Which emerging tech will transform marketing this year?

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Jan 14, 2021
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MarketingCharts staff

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of articles from MarketingCharts, which provides up-to-the-minute data and research to marketers.

Real-time marketing, analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) are just some of the technologies that marketers think will have an impact on marketing strategy in 2021, according to a recent survey.

The 270 marketers surveyed from Ascend2 in November 2020 were asked which emerging technologies they thought would have the greatest influence on overall marketing strategy in the year ahead. For the largest portion (43 percent), real-time marketing is set to have the greatest impact.

For 36 percent of respondents, analytics are thought to impact overall marketing strategy over the next year. Indeed, recent research from Google and Forrester Consulting found marketing decision-makers to be more than convinced of the benefits of digital analytics, which the report noted included improved customer experience and improved campaign outcomes.

Next on the list for respondents was AI. Although some have labeled AI as “overhyped,” a survey this past year by Advertiser Perceptions found that 32 percent of marketers and agency professionals were using AI to create ads, including digital banners, social media posts and digital out-of-home ads.

It was also Advertiser Perceptions that recently published research on the popularity of customer data platforms (CDPs), a technology that 34 percent of Ascend2’s respondents thought would have an impact on marketing strategy. Users of CDPs have seen improvements in online sales, return on investment and engagement.

In Ascend2’s survey, data consolidation (30 percent), programmatic (22 percent), multi-touch attribution (20 percent), voice search (16 percent) and blockchain (12 percent) were also technologies that some respondents thought will have an impact on marketing strategy in the year ahead.

Other findings from the survey:

  • Ease of use, cited by 55 percent, was the most important consideration marketers take into account when evaluating new tools, followed by associated costs, 37 percent; ability to customize, 36 percent; insights and analysis, 35 percent; and ability to automate, 35 percent.
  • Budget constraints, cited by 45 percent, was the top obstacle when seeking out new technologies, followed by executing a strategy, 43 percent; determining appropriate technologies, 38 percent; and training staff, 35 percent.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Which emerging technology do you think will have the most impact on overall marketing strategy in the year ahead? Which of the technologies cited in the survey appear to be over-estimated versus under-estimated? Are any missing?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Mobile technology in stores is already unlocking real-time marketing, smart analytics, AI capabilities, mobile payment, touch-free checkout, location navigation, and more."
"For the best business outcome, it's important for analytics teams to go under the covers of AI so that they are able to understand and explain “why” outcomes are changing."
"Analytics should have led this list."

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13 Comments on "Which emerging tech will transform marketing this year?"


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David Naumann
BrainTrust

The list of emerging technology that will have the most impact on overall marketing strategy in the year ahead seem spot on. If the question were more aspirational or projecting more into the future (five years), I think artificial intelligence (AI) will be the most impactful. The challenge with AI is that many teams have not mastered the implementation and execution of this technology and many companies have not given it a chance yet. AI has a promising future, but many companies are not ready for it today.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

Artificial intelligence by a nose. One can overanalyze things to the point of missing out on the obvious so, analytics is my second choice at best. Refining responses to the consumers, as made possible by AI, will win the day.

Di Di Chan
BrainTrust

Currently, the most significant technological impact on marketing strategies is personalized marketing capabilities. Using shopping data and other relevant inputs to make real-time personalized recommendations gave e-commerce a substantial competitive advantage. For example, Amazon’s recommendations engine has boosted sales by up to 35 percent. Halla’s food recommendation engine uses AI to offers similar capabilities for other retailers.

The technology platform that will unlock the next level of marketing capabilities is scan and go mobile checkout. Like e-commerce is used as a platform for online personalized marketing, mobile checkout is the platform that enables personalize marketing offline. Mobile technology in stores is already unlocking real-time marketing, smart analytics, AI capabilities, mobile payment, touch-free checkout, location navigation, and more.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

The only thing that is stopping AI is people having difficulty figuring out how to use it. How powerful can it be today? Not next year, not in five years but, absolutely, today? Take a ride in an autonomous Tesla. I did. JAW DROPPING!

Harley Feldman
BrainTrust

Marketing should use tools that provide insight into how their customers will react to their marketing efforts. Real-time marketing directing strategies to individual consumers is the most effective. The challenge is in collecting and analyzing the data used to create real-time marketing analytics. AI is over hyped but, in time, the technology will provide increased value in analyzing trends.

