The Future Series: Big data and consumers become BFFs

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Curious about what the future has in store for your business? Welcome to ‘The Future Series’, which endeavours to predict what may be in store for your brand’s reputation and marketing in years to come. We all know how quickly new technologies come along and can leave us scrambling to catch up – so let’s dive straight in to make sure you’re prepared in advance.

Have you ever scoured the internet to find a new phone, pair of shoes or BBQ for the absolute best price? Undoubtedly, you’ve found yourself down a proverbial rabbit hole, hopping around websites and wasting hours of your time. With so much on offer, finding a way to stand out among the internet noise is becoming vital for brands.

This is where big data can play a valuable role. Imagine that you stumble across the website for a PR agency – it looks professional, helpful and well-suited to your brand. However, you’re on a deadline and don’t have the chance to get in touch. A week later, you have the time to send them an email, but now you can’t remember the firm’s name. Wouldn’t you appreciate an advertisement for the firm magically appearing in front of you?

Through the power of big data, this already happens: it’s called Google remarketing. Brands can now show ads to people that have previously visited their website, just in case they got distracted before purchasing an item or to lure them back in with more purchases. This stored data allows you to follow your digital trail back to places you’ve already visited and find the perfect PR agency (which would be Cole Lawson, of course). So, what’s next in the world of big data? Read on for our top predictions.


As Google and Facebook continue to collect your data, their algorithms will start to understand far more complex personal preferences. In the very near future, you’ll see Google search results re-shuffled in favour of brands that align with your personal values. An environmentalist looking for a superannuation provider will be taken to a clean and green super fund, while a student shopping on a budget will be directed to affordable clothing brands instead of designer labels.

This is where your business can access your niche market and utilise data to target key consumers. Gone are the days of mass letter box drops and catalogues: welcome the era of personalisation. Clearly defining your target market and working out how to promote your brand will be the key to unlocking new clients behind every internet door. However, this new resource won’t come cheap, so be prepared to pay for the privilege of direct customer access.

Not-so-distant future:

Many brands think that billboards are a thing of the past, but it might be time to revisit that opinion.  Brands have trialled billboards in Japan that use facial recognition technology to scan for your age and gender, and then predict buying preferences based on this. In the future, it’s likely that this technology will become even more advanced and widespread. One day, the facial recognition software may even be able to find you and your personal data and show adverts to suit your personal needs.

Maybe one day:

As technology becomes more and more integrated in our daily lives, so will advertising. It’s possible that ads will pervade the everyday to the point that we will pay for the privilege of not having them follow us around. The value of an ad-free experience is already worth paying for on platforms such as YouTube Red, which users pay for on a monthly basis.

In this version of the future, the ads that shout the loudest won’t necessarily be the ones you will buy. Instead, the ones which inspire your loyalty will hold the power. That said, it may not even be up to you by that point – your very own AI may already have gone shopping for you. In a convenient twist, thanks to all the data it will have on hand, the purchases will undoubtably delight you!

Speaking of AI, join us next week for more on how these super intelligent beings will shape our business lives in the future. If you have any thoughts or musings you’d like to add, please feel free to message us with your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you!