Forever Chasing Tomorrow. Innovation Never Stops.

I often reflect on the privilege and opportunity to attend life defining events, those given to marketing professionals working with some of the world’s biggest brands.  One such event that I was fortunate to attend (in the last millennium!) was titled “Futurology – Tomorrow is here Today”.  It was held at the top of the famous BT tower in London and brought together Telco marketing professionals from all over EMEA. At the time the biggest marketing challenge was to re-educate the B2C market as to the concept of “Broadband” and the power that it would enable and unleash via smartphones, device convergence, and the overall Web1 evolution towards Web2 applications.

The title of this event was not merely an interesting variant on a famous Garth Brooks song, but it was one that delivered a massive, pre-Y2K, call to action, illustrated by the quality and quantity of the delegates, brought together by BT.  Many of the concepts and ideas presented are now reality, those which at the time felt ridiculous if not outrageous. Concepts that included Bluetooth headphones, augmented reality devices, neural implants, AI (yes, it’s not new, it originates back in the early 1950s) and self-driving cars. AI was a core theme as IBM’s “Deep Blue” supercomputer had just beaten world chess champion and grand master Gary Kasparov for the first time.

If you google Futurology Conferences in 2023, AI is top of most of the published agendas, alongside robotics, blockchain, IOT, biotech and clean tech. Some of the speaker line ups show “Bored Ape” NFT images, instead of profile pictures, and others are even generative AI “virtual influencers”.  Some agenda points are more relevant than others to the Irish Marketing Professional, those with B2C or B2B national or global marketing remits.

However, when chasing tomorrow, the big thing to remember is to “Zoom Out” from the agenda.  Everything is relevant as the building blocks of the 4th industrial revolution are seismic, but the change will never be a sudden shock. The component parts are many, but the constant is decentralisation, that enabled by blockchain. In relation to an interoperable Web3 world, tomorrow is already here today, many of us just haven’t experienced it yet. So where do you even start?

Critical mass Web3 adoption will arrive, just like the BT futurologist predicted that our digital cameras would be fully integrated into our phone, alongside our wallet and the office video conferencing “machine”! So how does the marketing professional embrace the inevitable and position themselves and their current and future employer brands, for success in the certain Web3 world of tomorrow. How do you grow your personal Web3 brand today, that which will empower and unleash your career potential tomorrow?

  1. Find your Web3 interest and knowledge hunger niche. Are you currently working in CRM, CX, ABM or Loyalty? Then dive into the evolution of WRM.  Wallet Relationship Management will rapidly take over traditional CRM approaches via a consumer owned, blockchain enabled, digital wallet.  What digital brand assets will feature in that wallet for your target consumers? How are you going to learn about those brand use cases already in existence and learn from them?  It’s not about your next campaign. It’s about learning. Acquiring knowledge that will enable you to embrace future Web3 opportunities.
  2. Find, follow & talk to Web3 enthusiasts. These organisms are mostly human and not AI enabled! The passion, vision, intellect and openness of those who are embracing a decentralised world is there to be harnessed. Intros are easy to come by and the welcome is always friendly, even if it is sometimes via discord or X, the artist formerly known as the twitter machine. Seek out people. Show your passion & interest. Listen, engage and learn.
  3. Dive in and embrace on-chain life. Set up your own digital Web3 wallet, connect to Web3 enabled websites, join vibrant and active discord channels, experiment and start to experience and comprehend the reality of an “on-chain Web3 life”.  Pick a web3 pioneering brand and immerse yourself in their world.  Pick a personal area of interest and “go do it”. Be it a passion for food, fashion, health, gaming, travel, the environment or even building a personal Web3 decentralised blog, just start. Just do something to engage with the Web3 world.  Connect with a DApp or join a DAO. At least understand what both are and how they might feature in and enable your future Web3 life.

We all know that innovation never stops, and we all know that we embrace and adopt technology at different speeds. On or off grid, embrace it, however we eventually do. Often, as a result of being given no choice.

A decentralised, blockchain enabled Web3 connected world is a White Swan event certainty. Just like tomorrow is pre-programmed. So please learn early, learn often, experiment responsibly and don’t be shy. We are all on the same journey. Live in the moment today but always chase tomorrow. You will never catch it but it sure is fun trying. Play on….

An opinion piece by OLIVER Digital Director, Gareth Irvine, published in The Irish Marketing Journal, July 2023.

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