Jerry Wind is a marketing veteran who has seen it all before. He tells Jo Bowman that the ad world ain’t seen nothing yet.

To make predictions about how much the world might change by 2020 seems somewhat risky; it’s far enough away to be pretty tough to call correctly, yet not so far out that when the time comes, everyone will remember what you said.

Jerry Wind, Lauder Professor and Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, has been gathering views from thought leaders and innovators from around the world about what advertising could or should look like in 2020. The result is his latest book Beyond Advertising and it’s grim reading for anyone planning on making small, gradual adjustments to their current strategy.

What’s driving change, Wind says, is not just the obvious big shift – technology – but a confluence of major forces that he says is up-ending the old mechanics of advertising and the balance of power on which it was based. The old world of advertising, he says, is defunct, or at the very least, a good way to waste a lot of money.

Technology is bringing “truly revolutionary dramatic changes”, and the connectedness of people, homes, cars and devices is an enormous shift for businesses and brands – one that can potentially work in companies’ favour. Mobile and social media are generating data streams that enable brands to know what a consumer is doing, where they are, who they are with and even what kind of mood they’re likely to be in. But at the same time, consumers are growing increasingly skeptical of the business world and its advertising claims.

Demographic changes around the world mean the gap between the haves and the have-nots is widening in many markets, and these shifts are leading to entirely new ways of working – new business models and new revenue models.

“If you look at all of these forces of change, and their interdependency, and you look at the magnitude and speed of change, you realise that you can’t just keep doing what you’ve (always) been doing,” Wind says. He points out that huge change – over a longer period of time, perhaps – has proved this point before. Only 12% of the Fortune 500 companies of 1965 are still in that top 500. To look at it another way, 88% of businesses that once dominated the world have vanished into obscurity.

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