Something I think about too much is future seeing, this is where you look into the future and consider the next areas we will see development in or themes we have to invest in early before many others go into.
As a Marketing and business leader, this has helped me be a step ahead, I pride myself on having a growth mindset to test, learn and iterate and consider how to be there first, to understand the actual use case, the platform, and how to maximise marketing messages.
There has been a number of questions posed recently around the next big areas and here is how I have been thinking and predict the areas of growth or hyper growth will come into.
Here are the four areas (with more of UK focus examples) I have been looking at and I consider to be the next areas for economic growth and see real potential in.
Food and Grocery Delivery 🍟
Sounds obvious but the food delivery space has become a short and long game.
Short in developing a quick reliable solution for consumers to receive a small number of items within an hour.
Deliveroo connecting with Co-Op, M&S, and many other larger supermarkets alongside pairing up with local stores and convenience stores means they want to be any food solution ordering app, not just takeaway.
The Amazon investment in Deliveroo is more than just an investment, it’s a data play, this will improve logistics and understanding of local areas improving their own service.
Coupling that with the merging of JustEat and TakeAway, we will likely see a three-year fight in offering the best food options, 24 hours a day at the lowest prices for consumers driving up the number of orders leading to more growth in food and drink.
Sainsbury’s Chop Chop delivering from local stores within an hour has been great in lockdown and with these likely to increase in the winter and into 2021 we can see habits shift from popping to the shop to receiving the food you know is available with a tap and a swipe.
As Rory Sutherland has stated no-one demanded food within twenty minutes but it is has become an expectation nowadays, particularly for the younger generation.
Morrison’s extending their partnership with Amazon especially for the Amazon Prime customers means deeper brand loyalty, better convenience, and increased speed will improve the food delivery industry and prove Amazon have created Prime Expectations (expectations created by Amazon with quick delivery at cheap enough prices that no other competitor can really match) across multiple industries with multiple trusted partners.
Amazon’s move into Pharma will really shake up the way we shop and we view convenience.
Dark Kitchens: Dark and ghost kitchens have helped businesses stay alive during the outbreak and throughout the pandemic, we are going to see more and more locations open up for dedicated restaurants to have more local presence and offering bespoke takeaway menus. With all of the advertising options and channels, there will be a way to track ads to take-away and the speed it is delivered, this is huge in ROI and ROAS driven Marketing Departments.
Dark Stores: I also predict we will see big brands going into this space with food offerings and a hybrid model; dark stores (unused shop fronts) being turned into food and local delivery units for rapid-fire delivery and used for billboarding (reminding people of the brand, their products, and services with a QR code or MR experience) their brand and offering.
New High Street Opportunity: With the high street being decimated every week, we have the opportunity to turn these into experience spaces or hubs for locals to really benefit from. Local jobs, local service, and the local communities to benefit greatly.
Long in developing the best service for customers, Ocado and M&S is a partnership that will continue to evolve both companies and if Ocado can scale their high-quality personal delivery service it will mean there will be a race to improve delivery and ensuring the friendly, professional but personal delivery approach.
Every consumer wants the best service at the right price, we are likely to see more players come into the market offering “better delivery solutions” with customer service placed front and centre not just delivering food.
What we have to remember, more investments typically means more consumer spending. In previous recessions we saw spending and average order values increase not decreased, this can be powered by new tech and new players.
Loyalty is going to be the battleground for any food brand and this will see huge investments made to win and own customers. Tesco’s Clubcard exclusive deals are just the start for the loyalty card (nectar etc) battlefield.
All in all a positive for consumers, still huge room for optimisation and disruption, however with this said it will be a hard expensive battle for businesses and Marketing teams.
Audio is an industry that has had a huge influx of creators, curators, and obviously followed up with sponsors.
Audio has broadened out, podcasts, audiobooks, short stories, music, voice notes, voice assistants, voice search are all coming into the same space and there will be a divide in quality or quantity.
Search was always an issue (serving the right content vs any content tagged), discovery is the new space where will see internal optimisations and tech developments.
Big Boys Battleground
Amazon, Apple, and Spotify are all entering the same boxing ring in the audio space, it is who has the best service and what the operating systems allow, Android and Apple devices have their own ecosystems with their own spends, where the resources and budgets are assigned we will likely see a winner in the next 36 months.
