While science fiction is typically dismissed as just that—fiction—many technologies that we now take for granted were first imagined in this genre, sometimes even spurring their invention. Likewise, sci-fi visions of the future of college marketing strategies may someday become commonplace, and it always pays to be ahead of the curve.
In the last installment I speculated about a couple of possible future advertising technologies that could prove to be useful college marketing ideas. While these may seem far-fetched now, sci-fi concepts often predict technologies that are in the pipeline or somewhere down the road.
Is Virtual Internet the Future of College Marketing?
This sci-fi concept is a hot one, and it seems like the next logical step is Internet technology— we’ve watched the web become more and more ubiquitous, such that now almost everyone carries a small mobile device that’s tapped in at all times (smart phone). . . . But what if such a device were really with us at all times . . . in our heads?
Virtual reality Internet access via a chip routing directly through the brain would revolutionize communication technology yet again, providing boundless opportunities in the college marketing field. Online classes would likely become the norm, and youth marketing ad space during this virtual instruction could help defray university expenses or perhaps be purchased directly from the network providers. Because the uplink would actually utilize the mind (visual and auditory cortices, e.g.) to create the interface, ads would be unavoidable—there would be no minimizing, blocking, or muting.
Of course, depending on how sophisticated this hypothetical technology were, the idea of college as we think of it might even become obsolete. If it were possible to directly download large packets of information to the brain the way we do to our computers now, “learning” might be completely redefined. There would certainly be limitations on the knowledge gleaned in this manner, but, in this scenario, college marketing companies might have to evolve into largely web-based entities. Rather than designing campus posters, they might place ads into the data packets that “students” download. Campuses where large numbers of students congregate would probably become a thing of the past, perhaps remaining in use only as research facilities.
While it’s possible that none of these technologies will materialize, forward-thinking companies and individuals stand poised to reap the benefits of new ideas before their more conservative competitors. Leave me a comment and let me know your ideas on the future of college marketing.
 Schmidt, Stanley. “Is Learning Obsolete?” Analog Science Fiction and Fact (September 2012): 4-7.