It Feels Like 2012
This moment in marketing feels a lot like 2012 did. Specifically, digital marketing targeting, personalization, and attribution today feels very similar to how social media marketing did then.
Then as now, the evolution of each practice from niche to ubiquity had negative effects on the very platforms the marketing lived on. Then as now, things were too good for marketers at the expense of too many others. Then as now, a major correction was both inevitable and necessary. The next correction will come soon. In the same way organic social reach went away, these capabilities largely will, too.
We're already seeing the beginnings of that change in new browser releases and in legislation (extant and proposed), and most marketers will read this and conceptually agree with what I'm saying. What I'm affirming here is that almost everyone, maybe myself included, is underestimating the scope of the coming change. I used to call a Facebook post a success if its organic reach was higher than the number of people who Liked the page. You know what organic reach is now.
That's the kind of reduction in targeting, personalization, and attribution capabilities I'm talking about. It's worth asking yourself, what happens if the same kind of change in organic reach from 2011-2016 happens to those capabilities over the next 5 years?