In 2011, there were around 150 of them. In 2017, there were just over 5000 approximately. At the Martech Conference, Chief Martech Scott Brinker declared that there are around 6089 in 2018. To gauge the path in which marketing is heading in 2018, it’s appropriate to gauge where Martech is heading. The marketing technology stack of today is like one big meadow with resources and tools in abundance and a whole bag of integrations to choose from.
Let’s contemplate the state of affairs for Martech in 2018 and pin some trends that are set to make an impact.
More Emotion Analysis and Cross-Channel Artwork
NLP, facial recognition, voice analysis, and the likes are used to evaluate the sentiments or emotions of customers across touchpoints, particularly in social media. These emotions are about what people feel or express about a brand. 2018 will be about bringing emotion analysis and demographics closer than before to develop a new breed of segmentation. This kind of segmentation will provide marketers a clearer, explicit image of ‘specific customers’ to augment marketing campaigns.
Emotion analysis and emotional metrics have the ability to differentiate between customers who are most likely to buy, may buy in future, are interested in a particular product or will never buy. This enables marketers to have a laser-like focus on prospects, leads, and advocacy.
Expect CMOs and marketing leaders in 2018 to not just strive for engagement emotions. They will seek emotion analysis of intent. All of that will be spread across channels. Cross-channel targeting based on emotion analysis could well be the new paradigm for campaigns. According to Marketo, on average, marketers deploy six different channels. That average may well be on its way up.
More Sophisticated Voice Assistants
Voice assistants are the next big wave in which brands and customer interactions are taking shape. Voice platforms are due to get more sophisticated in 2018 and the engagement ecosystem will become complex too. Essentially, brands will seek to provide higher-value content through voice assistants. With tech biggies like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft in the game, voice tech developments will take place at breakneck pace.
- Voice assistant devices and voice assistants raked in 14.5 million mentions on social and 14.3 billion ecommerce site visits between May 2016 and May 2017 (Adobe)
The most delightful element of geolocation is that it takes real-time engagement to a whole new level. The adage of right time, right person, and right place will increase in precision with geolocation. It also helps brands to gain knowledge about the precise location of customers while they buy or browse. Location-data adds a delectable flavor to personalization making it – hyper-personalization.
- Brands have garnered a 20% increase in conversions by including location data to their ad data (Skyhook Wireless)
- 67% of photos shared on the internet have an associated location (Venuelabs and The LBMA)
- 69% of Google searches involve a specific location (eMarketingBlogger)
Geolocation has propelled mobile marketing to further orbits. It works on more or less on all devices but mobile is where its true magic flourishes. Expect more of location data-enabled mobile marketing strategies and campaigns in 2018. Also, geolocation has raised the game of CX with customers becoming fond of hyper-personalization. Marketers will need to be more agile in delivering the right content at the right place. Else, it won’t get noticed.
More AR Prominence
Virtual reality may yet have a long way to go before marketers adopt it generously. High-speed data requirements and the steep cost are probably are forestalling VR from being the rage. To contextualize that, just ask yourself how many people you’ve seen moving around with VR headsets. However, augmented reality or AR has caught the attention of brands. B2C and event marketers, in particular, have leveraged AR to deliver innovative CX.
A good example is IKEA whose AR app lets people see how an item will appear in their living space before they buy it. In 2018, more brands will turn to AR to highlight the relevance of their business offerings. Customers will expect that from brands as they crave for more interactive experiences before they decide to purchase.
More Affinity between AI and IoT
Last, not the least, but perhaps the pivotal aspect of Martech – AI. It has helped marketers gain progressive insights to connect with customers. AI has added tremendous relevance to content with streamlined permeation. Social posts, emails, push notifications and a lot more. All of these fit seamlessly into the arch of the interaction customers have with their devices. Now, time to put the spotlight on devices. It’s estimated that by 2020, there’ll be 75 billion connected devices. That’s the power of IoT.
- At present, there’re 8000+ job openings listed for IoT specialists (Adweek)
- Adoption of AI in marketing will rise by over 50% in next two years (Salesforce)
- 73% of CEOs anticipate AI to be a key element in their business (IBM)
2018 will see AI inching closer to IoT. The ocean of connected devices serves both machines and marketers. It offers data which empowers machines to learn better, and in turn, helps marketers make intelligent data-backed decisions. What this also means is stiffer competition. Marketers will remain under pressure to be on top of their game with evolving customer expectations. AI will continue to offer a lot to marketers and the pace of that is going to get brisker. The competitive advantage will rest with marketers who can make the most of automation and the data deluge.
Martech Evolution Will Keep Intensifying
At every level, marketers in 2018 (and beyond) will need to affirm a tight clasp in disruptive tech advancements. They need to be visionaries and futurists to stay ahead of the pack. Marketing teams need skilled computer scientists (or IT) to stay in sync with the ever-evolving Martech sphere. It’s time to maximize the incredible AI-powered and IoT-enabled technologies to deliver the ultimate possible CX in 2018.