5 Trends in Marketing Technology Poised to Re-Shape Marketing
In the past few years, marketing technology has evolved from a luxury to a necessity among enterprises, SMBs, and startups alike. With costs for innovative technology often within reach for businesses of all sizes, marketing technology is reshaping the way we reach audiences, nurture leads, and drive business growth.
But the evolution of marketing technology isn’t over yet. Several trends continue to influence the maturing field as it becomes increasingly challenging to differentiate yourself from the competition while meeting consumers’ ever-changing demands. These key trends are set to shape the 2016 marketing technology landscape.
1. Consumers expect personalized experiences, but personalization at the top of the funnel is hard.
Personalization has come a long way from the early days of merely customizing each recipient’s name in an email marketing blast. Today’s consumers demand greater personalization throughout the buyer’s journey, expecting companies to anticipate their needs and provide them with the right information at the right time and through the right channels to solve their most pressing needs.
VentureBeat points out the challenge of personalization, particularly at the top of the funnel, as between 57 and 90 percent of a B2B site’s audience is anonymous. Realistically, personalization doesn’t begin until a consumer engages with your company by sharing their email address or filling out a survey. But in 2016, that’s not enough.
“Traditionally, the companies that personalize at the top of the online-marketing funnel have needed big budgets and dedicated resources in marketing and engineering to tackle this challenge, said VB Insight analyst Andrew Jones,” according to the article. “A recent report by VB Insight found that personalization is on the rise even in small- and micro-businesses. The key driver has been the number of vendors that have emerged to solve real-time personalization challenges.”
2. Location-based marketing technology provides opportunities for marketers to engage prospects at the point of engagement.
Event planners and marketers are creating interactive experiences through the use of iBeacons and RFIDs (location-based marketing technology) which can detect nearby devices in retail stores, point-of-sale displays, merchandising areas, and conferences and events as HubSpot explains.
iBeacons enable signup and engagement with talks and sessions at conferences, with LinkedIn integration further enabling engagement beyond the event with messages and push notifications. RFID is used for wristbands, cards, and apps that enable attendees to easily share their experiences with their online networks, overall boosting word-of-mouth buzz surrounding industry conferences and other in-person marketing events.
3. Marketers will seek solutions to ad-blocking technology.
Ad blockers are on the rise, demonstrating consumers’ desire to avoid the frustrating, resource-intensive ads that take over their screens and make it difficult to view content. The problem is, as Matt Kapko points out in an article for CIO, those annoying ads are funding the very content users are seeking, posing an interesting challenge for publishers and marketers. Even Facebook, in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, reports that ad blockers have had an adverse effect on the social giant’s revenues.
Native advertising is another trend that’s on the rise, and native and in-app advertising are possible solutions to the growing problem of ad blockers. “Ad formats that match the look and feel of content on platforms such Facebook will continue to gain market share, as brands gravitate to more contextual and relevant advertising,” Kapko says.
4. Cross-channel strategies, campaigns, and data are enabled by digital marketing hubs and similar technology.
With the massive growth in content, it’s become increasingly difficult for marketing and sales professionals to sift through mountains of content assets and messaging in order to identify the right assets for the right prospects for unique marketing and sales scenarios.
“Digital marketing hubs represent a technology approaching the Peak of Inflated Expectations. These hubs function as the central points for marketers to collect, view, analyze and act on data, content, workflow elements and multichannel campaigns,” explains Gartner, noting that digital marketing hubs are poised to make an impact as substantial as enterprise resource planning (ERP). “Pay attention to the openness and extensibility of architecture components so the hub can adapt to your evolving marketing needs. Other technologies falling into this category include multichannel marketing, loyalty marketing and those solving for cross-device IDs.”
5. Event-triggered marketing, real-time marketing, and mobile marketing offer productivity gains and ROI.
Gartner also points to event-triggered marketing as a technology with tremendous potential moving forward, allowing marketers to engage with prospects and users within the context of their daily activities.
“This technology that can recover at least 20% of shopping cart abandonment and deliver 5x improvement in response rates over untimed mass-marketing and have a significant impact on revenue,” Gartner says. “Additionally, a recent multichannel marketing survey revealed that marketers would double their investment in event-triggered personalization over the next two years.”
Marketing technology is a maturing field, but that doesn’t necessarily mark an end to innovation. As marketers discover new ways to automate, personalize, and make use of data gained both from business-customer interactions and audience behavior as a whole, marketing technology will continue to become more sophisticated and targeted, providing powerful tools that give marketers more control over ROI than ever before.
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