The way I see it

The Filter
The future of (digital) marketing now, in 10 and 50 years
Originally published here as “get-the-ball-rolling”-fodder for a book.

There is a lot of talk about Web 3.0, but this is a contradiction in terms because the new internet won’t be a web anymore, but an organism, a brain.

What do I mean by that? Currently in the 2.0 world people are being busy filling the web with information, experiences and applications. This is akin to building the most comprehensive, up to date, ever-changing living and breathing database on this planet. What will be increasingly important is how people cut this data, how it’s being accessed and how relevant nuggets are being presented to the user. I believe that people won’t use search engines to look for these nuggets. They will come to them.

This means the new web will act more like a Filter on the old 2.0 web. This is being fuelled by the fact that the current IP address structure (i.e having a unique URL for a site) will be defunct. Currently people access content on, say through this unique URL. This will change. We will have unique IP addresses for each piece of information. There will be an infinite number of unique addresses available, so each thought, image, word, pixel or whatever will have a unique address. Web addresses like will loose it’s relevance and it’s value to marketing and browser based web access is going to become less and less important. Imagine each brick of a house having it’s own postcode. How are you going to say where you live?

The consequence of this is that traditional online advertising will die. No-one will visit websites with physical space for banners anymore. People’s opinions will replace advertising and what comes through the Filter is the content that people create.

Advertising will live in applications like internet “TV” (Joost being the first of many to come). Secondlife and Google Earth will have evolved into a living and breathing Parallel Universe pretty much like The Matrix along with a renaissance of the more traditional advertising like virtual TV spots and virtual billboards.

On the 2.0 layer there will still be unique URLs closed campaign sites and traditional online advertising. This place won’t be visited very often though.

The place to look to advertise to people is on the Filter. How do we do this since there is no digital real estate for sale on this level? We need to create marketing that surfaces on this layer. People won’t buy brands as entertainment they want products that entertain. Something people connect with and will want to engage with. This means we need to look at a new type of marketing. We need to work with clients and not for them. The traditional Internet will be an invisible place and brands need to work with agencies to operate on the Filter to give people what they are looking for. We need to develop unique and exciting products with our clients. Good products don’t need to be advertised. The Filter will find them for you. Without you searching for it. Knowledge about great products flies around the globe in no time. Good stuff (and unfortunately the shit) will surface through the Filter and float.

The new web will also be less about recreating realty with heavy video experiences. People will live this for ”real” in the Parallel Universe as described above. The old way of telling people about a brand or product through the means of a metaphor is outdated. Why would I want to control a pre-recorded video with my keyboard and mouse if I can put on a virtual chicken suit and dive into the Parallel Universe.

If you want your brand to still matter in 50 years you need to put all the emphasis on having a great product. And that’s what people are prepared to pay for. The more digital our world becomes the pricier live experiences become. Theatre, art exhibitions, live music are the sort of events people will pay for.

This means being a musician and making money by selling music to people will not be a business model anymore. Artists will make money by licensing their music to brands but not by selling it to people. People won’t pay for downloads. The same goes for the film industry. People won’t pay for film on DVDs anymore. Why should they? But they will pay premium for a live cinema experience. Live is going to be expensive. Everything digital will be free.


9 thoughts on “The way I see it

  1. I have been thinking about this too…
    If you don’t think of digital as a discrete channel and think of it as part of the whole “organism” of communications; stuff you see in the media or in the street, things you encounter in person or virtually, things your friends tell you and things you over hear, then individual websites, TV channels, shops or any discreet channel attempting to put forward a singular point of view are of little relevance.
    Ideas, whether they be opinions, tastes, choices or information about products, are already carried organically and irrationally between channels (mostly by people), building a total picture for every individual that is both bigger than any single truth “brand message” and is unique to each individual.
    This “world if ideas” (whatever they are about) is a free market, the “value” of any item is relative to the value of any other item and is different for every consumer depending on their individual circumstances. If there is something they require they will be more willing to make more effort to find it, if not they will not.
    Free markets work because the system as a whole functions to bring the right product to the right consumer (is this the filter?), they rely on not any single process but all the process working together and independently to deliver a cumulative effect.
    Advertising has always been a process to subvert this (theoretically) perfect system, it attempts to shortcut the function of the market by creating an artificially high awareness of, and desire for, something, and as awareness and desire are key to making sales (never mind whether the product is any good or not) there will always be a demand for this “advertising” service however it is delivered.
    Just a thought.
    Anyway interesting post and good crack

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