Laura Davis-Taylor
BrainTrust
Interesting survey results, as real-time marketing can’t happen without analytics and AI happening together! So, for those who feel AI is “overhyped” yet rate real-time marketing at the top of the list, one would wonder if they are thinking the question through. *I’m clearly an AI fan! Another observation is tied to budget constraints. Yes they are a top obstacle, but the open terrain is pooling marketing budget with operations and store services. Real-time marketing fueled by analytics and AI also supports their goals of optimizing processes for cost-savings and efficiencies. Finally, I agree with David that AI has not been given a proper chance yet, but I think part of that is on the shoulders of the solution providers. My top 2021 “aha” is that we’ve given retailers some really exciting tech tools but we’ve expected THEM to enable them and work through the complexities — versus handing them technologies that are already enabled and simple to use — likely what’s behind that 55 percent ease of use stat. The promise of AI is… Read more »
Brian Ross
Guest
6 days 19 hours ago
Personalization at scale. In the face of a prolonged pandemic and increasing uncertainty, consumers have changed virtually every aspect of their lives, including how they eat and how they shop, which has and will have profound impacts on needs. The retailers that best understand changing consumer needs and those that can best deliver on those needs will be the retailers that win. To do this successfully, retailers need to truly personalize their offering to each individual customer. Delivering on the promise of mass personalization is challenging and has been elusive to most retailers because it requires fundamental new capabilities and a new approach. Specifically, mass personalization requires leading AI-powered analytics to understand individual customer changing needs and preferences including which categories, which items, which brands, their channel preference across store, online and delivery or pick-up; what information they need and their meal preferences. Once you have robust customer insights, Personalization at scale requires the ability to execute in an omnichannel way to best reach the customer, to personalize content to the needs of customers and… Read more »
Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

First of all, I think the sample base here is a.) a bit thin and b.) suffers a bit from the “echo chamber effect,” i.e., people may be talking about what they hear other people talking about. For example, I’d love to talk to the 32 folks who think blockchain is going to make the largest impact on marketing strategy in 2021. I think the right answer is more likely going to be found in more natural interface technologies and improved software/algorithm development. It isn’t that we need more technologies this year, we need our existing technologies to perform better.

russochristine
Guest
6 days 19 hours ago

For MarTech, advertising, shop-within-video will emerge as a leading marketing strategy. This is not a “new” technology but has evolved to be more user friendly. Use of video, vs. static images, is the new norm. Also, shop-within-video allows shoppability for content creators like Netflix, Hulu, ESPN and Disney. It’s nascent and going to get huge. Two leaders are clinch.co and smartzer.com.

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

I expect 2021 to be a technologically bland year. Once again, we will be shown shiny baubles (like drone delivery) but the real improvement only comes through hard work and dedication.

Where is the best opportunity? Turning your stores into places consumers WANT to shop. And retailers will have an opportunity coming out of the pandemic to have refreshed their stores and made them places people want to be — not just because they are bored at home.

Notice, though, that technology is subservient to delivering value to the customer. And nothing in the list above excites me as playing a major role in building value for the shopper.

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

Analytics should have led this list. We continue to pay for marketing without a clear understanding of the customers (and potential customers) receiving it. Better analytics would also enable better targeting. This is going to be important going forward.

Kim DeCarlis
BrainTrust

Marketers are constantly looking for insight in the buying habits of the people they strive to serve. Any technology that helps us in this regard will be widely impactful. Real time marketing has tremendous potential, as long as it is not used in a way that feels eerie or “big brothery” to the consumer. And it’s no surprise that Analytics and AI are high on the list — in some ways they are two sides of the same coin.

For the best business outcome, it will be important for analytics teams to go under the covers of AI so that they are able to understand and explain “why” outcomes are changing. This will empower marketers to not just report the data, but to use it to optimize their strategies.

James Tenser
BrainTrust

I view Customer Data Platforms as the dark horse in this race. It’s a relatively new idea to house comprehensive customer information in raw form so it can be accessed by BI dashboards, analytics engines and AI/cognitive platforms.

Analytics are crucial, yes, but “analyze what?” is foundational.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Mobile technology in stores is already unlocking real-time marketing, smart analytics, AI capabilities, mobile payment, touch-free checkout, location navigation, and more."
"For the best business outcome, it's important for analytics teams to go under the covers of AI so that they are able to understand and explain “why” outcomes are changing."
"Analytics should have led this list."

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