Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten Inc, noted in a March post on LinkedIn that ‘information overload’ ought to be embraced rather than perceived in a negative light. In the post, he cited the story of a samurai who watches a carpenter to discover principles he could apply to his swordsmanship, and then Mikitani reflected on Sir Isaac Newton, apple trees and the laws of gravity and how they are an unlikely trio. His point was that answers and ideas are hidden in plain sight, and in unrelated places.
Successful people, he says, are those who see the constant influx of information as a blessing because they are open to new ideas, curious about the world and how everything is interrelated. But in a content marketing driven world, could we reach the point of too much information? Information is growing exponentially. According to Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, it’s estimated that every two days we create the same amount of information that was created between the appearance of man and 2003.
Mark Schaefer considered the question by asking what comes after content marketing. His post was in reaction to a colleague’s assertion that content is the new advertising. And if that’s true, then the next goal is to become the “signal instead of the noise” in the realm of marketing. Schaefer suggests three possible outcomes:
- Content that learns is totally customized to meet our interests and is self aware to meet our immediate needs
- Content that pays or offers rewards like a frequent flyer program
- Content that is entirely new, which he defines as augmented reality, could be 24 months away
Augmented reality may sound like science fiction, but the smart folks at IBM are predicting that in five years we’ll be using cognitive computers. Jeopardy fans saw a prototype when they watched Watson defeat two human challengers last year. Bernard Meyerson, Chief Innovation Officer at IBM, foresees computers with cognitive abilities that mimic our senses, expand our ability to deal with complex amounts of information and make better decisions. If your computer can understand what it sees, if you can touch your digital device and feel an object or if your computer can interpret vocal patterns to tell you why the baby is crying, how will that affect content marketing?
No one can really predict the future, but by proactively engaging in thinking in terms of “what if,” you’ll be better prepared to catch the next wave with those of us who are laying the groundwork.
Kathleen Gossman – Project Manager