunities to engage with customers and to target marketing messages more efficiently.


Marketing will move from being like a watering can which floods a wide area with content and can be inefficient to a sprinkler system that can better target an area, Leonhard said.


“The filter is now more important than the coffee,” he said. “The future is the small fish chasing the big fish. We have to empower the users to choose us.”


Advertisements will become more like content, Leonhard predicted, pointing to a recent iphone app developed by Audi for its new car.


Customers will become “tribalised” through personal recommendation via ‘like’ buttons on social networking sites like Facebook, which has launched its own virtual currency.


Increasingly instead of paying for advertising advertisers will incentivise brand fans and drive loyalty and further recommendation with this “currency”.

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