Top Twenty Digital Marketing Tech Trends 2017

/ 26 January 2017

Top Twenty Digital Marketing Tech Trends 2017

This is the second of a two-part blog entry by Ron Shulkin, VP North America, 3radical. The last entry entitled “The Top Ten Trends in Digital Marketing Technology for 2017”, covered a list of Digital Marketing technologies not everyone may be familiar with, but the leadership brands are all using.

With a slew of digital marketing trends worth documenting and sharing this year, today’s section covers Data, Artificial Intelligence, New Forms of Media and a recap of my past predictions.

Section 2: Data gets more important every year

Data continues to be important.
Budgets are tight and closely monitored. The ROI on marketing campaigns must be proven when proposed. Only good data and predictive analytics can provide the proof.

Identifying a consumer during an encounter.
A. Then connecting them to their various social accounts continues to be a challenge. This is usually addressed with social engineering rather than an IT integration…a contest submission can be earned when you “Tell us your social handles”.
B. All the devices consumers use also need to be attributed to a specific person. Consumers might shop a brand from their computer at home, their work laptop while in the coffee shop, their phone, or their tablet.

These connectivity requirements further complicates the notion of identifying a consumer during an encounter.

Including Geo-location as a variable.
We predicted it and now it’s true. Brands must acknowledge the rise of the smart phone. What we used to do on a computer from our desks, like internet searches, shopping, we do on the move from our smart phones. Thus, Geolocation has become a significantly tracked variable in digital marketing.

The Internet of Things; including Wearables
has established its place in our lives and this phenomenon will continue to grow because we take the convenience these devices offer for granted (when you control your thermostat from your phone for instance, or note a text on your smart watch without digging out your phone). Plus, the IoT is a bit insidious, so likely to enjoy exponential growth. While we’re controlling the new smart thermostat on our smart phones, the app encourages us to connect our kitchen appliances, all the lights in the house and put a camera in every room (I didn’t think I needed those before, but now that you bring it up, the reports would be so much more complete). All those devices produce data for marketer’s behavioral analysis. All these are all digital mediums, with interfaces that can carry marketer’s messages.

Digital mediums carrying marketing messages

Single View of the Customer at its finest.

Data topics examined. The launch of marketing campaigns requires more and better data to prove the ROI. While incorporating new data fields, like Geolocation, and the identification of a consumer’s new device, brands need to combine consumer past purchase history, their aspirations as gleaned from surveys and on line shopping activities, in fact all of the consumer’s digital footprint (including all the social handles and digital devices). Without combining these data points, the brand cannot link the consumers’ digital and real world activities. There’s a database for each aspect of this data. Each database is probably built in a different manner; built in a different year. The brand needs to combine these separately maintained databases into a Single View of the Customer.

Section 3: Where have all the humans gone? 

Security Distrust.
No one trusts the security of their digital systems (nor should they, thanks loads, Mr. Snowden). Change your passwords often. And don’t tell anyone the name of your favorite aunt, even if it’s her birthday and you’re on the way to the party.

Authenticity Distrust.
No one trusts the authenticity of what is posted (anonymous commenters, fake news, AI driven social postings)

Just like the technology for voice recognition improved until we all took it for granted, so too Chatbots will take their place in our lives.

ChatBot - How may I help you

Artificial Intelligence at its finest.

An example of all these digital marketing technologies might be found when you ask for help on the department store web site. Up pops a chat request. You shouldn’t necessarily believe the other side is human. You just have to hope the artificial intelligence you’re conversing with is on a computer owned by the department store. Not one running on a computer in Russia.

Section 4: The rise of New Media

Video will boom (Oh my, I say this every year since 2004 when I joined an enterprise video technology company). This trend acknowledges the dynamic requirements for video. After an ongoing need for ever shorter forms to insert into adverts, the trend now is to publish video that can provide the background for a virtual reality trip.

Augmented Reality.
As the technology improves and bandwidths grow, consumer audiences can expect to see more augmented reality and to have more varied media choices. The success of Pokemon Go was just the first in this direction. The fact it succeeded will help inspire industry growth.

Native Advertising.
Think about how we saw Marty McFly drink Pepsi all through the movie. Now that we’re thoroughly jaded, disliking the arrival of ads in our email and newsfeed streams, we’re using ad blockers layered in our internet usage. In reaction expect the sharp rise of native advertising. It is going to be hard to distinguish the advertising messages from the content it is supposed to be supporting.

Live Platforms.
Live platforms like Periscope, Meerkat, but most popularly Facebook Live, are becoming prevalent so stand by for marketers to figure out how best to capitalize on this, insert their messages and market in this new media.

Immersive Video.
Immersive Video will step up. Now that we can all attach a headset viewer to our smart phones you can be sure marketing messages and shoppable videos will be surreptitiously inserted.

Private Messaging.
Driven by a perceived requirement for encryption, a slew of messaging apps have surfaced and are commonly used (Snapchat, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts). No one wants to see an ad there. But Taco Bell’s campaign on Snapchat was huge.

New Media at its finest.

Consider this…when combined with AI driven Chatbots and Native Advertising, we may find ourselves in a conversation about buying a product, with a dialog with a reviewer that seemed to occur organically. It didn’t. Worse, someone you trust is pushing out a live stream update about their daily lives. Today’s topic is how they shopped for a new digital video recorder; they describe their shopping research and why they eventually bought a particular device. The real reason they bought it is that the vendor gave them a 95% discount in trade for the review.

Just to wrap up, here’s a recap on my 2016 trend notes
  • Marketing Automation Consolidation. The corporate marketing teams at larger multi-brand, international organizations wrestled vendor selection from the regional folks and settled on a short list of easy to use, highly configurable, digital marketing platforms. They are easier to support, and less expensive. I got this one right.
  • The Chief Marketing Technologist joins the team. And he’s managing the Marketing Automation Consolidation described above. With digital becoming more important as time goes on, this position becomes a more significant part of the team. There are 745 of these guys listed on LinkedIn as I write this.
  • The Doubling of the social budget. In a nod to the inevitable (new social networks and everyone on their smart phones), Digital & Social budgets are doubling because that’s where your audience spends their time. In today’s news, it was reported Half of US marketers said they expect to slightly increase their marketing technology investment, 20% said they expect to increase it greatly.
  • Audience Engagement is an Omnichannel experience. This is the trend toward building holistic, respectful, two way relationships with consumers. I got this one right, too.
  • Collecting data continues to be important.  Predictive analytics guides personalized marketing messages. And as previously noted, marketers are under pressure to prove the ROI on a campaign to get the project budgeted.
  • Experiential Marketing. The rise of more event oriented agencies, is an indicator the rules have changed, and new avenues for marketing are incorporated into marketing plans, including marketing done in person.

Ron Shulkin is the Vice President of North America for 3radical – Helping brands design, monitor, and manage their consumer audience’s journey in real time.

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