The Consumer Viewpoint

By Sarah Owen
Senior Editor
WGSN Insight

WGSN is the world’s trend forecasting authority, decoding the future to define what’s next so that people can make smarter decisions, today.

While marketers are cognisant that technology like AI has the potential to dismantle entire industries, brands are dedicated to making it work for them, not against them.

Some industry veterans like Apple's SVP of Retail, Angela Ahrendts, take the “humanising technology” approach, understanding that the convergence of the two is where the magic can happen. That ongoing narrative has been simplified as an equation: technology + human input = efficiency, creativity, and effectiveness. But that equation isn’t helping us when we’re drowning in data.

As we progress further into a 'Post-Information Age' - an era of an over-abundance of knowledge - marketers will need to invest in AI to streamline this influx of data and knowledge via automated systems. In January 2020, IBM launched a new AI tool, Advertising Accelerator with Watson, that can predict which creative elements will help drive engagement in marketing campaigns. The predictive solution is able to deliver hyper-personalised advertising and identify new audience segmentation opportunities.

2020 is also seeing a resurgence of knowledge mining. The rise in machine learning is now enabling organisations to unify and simplify their data through this process. According to Harvard Business Review, knowledge mining will be the next wave of AI, using multiple services to organise vast amounts of unstructured, semi-structured and structured data. This method will allow marketers to recontextualise their information and extract insights, patterns and relationships at scale. These are the solutions that will help simplify the future with humans behind the steering wheel.

The important element for the future will be making all this innovation invisible. Young consumers born after 1995 are fully entangled in the world wide web, so much so that they probably couldn’t dissociate themselves from this way of living. For brands, ensuring your tech, data, insight, innovation (or whatever you want to call it) remains discrete, frictionless and useful will be the determining factor for future loyalty.