Cannes Review > Beyond the Horizon

Monday, 20 June. Review for Beyond the Horizon by PHD, presented by Mark Holden , Global Strategy and Planning Director.

The session was consistent with the overall 2011 theme of marketing technology - the role of technology impact in advertising, marketing, and customer experience. Mark did a great job describing a bunch of new tech and putting them in perspective of why they matter for the new consumer.

He opened up stating that there are 1.2 billion people in social networks - no surprise, but the next 1 billion will enter through mobile. We all knew how important mobile is, this is just a reassurance.

Next he explained that what drives technology is us, individuals, humanity. Technology is a human invention to solve human problems, being driven strictly by human needs. Therefore, technology is a consequence of human needs and desires - and what is driving humans? What drives humanity is need for abundance: we want everything, everyone, everywhere - and we won’t stop until we get it.

Following the intro, Mark jumped into multiple categories of technical innovations, grouped by infrastructure, interface, and internet.Infrastructure:
Fibre to the home will bring wired gigabit connections to every household. Similarly, 4g , lte, wimax will massively improve wireless connectivity. With ubiquitous broadband connectivity, there will be no more distinction between media types: HD video will download just as fast as 3d world games, music, or photos.

Connectivity combined with the growing cloud capabilities, will delegate storage and processing to the cloud, focusing devices back to graphic processing, graphic hardware acceleration, and sensors.

Oled and ultrahd will allow video 16 times better than HDTV to be displayed in a thin-almost-invisible flexible layer. Price is still prohibitive, but in the upcoming years this technology will allow video to be embedded pretty much anywhere.

Connected TVs will totally chance the dynamics of what is TV today. Addressable content - meaning it can be targeted and personalized -, a mix of current TV broadcast with the marvels of the Internet: everything is tracked, served dynamically, everyone can be a media company, publishers have direct access to the consumer.

The top experiences enabled by such mix will be embedded content, clickable content, video hot-spotting, and the already coined t-commerce for Television Commerce.

The first noticeable change will be linear TV with dynamic targeted ads, targeting the household by programs watched, demographics, or if the TV provider is also the ISP, perhaps bundle behavioral data into web usage, or if the TV is part of a gaming platform, them also get gaming and social behavioral data. Ultimately, content providers will sit in a world of data that will be used to personalize the TV watching experience.

We did not get into greater debates of what will happen to the 30-second stop, what would happen to advertising dollars, what would be the media and business model of the future.

Lastly Mark mentioned a bunch of interface techs, but didn’t get into detail for any of them: oled, graphene, audio spotlight, voice recognition, virtual personal assistants, markless AR, NFC, e-coupling. Out of these techs, you will probably see tons of buzz around AR and NFC in 2012.

This section talked about the socialization of the web and predicted that search will move from links to likes. The reasoning behind this assertion is that search will eventually become semantic, and will try to provide relevant personalized results as opposed to generic results. Tying search into the social graph and prioritizing results based on conversations, likes by social circles - or similarly +1 by Google Circles, part of their new highly popular Google+.

Additionally, the web is finally slowly moving from a massively unstructured pile of data to better organized self-descriptive objects, thanks to Facebook’s Open Graph efforts and now Google, Yahoo, and Bing’s efforts. Pages in the web will have additional metadata explaining the context behind them, as well as defining relations to other content. This will slowly have a big impact in SEO.

Other topics covered vertical search, social commerce, and gamification.

Following connectivity, the discussion naturally moved to mobile connectivity. We will rely on smart phones for what is now called real time living or just-in-time living. Every piece of information we need is always available at our fingertips, and we make real time decision, moving from from preset preplanned activities into real time experiences. And because we are making this real-time decisions, brands cannot just preplan a journey for us, they have to also adapt and engage in real-time experiences, reacting to every trigger and response.

Media agency 2016:
So what does this all mean for the advertising industry? What does the media agency look like in 2016? The industry will shift from analog, dated, simple holding of a bunch of media properties to being a creative-technology led industry. Agencies will have to understand the power of technology in driving human experiences, and be able to creative and enhance these experiences. Media will be just data, and the largest agencies are already starting to invest in AMP: Audience Management Platforms.

Audience Management Platforms:
Now I’ve heard multiple names for these platforms, such as CEP: Customer Experience Platform, MMP: Marketing Management Platform. Ultimately, it’s a data mart / data wharehousing platform that aggregates 360 customer data across every channel, and provides a layer of intelligence that drives personalized experiences. Content delivery, web sites, mobile apps, and media buying are nothing but layers of experience, that should be all centrally controlled by a single governing platform. This platform can hook into other contextual brokers, but I won’t get into too much detail right now. Back to Mark, he also sees this platform managing RTB: Real-Time Bidding and creative optimization; mainly meaning that it will control the time, content, and context where media is delivered.

With this shift in the media business model, we can predict that media futures exchange will become a very interesting area really soon.

Mark predicts that in a few years the social media practice will be mature and in high demand, that people good at social will be superstars. I must say that people good at understanding human behavior are already superstars, and social is just the nature of humanity, and has always been part of connections planning. The discipline is simply evolving due to evolution of technology, but the roots have not changed.

Evolution of the Agency:Perhaps not so much evolution, but given that marketing is now getting the feedback loop and connected back into the brand essence, agencies will take the role of NPD: new product development.


At the very end of this long tech talk, Mark showed a phenomenal closing video! Very emotional, good sound and music, experiential. I will post the video as soon as I get a copy and clearance.

The session was pretty inspiring and reassured the critical role of a marketing technologist / creative technologist in the agency and client organizations.

Original Session Description:


Over the last five years the industry has seen the most dramatic changes to the world of communications. The social media revolution has fundamentally changed the fabric of society. Right now, one in every two people within the developed world is connected-up through social networks. This is resulting in to a quickening in the speed at which information, and therefore influence, is moving.

More than this, PHD believes that this is changing the actual physics of how marketing works.

And this rate of change is accelerating.

Looking ahead this change will be driven by such things as demographic, attitudinal and psychographic shifts, and media-ownership regulation. But the biggest driver of change will of course be technology.

Technology will not just be a driver of change it will be the driver of change.

Technological advancements that are now on the horizon will enable the development of new marketing communications platforms through which to engage with people. New possibilities will emerge through the coming together of such as technologies as smart TVs, markerless augmented reality, enhanced voice-recognition, transparent OLED screens, haptic feedback, gesture input and NFC.

In this session PHD will explore the incredible technology that is on the horizon and project ahead on what the exciting possibilities are for marketing and advertising.