Wharton Future of Advertising

The following post by Mark Burgess (@mnburgess) was initially published as a contribution to The Wharton Future of Advertising Program’s Advertising 2020 Project.


By 2020, the term “advertising” will be redefined from today’s definition of “paid media only” to the true integration of all relevant paid, owned and earned media. The distinction between these three elements will blur as each ingredient blends into a new brand formula for success.

Brands will evolve their understanding of the consumer’s buying behavior in order to find the right information for the right individual through the right channel at the right time. The main question advertisers will need to answer in 2020 is how to move consumers from consideration to purchase. Advertisers will evolve far beyond today’s view of the AIDA purchase funnel model (awareness, interest, desire, action) to focus much more broadly on a consumer experience that leads to advocacy. In 2020, a poor brand experience will lead to neither repurchase nor advocacy.


Today’s advertisers are limited in how they can reach and impact consumers at every phase of the buying cycle. Advertisers will evolve and be better prepared to lead consumers into the purchase phase.

What do we need to do now for this future?

We can start by investing our time and energy to understand how to get the most from present day social media monitoring services. Next, armed with a thorough understanding of the pros and cons, we must focus on building intelligent systems designed to gather data, synthesize information, draw implications and provide recommendations to advertisers for how to engage different audiences through social media. The greater the intelligence advertisers can glean from social media monitoring services, the better prepared they will be to respond in the hyper-real-time world of 2020.

In 2020, consumers and advertisers will form a collaboration of brands. This model moves beyond traditional advertising and past today’s trendy inbound marketing approach as brands assume their new roles as trusted advisors. Brands will have mastered the art of earning consumer trust through the co-creation of valuable content.

Traditional marketing research gives way to true social media monitoring research. Advertisers will benefit from more elaborate social media monitoring applications to research and identify meaningful consumer sentiment and trends—capturing candid feedback on brands and products. Marketers will use this readily available, inexpensive form of research to identify and refine new product concepts long before committing those items to production and making them available for consumer purchase.

INVITATION TO COMMENT ON The Wharton Future of Advertising Program Site: (See link below)

I invite you and your colleagues to learn and discuss the future of advertising – link to the collaborative platform at http://wfoa.wharton.upenn.edu/ad2020/ and perhaps add an idea/quotation to my Wharton Future of Advertising Program’s 2020 Project contribution. I would warmly welcome your reply. Please share your thoughts and reactions here.

In particular, we are interested to hear which recommended actions resonate with you and how you might put them into practice.

Click Here

View all Wharton’s 2020 Project contributors ~> Click Here http://wfoa.wharton.upenn.edu/ad2020/entries/


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