I’ve bought books based on ChatGPT’s recommendation. They are readable and a good fit for the task at hand. I asked google the same question and got a raft options – though not this particular one. I’ve asked whether I should ask join a particular board, whether a company is doing well financially, parenting advice and more – all answers have been reasonable. Which brings me to the first trend.
Trend 1: ChatGPT will change the way we search and receive advice
We will play around with it, ask it questions and once we find that the answers are ok, we’ll trust it more. It offers advice on a variety of topics in a very sincere and voice. I am following this advice because it seems good. Since ChatGPT doesn’t reveal its sources, the potential for the occasional unverifiable error is high. Today it tells you which are the top backpack brands in a very thoughtful way. Will it continue to do so if it gets money from one of those brands? How much would you pay for untainted advice?
Marketing Takeaway: The way you deal with search has changed forever. Search terms I would have taken to Google I now chat with ChatGPT about. The way people learn has also changed forever. Topics I used to take to my friendly Whatsapp and Facebook Communities I now ask Uncle ChatGPT.
Trend 2: Assisted intelligence is real
I’ve been using jasper.ai for over a year and it helps with some types of writing assignments. It needs to be “supervised” but is a great productivity tool. We have to start recognising AI as a productivity enhancer and help our employees and kids harness their potential rather than blocking these tools. I remember being told we have to memorise the time tables because we won’t always have a calculator on hand. Today, we always do. What we need are the skills to evaluate and compare data, and spot fake claims. We also need to rethink the value we bring to the world. Spontaneity, empathy, uniqueness, novelty are the elements that are the hardest to automate and hence have the highest value.
Marketing Takeaway: Harness the power of AI as much as possible. For a premium positioning, work on providing the elements that AI cannot.
Trend 3: We never have to be alone with our thoughts!
Kingfisher Airlines (2005 – 2012) had amazing food, service, buses with sofas instead of seats – and also the first domestic airline in India to have inflight TV. Vijay Mallya who ran the airline had one big insight to share when I interviewed him for my first book on marketing – Indians love to be entertained, even if they have a few minutes of spare time. In 2023, even the 30secs of time in the restroom or 3 minutes at a traffic stop can be occupied by a screen. There is no time for reflection or smelling the roses. Escapism has always been there for those who needed it – addiction is as old as humankind – scrolling is just a new way to do it. Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts – pick your poison – they’re just brain candy. Since it hasn’t (yet) been positioned as a vice it is more accessible and used widely.
Marketing Takeaway: Escapism is a real human need. Those who can provide this in a legal way will win big. However when the industry gets big enough – tobacco, alcohol, sugar – it will be regulated. The flip side is also the rise of businesses helping you to solve the inner pain that drives you to addictions. This will continue to grow as more people migrate up Maslow’s hierarchy.
Trend 4: Rise of non-conformism
Marketing Takeaway: As more people embrace financial independence and nuclear families, you can approach them with ways to stand out rather than fit in.
Trend 5: Change is frightening people
VUCA has been a buzzword for my entire career. But we’re now really living in a volatile world. A college professor says that he has already incorporated the fact that students can use AI tools into his evaluation methodology. There are already tools for copywriting, logo creation, transcription, ad creation, customer conversations. Sure, they’re not yet great, but they’ll get there. Soon. Google and Microsoft have massive budgets to invest in the next new thing – even as they lay off thousands of employees. Employees are constantly scanning the environment for the next job or even the next career. If you’re not financially independent, anxiety can be pretty high – there are no “safe” jobs any more.
Marketing Takeaway: Sell safety, predictability and derisking. Be the oasis of calm in a chaotic world.
Trend 6: Rise of the peer-oriented society
For the first time in history kids and teens are spending more time with their peers than with adults. It used to be school and playtime, and even then they were loosely supervised by an adult, either one paid to do so or an informal network of tradespeople and passersby. Now, thanks to social media, they can interact with their peers all the time. And with no supervision. The world of kids is full of petty fights, frequent disappointments as the kids don’t have full agency, and attempts to fit in with an ever-shifting crowd. Hence the flight to safety of the few adults in that eco-system – the influencer! They sell a sure tested path to achieving your goals of fitting in or standing out.
There are books like “Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers” by Gabor Maté and Gordon Neufeld, which lament the rise of this peer-oriented society and how it impacts kids. Yeah, ChatGPT found it for me!
Marketing Takeaway: Look for influencers who are addressing one of the above trends! And if you are a brand targeting the under-21s try to be the adult in the room.
Thanks to those of you who checked in on me during my writer’s block phase! And a happy new year to everyone 🙂