Marketing law predictions for 201902.18.19
1. The Wave of Social Media Influencers Rises (and Falls?).
Retailer’s dependence on social media influencers will continue to grow – as brands look to leverage influencers of all shapes and sizes and capitalize on ever-changing social media algorithms to ensure that those target audiences get reached. But caution ahead: influencer fraud is on the rise (with expanding exposures of fake followers). And what about the “Fyre Fraud Effect”? Will the increased media attention surrounding the failed 2018 festival and its exposure of (undisclosed) paid social media influencers dampen retailers' dependence on influencer brand strategies?
2. The Consumer Experience Leverages Augmented/Virtual Reality.
E-commerce is king, and traditional brick-and-mortar retailers continue to fold (Gymboree and Payless are the latest casualties). But is the in-person shopping experience dead? Not so fast. With more opportunities to utilize growing AR/VR retail technologies, in-person purchasing will sustain. Retailers will leverage these technologies for a holistic “consumer experience” in stores – as just one of the many omnichannel retail opportunities to reach customers. And the technology surrounding AR/VR will continue to press the limitations of existing legal boundaries.
3. Companies Search for New Methods to Combat Brand Disinformation.
More and more retailers are having to position themselves to fight ground swells of social media trolling focused on brand destruction. The bigger the brand – the bigger the target. New technologies are rapidly developing to assist retailers in these fights, but retailers must be vigilant in social media monitoring and crisis communications preparation. One bold prediction: 2019 will see increased global regulatory scrutiny of brand disinformation (as one of the major retailers – Amazon? Google? – gets trolled in a most public and embarrassing way).
4. Consumer Privacy Issues Take Center Stage.
In 2018, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) standardized stricter laws for protecting consumer data. But is the “privacy apocalypse” over? Nope, not even close. New privacy laws are just getting started. California’s Consumer Privacy Act (with its motto – “[Y]our life is not their business”) is scheduled to take effect next year amongst significant public debate.
5. The Veil of Media Buying Practices is Fully Lifted.
Retailers are still feeling the ripple effects of a 2016 industry report which detailed how traditional advertising agencies have bilked American businesses of hundreds of billions of advertising dollars through undisclosed rebates and agency benefits that the media industry long denied. In September of 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that federal prosecutors had opened up an investigation into these media-buying practices in the advertising industry. The FBI is also involved. Time will tell how the media supply chain will be materially altered by these ongoing investigations and what repercussions advertisers will face.