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Is space the final frontier for marketers?

Being part marketer, part futurist is key to your brand’s success

As marketers, we observe and absorb everything that other brands are doing – from the mundane to the insane – and ask ourselves two questions: 

  1. How can we interpret that for our brand? and;
  2. What’s next? 

Pushing boundaries, in business and marketing, is the new norm. When Elon Musk shot his cherry-red Tesla Roadster (complete with mannequin driver, listening to Bowie’s Life on Mars on continual loop) into space last year, marketers around the globe paused for thought and wondered. 

What if…  

Is this the future of marketing?

A Russian startup, StartRocket, took that thought and went one step further, creating tiny, light-reflecting satellites to form sprawling billboards in space. 

The ads, which could be [voiceover voice] ‘coming soon, to a sky near you,’ would only be visible at night and be seen from around the world. 

While, of course, the idea has plenty of opposition – particularly from astrologists and scientists – it could be that, very soon, the night sky will look very different from what we know now. 

It’s the biggest billboard in the world – and no doubt big-name brands will be queuing up around the intergalactical block. 

If you’re a marketing futurist, your customers lead you there

While space advertising may be in reach for some brands, for others it’ll be [cliche alert] many moons away. 

But if not space then what? 

The average marketer won’t know. They play it safe with their marketing ideas with tried and tested formats and formulas. Let others make mistakes and forge the way, I’ll follow! 

It’s predictable, it’s dull, and any bang-average marketer can do it. Replicate, rinse and repeat. 

Stellar marketers, however, dare to be different. They explore, they innovate.

Of course, to turn exploration into reality, you need a well-educated exec team around you, a team with whom you have a great relationship and who’ll back your ideas and judgment. 

A team that wants you to be extraordinary. 

Elon Musk’s move to send his Tesla Roadster into space as part of a SpaceX payload was hailed as “the best ad ever”. Picture: SpaceX

And for this, you’ll either need an unbelievable track record of doing this stuff elsewhere, or you’ll need to get runs on the board first and educate them about what’s possible as you go along. 

You can slowly push – getting more innovative and experimental as you go. 

Red Bull certainly didn’t go from sending a fortnightly e-newsletter, a few social posts and some display advertising to sending Felix Baumgartner into space to skydive 24 miles to earth. 

How do you know where to go? Start by asking customers about their perceptions and expectations, and what they’re open to.  Prompt them with your own queries about your marketing strategy.

As a marketing futurist you need to delve into your audience’s interests. Ask questions and analyze the data – never mind your brand, what are your audience’s real, genuine interests? 

Find the common land – or space – and explore how you can interject.

Just like Red Bull did with sports teams and extreme activities.

How can marketers see the future? 

Futurists have made a career out of preparing businesses for what is coming. Far from being crystal ball gazing, cloak-draped con-artists, ‘real’ futurists are practical and logical. 

They analyze data and trends and project future states. They are not limited by current state or limitations that exist presently.  

And, as a marketer, you have to become your brand’s very own futurist. 

You need to remove preconceptions and limitations, eliminate them from your thinking. Research your customers and prospects. Be open to opportunity, and explore those opportunities with an open mind.  

StartRocket spotted an opportunity – the world’s biggest (relatively) blank canvas, that every single customer a brand could wish for can see. 

Who could have envisaged that? 

Well, the US banned space advertising as far back as 1993, so someone saw the potential … 

Maybe they now own a Russian startup ... 

Let your data shape your future. It’s easy with Interpris.