Marketing has come a long way from being just a sign outside a shop or ads in the phonebook. Digital marketing and technology now go hand in hand, and “MarTech” is a broad term applied to any major initiatives that rely on the power of technology to realize marketing objectives.
Once hampered by privacy concerns raised from data collection, customer demand for omnichannel personalization has brought about increasingly granular marketing. Technology allows for the collection of an impressive amount of data, but data for its own sake won’t optimize your marketing efforts. In order to reach the next level of marketing performance, you’ll need to use MarTech to unearth and understand the insights buried in that data.
While MarTech is a powerful tool that can make or break your marketing campaign’s performance, it’s also a versatile one that can be utilized in many ways. The following trends around MarTech will prove critical to marketing in 2018:
1. The AI Revolution
Nothing makes big data into usable insights like machine learning. The evolution and refinement of artificial intelligence will allow for increased personalization, in addition to a host of applications such as chatbots and voice recognition. AI’s computational prowess means it should be first utilized in areas where your business is struggling to process volume at the necessary margins. Going for quick wins can help convince stakeholders to buy into its potential.
2. MarTech Meets AdTech
Surprisingly, marketers are beginning to invest more in technology than advertising. It doesn’t hurt that large software companies developing marketing clouds are prioritizing AdTech acquisition as a way to stay innovative. As platforms and publishers combine in channels such as Facebook, the abundance of first-party data means they can direct marketers toward the right audience armed with the right ad.
3. Voice Search
Voice searches are expected to comprise half of online searches by 2020, meaning forward-thinking marketers must optimize their content for this emerging medium. Companies such as MapQuest are leading the way — the brand’s ambition is to improve natural language navigation so that it’s possible to interact with its software without any kind of visual interface. Because many marketers have yet to prepare for voice search, it’s a great opportunity to invest in a differentiator.
4. Augmented Reality Development
Augmented reality is destined to change the way people shop. Brands that can tailor an experience to their customers based on this emerging technology will be at the forefront of this movement. Apple, for example, designed the iPhone 8 and iPhone X with augmented reality in mind, and as these types of AR-ready devices become mainstream, the development of the technology will only be accelerated.
5. Local Search Strategies
It’s a common misconception that a local marketing strategy is too small for global and national brands. The truth is, though, almost a third of mobile searches are in some way related to location.
Whether customers are looking for the hours of a national chain or wanting to know if a specific store has an item in stock, a hyperlocal marketing strategy can help small businesses and global giants alike. Google also points out that almost two-thirds of mobile users are more likely to purchase from a business whose site customizes information to be relevant to the users’ specific location.
One of the biggest concerns surrounding technological innovation is that it could make human work irrelevant. The growth of MarTech may mean that fewer people are needed in marketing, but those who are will be specialists in their field who become even more valuable.
It’s tough to say with certainty where MarTech is going, but the areas of organic search, voice search, and social media are safe bets. MarTech will also play a huge role as new forms of content, such as augmented reality, become mainstream. Whatever direction the future takes, marketers will be forming new relationships with technology as they strive to reach the right audience at the right time with the right message.