Advertising deals will ramp up, as will audio personalities being sponsored, the tricky situation censorship (like Joe Rogan is experiencing licensing his content to Spotify) will continue to bubble up to the surface causing friction. This could mean the open and free market (podcasts for instance is still driven by RSS) continues to have an important influence.
Low Touch & High Touch = Opportunity
Audio can be very low touch and extremely low barrier, or the highest touch, highest barrier to entry, we will see many apps and software releases and create different opportunities. Especially at the lowest end and the highest end. The middle will be a very messy fight.
Audio has a deeper connection between host or creator and listener/fan, which generally equals more affinity and potential for higher spending.
Subscriptions and Sponsorship
Subscriptions and sponsorship are what makes the business world turn. There will be growth in paid partnerships, paid networks, paid distribution and in the subscription space, we are likely to see a spike in paid fan clubs with one to one direct access to the creator or a community built around them.
The Next Big Boom: Podcasts & Audio Lessons
Podcasts and audio lessons is an area we will see an increase in consumer spend for learning purposes, we will likely see coaching courses and teaching courses become a paid solution, there are apps that do this already but has more people looking to develop out their own careers the category spend will increase. The East already has this and embraces this (podcast are generally charged for), the West is playing catch up.
Audio has grown up massively in the last few years and with Amazon (with audible) and Spotify looking to take on Apple in Music, Podcasts, and potentially in voice search there will be large spends, large affinity to brands and their platforms and consumers will want the best possible content for the best price.
It is a profession before a hobby for many now. Gaming, live streaming and being a gaming celebrity is the new YouTuber. This area is something CMO’s and DTC brands are desperately looking at and diving into.
Live streaming provides huge growth potentials for both consumer and for businesses looking to jump into the space and invest into the personality, into the game, and into leagues, this will continue as younger audiences will join and with more people having more time away from colleges and universities coupled with the increase in unemployment and lower barriers to entry with technology we will see increased investment with time and money from consumers and increased budgets being assigned for sponsorship not just of channels but in personalities and collectives.
Live and live-streaming still has the issue it is live and hard to police for the platforms, we are likely to see “going live” mean pre recorded and interaction with fans reduce slightly.
I can imagine there will be a reality series or two created around live streaming stars.
Esports teams and leagues have had huge investments from celebrities like Drake and David Beckham and we are seeing their investments potentially driving IPO’s.
Lastly but importantly; professional sports teams (Premier League, Rugby Union, Cricket etc) are proactively looking at connecting at a deeper level with their fans especially while they cannot attend games and could choose for the next 18 months not to attend the matches.
Sports are as tribal as you can get and fans will spend their last funds to help the team they love and emotionally fight for numerous times per week.
This will see huge investments from the fans and clubs leading to innovation and huge investments.
Professional sports merging offline with online and connecting fans with players with deeper connections away from social media is a huge opportunity area with large budgets from consumers and sports brands wanting to be part of this evolution.
Gaming is evolving rapidly:
- Traditional platform gaming is ramping up with Xbox, Playstation, Switch all consoles with releases in the coming months
- Amazon will continue on its mission to add value to Prime Customers with live sports, particularly for Premier League coverage
- Facebook is pushing harder into the VR and AR space
- The metaverse becoming a dream many are attempting to build. Epic seems the most invested but so many are obsessing over the metaverse it could be a bloody fight
- Despite the problems with app store fees mobile is where every games company needs to be and we will see huge shifts with tech and AR especially with glasses being an area we are seeing traction in
- Apple and Google’s dive into their mobile gaming solutions (and subscription services) gaming is going to get huge investments especially the consumer side.
Technology and Extensions 🛠
For many years we have concentrated on apps and websites as the core development area of business, in recent years there has been a scene bubbling up under the surface, browser extensions, and huge investments into them.
Expect Grammarly (and Honey’s acquisition) to lead the way with investments and show there are other avenues. Area’s that are likely to increase is spelling, gaming, VPN’s, and cheaper shopping. Extensions do not limit possibilities and can be transferable across devices.
Even the largest tech companies and well-known investors need to diversify their offerings and portfolios, to create the next utility. Browser extensions could well to the value add.
Expect browser extensions to be more useful, offer much better experiences than native software or apps, and leverage learnings about you and your behaviour to offer the best personal experience.
These step changes will drive growth in both B2C and B2B businesses and public and private industries.
So what do you think? Am I right or did I miss a particular theme or industry?