Thursday, January 19, 2017

3 Digital Media Predictions for the Trump Presidency

With the presidential inauguration tomorrow, it makes sense to think about how the digital (marketing – since all digital comms are marketing something, even if it’s someone’s opinion) landscape will shape the incoming President’s term. Here are a few digital media-related predictions for the next 4 years as it relates to the presidency:

1.    Most glaringly, the incoming Tweeter-in-chief has leveraged social media in a way that has surpassed any other previous candidate, even including the digital, audience creation/curation that Pres. Obama achieved during his presidency. Firing off pithy 160 character-or-less opinions, declarations, and retorts, he has both galvanized a voting base to come out of the woodwork and elect him, and alienated another base that has resulted in the lowest approval ratings for any incoming president. This will continue, and we’ll see the most contentious political landscape the modern era has seen. A vacuum will be created between the two poles where the Trump and anti-Trump camps will continue to build. But political discourse, and decency, will be saved by this vacuum, which will be filled by a moderate camp, living largely on digital media, that promotes itself as “common sense,” creating a robust centrist, perhaps even third party, movement that will sow seeds in the midterm election, and be a force in time for the next presidential election. All of this will play out on Twitter and in 60 second snippets, surrounded by video spots that will serve the ever growing marketer need for mobile video ad inventory.

2.    A “Trump bump” in the markets, with ever-low interest rates, and general pro-commerce sentiment will encourage firms to make far reaching investments in digital marketplaces, with offers so good that consumers who have mostly clung to brick and mortar moving to e-commerce for more and more goods and services. The continued digital revolution will disrupt more and more jobs, and the current strong unemployment numbers will tick back up, creating political headwinds for the incoming president who promised ever-strong job numbers.

3.    Digital “accountability” will grow, as headlines proliferate about the trustworthiness/validity/political leanings of digital content. People will be better at identifying the quality and nutritional value of the content they consume, much like consumers have come to identify the nutritional value of the food they consume. Results will be twofold – fledgling “click bait” machines will decrease in number, but quality publishers like The NYT and WSJ will move further to their respective poles on the political spectrum, knowing that drawing the ire of a political base is the best way to generate clicks and serve ads.

Predictably, as the world moves more digital, this will be the most digital-driven presidency in history in terms of both communications and commerce, but as consumers and voting bases become more educated as to how to properly consume digital media and communicate on platforms, we can hope that a degree of rationality and sensibility will set in.

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