The Future of the Future of Marketing

By Sandeep Krishnamurthy, Ph.D., Dean, School of Business, University of Washington, Bothell

The UW Bothell School of Business convened an interactive conversation with national thought leaders in marketing. Participants included senior marketing leaders from Boeing, Microsoft, AT&T, retailers, and, entrepreneurs. The dialogue focused on the future of the future of marketing. Below, we provide a summary of the main points made.


The practice of marketing is at a very exciting moment. Future is bright with new ways of telling a brand’s story and engaging with customers. The future is actually full of things that are happening right now in front of our eyes. Yet, there is a clear gap between what we are capable of doing and what is actually being utilized.

The Future Customer

To be able to predict the future of the future of marketing we need to better understand the future customer from a cultural, social, economic, and, psychological lens. The importance of customer-to-customer interaction will rise.


Don’t just glorify your message. Be real and cite what authentically is happening with you or your brand. Engagement happens most when you are authentic and least when you are advertising or sensationalizing. Social media can potentially increase authenticity- but, not always. Multiple channels increase the need for authenticity.

Anticipation of needs

Seek to address not just current customer needs- but, the needs of the future customer. Short-term prediction using analytics might be possible for some companies. But, understanding long-term needs is harder and fewer companies might be doing that.

Human-centered view vs. Technology

Healthy debate between new technology possibilities and human capacity to process, relate, and, use. Hypothetical question- “Would you agree to have a chip embedded in you to help marketers target better?” Only one person had an enthusiastic positive response. Many felt that excessive emphasis on technology would lead to a backlash from consumers craving human connection.

Story telling vs. Big Data

The art of storytelling and big data are not mutually exclusive. Use the new big data analytical tools to tell a compelling story and connect with the customer.

You’ve got to move product

Marketing and sales have to be integrated. Ultimately, marketing has to be focused on moving product and generating quality revenues. New analytic tools help with this and will continue to get better.

Integrated marketing plan

Most companies have not integrated all possible marketing activities. Creating a basic and consistent marketing plan might be the key to maximizing ROI on marketing investments.

Add value to people’s lives

Make consuming goods and services easier and less time consuming. Help consumers lead rich lives by creating more time for them to spend on things that matter.

We look forward to co-evolving marketing with you. Send thoughts to Dr.Sandeep Krishnamurthy, Dean, UW Bothell School of Business,