I know I’ve sworn off of making predictions in the dynamic marketing technology space, but I’m going to make a big one today: the marketing technology landscape supergraphic for 2045 will contain only a single logo.
I know, I’m not the first armchair analyst to suggest that there will be massive consolidation in the marketing technology landscape — despite the empirical evidence to the contrary that has consistently foiled that claim for the past 5 years. But why let data spoil a perfectly good narrative, right?
However, I am singularly certain that massive consolidation will happen — specifically by the year 2045.
The technological singularity is a hypothetical event in which artificial general intelligence (constituting, for example, intelligent computers, computer networks, or robots) would be capable of recursive self-improvement (progressively redesigning itself), or of autonomously building ever smarter and more powerful machines than itself, up to the point of a runaway effect — an intelligence explosion — that yields an intelligence surpassing all current human control or understanding. Because the capabilities of such a superintelligence may be impossible for a human to comprehend, the technological singularity is the point beyond which events may become unpredictable or even unfathomable to human intelligence.
This self-improving super-intelligence will redefine “marketing automation,” as it will rapidly figure out how to execute any marketing campaign, without any help from human marketers, in a way that the target audience will find completely irresistible. No seriously, resistance will be futile. Prospects who fail to take the appropriate “call to action” will be diagnosed as faulty parts by the machine and summarily eliminated.
And by “eliminated,” I don’t mean just removed from the email database.
If Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in a sci-fi action movie about this dystopian-but-entirely-too-close-for-comfort future, he would have a snappy catchphrase for that, something like, “You’ve been debugged.”
My advice? Enjoy the process of building beautiful marketing technology stacks assembled from a diverse landscape of vendors today, while you can. For that matter, enjoy not being hunted by autonomous drones with high-powered lasers or being strapped into a battery pack to power your local Hadoop cluster while you can too.
Luckily, we have short-term goals for demand generation, revenue, and profitability to keep us distracted from the more terrifying implications of this impending future.
But back to the forthcoming super-simplified marketing technology landscape of one. Who will win this epic consolidation prize? Adobe? IBM? Oracle? Salesforce?
None of the above. Ladies and gentlemen, this April 1st, I give you a special sneak preview of the 2045 Marketing Technology Landscape and its sole dominating entity:
Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL? Where are my qualified leads, HAL?
“I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the marketing mission. And I want to help you.”
P.S. If I’m wrong about this prediction, feel free to track me down in 2046. I’m planning on retiring to Florida, where I’ll be living in approximately 3 feet of water. A real estate agent would generously describe it as a full-property indoor/outdoor salt-water pool.
P.P.S. For a more serious discussion of life beyond the singularity, read Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom.