5G: What’s next for marketing?

January 30, 2020

Peter Gbedemah is a computer scientist and telecoms entrepreneur who supports burgeoning tech companies. He founded African telecoms business, Gateway Communications, at the height of the nineties Dot Com boom, which laid the framework for much of Africa’s communications infrastructure.

Here, he talks about what 5G will mean for marketing…

5G: the latest generation of wireless network that has the world talking…

Amid discussions as to whether Huawei will have any involvement with the UK’s 5G architecture, our major telecoms providers have continued to launch their own 5G services, with Vodafone rolling out coverage to a further three cities. 

Set to be transformative, 5G promises an increase in network capacity and improvements in speed and latency. It provides a ground-breaking infrastructure for data transmission, which is likely to result in a steady increase in the amount of data shared across wireless systems and provide a number of promising new opportunities for the marketing sector. And here’s why:

Evolutionary opportunity 

As with any radical change, those who move first will gain a significant advantage by preparing for widespread 5G connectivity and accounting for it in their marketing strategies. 

Faster connection speeds will entice an increased number of interactive users from both remote and dynamic locations, with larger and more accurate data sets offering marketers the opportunity to be increasingly targeted in their approach to promotion. 

It will become easier for marketers to create individual digital footprints, and historical methods of consumer archetype segmentation will likely be forgotten. Localised antennae across the country will facilitate this data collection and prompt consumers to make situational-based and dynamic decisions. Increased data and predictive analysis will also enable hyper-localised delivery and multi-dimensional marketing strategies. 

Developments in Augmented Reality (AR) will provide marketers with an opportunity to explore more impactful and creative ways in which to communicate with consumers. WWF and Coca-Cola capitalised on AR during the launch of their Arctic Home Campaign in 2013, which sought to educate the public on the reality of the polar ice caps melting.  

While AR itself is not new technology, its capabilities have often been severely limited by technology. 5G is set to revolutionise this and open up a swathe of opportunities for the sector. 

5G will also increase the use of live and mobile video, with Cisco predicting that 80% of the world’s internet traffic will be video by 2021. In addition to developments in AR, 5G provides marketers with an opportunity to get creative and capitalise on new mediums of communication with consumers. 

Potential challenges 

While widespread 5G coverage appears to be a long way off, marketers need to be prepared and invest in new skills and strategic planning to accommodate the latest generation of wireless technology. Keeping these new volumes of data secure will be just as important as ever, and businesses will have to work hard to ensure comprehensive security and privacy procedures are in place.

Despite creating the opportunity for hyper-targeted advertising, the incoming volume of dynamic data increases the complexity of segmentation required to distil information, which marketers will have to adapt to. This disruption will inevitably fuel the emergence of new competition: agile and specialist data-centric operators born in the cloud. 

Marketers will also have to be mindful of the hybrid period, in which they’ll need to cater for both 4 and 5G users. Specialist strategies will need to be put in place and adaptability will be key. 

The move to widespread 5G coverage will be a gradual transition, but when it arrives it has the potential to revolutionise the marketing industry, offering larger datasets and facilitating creative ways of communicating with consumers. 

Marketers must plan ahead to take full advantage of updated technology and infrastructure, while ensuring all data is kept safe and secure. If marketers are slow to respond to the changes brought about by the introduction of 5G, they will fall behind competitors and struggle to engage tech-enabled consumers. Embracing the imminent technological evolution will allow marketers to be creative in their approach to reaching the masses.