While taking advantage of the opportunities in design that are available today is always important, it's equally critical that we stop and think about those that are lurking just over the horizon, too. Marketing is always evolving, and understanding where we're going is always one of the keys to getting there before anyone else.
With that in mind, the design of the future will bring with us a number of tools and products that you're definitely going to want to start thinking about before they finally arrive.
The Future is Closer Than You Think
One of the biggest design shifts of the future is already taking shape right before our very eyes - augmented reality.
Not only are there predicted to be about a billion augmented reality users by as soon as 2020, but the same study revealed that right now there are already more than 500 different startups devoted to AR and all the implications it brings with it.
From a marketing, outreach and even a brand awareness perspective, this has the potential to be huge. Remember that scene in the classic dark comedy "Fight Club" where Edward Norton walks around his apartment while talking on his phone to an Ikea representative? Remember how amazing it was to see his apartment turn into a living Ikea catalog right before our very eyes?
That's only scratching the surface of what augmented reality has the potential to bring with it.
Or how about if you sat down with a timeline creator like Visme (which I founded) to work on your next piece of stunning collateral... and were able to take that timeline off of someone's computer screen and into someone's home? Using their smartphone they could interact with and manipulate your timeline, thus becoming as big of a part of the content creation process as you are?
That should help give you a good idea of what we're talking about.
Another innovative product that awaits us is already here, and is only going to get more powerful as time goes on: artificial intelligence.
Today, it's already possible to spread the word about your business, its products and its services in minutes using the power of AI and services like Respona. But imagine what those same services will look like in five years.
Conversational AI is already something that exists, and businesses are using things like chatbots to augment their existing customer service efforts. Instead of talking to a real live customer service agent, people are essentially speaking with robots who respond to certain keywords and phrases. Things are already so effective that most people don't realize they're not talking to a human at all.
Now, imagine how this might extend to your marketing.
What if you could create a piece of visual marketing collateral with a character that your customers could interact with? What if they weren't just passively exposed to the conversation, but were an active participant of it? What if they could talk to a piece of marketing collateral the same way they "talk" to a chatbot?
In a lot of ways, this level of engagement and interactivity isn't too dissimilar to the target we're trying to hit when we create something like an Infographic. It's just on a much larger - and more impressive - scale.
But How Different Will the Future Be, Really?
The most important thing to understand about all of this is that this level of technological innovation that we're talking about is impressive, yes - but it's also nothing new. The tools and products that we have available to us will always change. They'll always get better, stronger, more advanced and more sophisticated.
But the way we need to use them remains steadfast.
All of these tools and products are in service of one thing and one thing only: reaching out to the right person with exactly the right message at exactly the right time. Their expectations will change, their needs will evolve, but that simple premise will not.
From that perspective, sitting down and creating some amazing augmented reality experience is identical to what you do now when you sit down with a scatter plot maker and come up with your next piece of visual collateral. You still need to start by asking yourself "who am I talking to and what do they want?"
Every decision you make needs to be influenced by your audience. Otherwise, you're just embracing modern technology for the sake of it. That's not how you create a better and stronger connection with your audience and that's certainly not a position you want to find yourself in.
About the Author
Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland digital agency specializing in website design, user experience and web app development.