Customers’ expectations from the services they use never really go down, and as time goes by, it only gets tougher for brands to follow them. At the start of the 21st century social media and a whole range of new Internet technologies helped usher in a revolution in marketing by introducing fundamentally new ways of targeting your audience. What’s in store for the marketing industry and how will it develop in the coming ten years?
Artificial intelligence, big data and the Internet of things have already sparked a revolution in marketing, but the capabilities of even these new technologies are already too thin, leading experts to believe the potential to support another revolution is simply not there. What will marketing look like in 10 years? What does the future hold: another technological breakthrough or a more robust and efficient integration of the existing tools?
Big data is something we already get to reap the benefits from, it’s not some future tech. The collection and assessment of customer purchase history, viewed and liked products, shopping cart history allow marketers to make more customized offers. According to Amazon, their recommendation system generates over 35% of sales for e-commerce leaders, and their analytical tool set has become an integral part of every marketer’s arsenal.
However, if we’re talking about the benefits of big data, it’s also important to point out the difficulties of working with it. Not only the data itself must be high quality, but the staff handling its integration and in-depth analysis must be highly professional.
The revolutionary effect of this technology has mostly run its course already. Yes, the computing power and the storage capacities will continue to improve, but this is extensive growth, not intensive, explosive breakthrough.
At the time of its advent, the AI and its capabilities were a real breakthrough for the human race. Over the past 4 years the presence of AI in our life has increased by 270% (according to Leftronic research). Thanks to AI there are more options for automation and data processing that help in making more informed decisions.
With that said, the technology is constantly evolving and is still capable of producing a pleasant surprise or two. It’s entirely possible that in the future AI will spur another revolution by controlling the time, frequency and medium of personalized adverts. However, a breakthrough like this would require a large and very “clean” data set containing all the variables for purchasing decisions in different situations, albeit this is a question of “when” rather than “if”.
The level of development of AI today can be compared to that of a five-year-old, but it’s growing very rapidly. AI technology is what Internet giants are betting on. In particular, Amazon is putting a lot of effort into making Alexa integral to the daily lives of regular people and entrepreneurs. The heads of Amazon believe that the future of marketing belongs to AI and other developments surrounding it. The way they see it, our children will take cooperating with intelligent machines for granted.
It’s only logical to talk about chatbots when it comes to artificial intelligence, but if AI still has a lot of room to grow, by the looks of things chatbots have already reached their pinnacle. Yes, they have become very convenient virtual assistants, but people still prefer to speak with real people, and one of the reasons is that chat bots haven’t received an adequate speech recognition mechanism so far. It’s no surprise the marketing industry hasn’t seen a single successful case where chatbots completely replaced humans, and it’s unlikely to ever see it in the future.
Internet of Things
IoT is, primarily, sensors. It’s a new world, where every electrical appliance can be enabled to talk to its peers. Such systems have a number of technical difficulties on the path to implementation, but a revolution is very much possible. However, it will most likely surround the user experience rather than the marketing side of things. On that note, the Internet of things will likely become just another system that has to be integrated into the marketing process along with chat bots, voice assistants and big data tools.
One of the marketing trends of 2019 is hyperlocal targeting – advertising to an audience of a specific building, apartment block or event. The Hot WiFi technology allows marketers to put together such an audience and use the knowledge to their advantage. The device reads other device IDs that have connected to the WiFi hotspot and saves this data for later use in targeted advertising.
Technological integration drives revolutions
It wouldn’t be very appropriate to just talk about each technology, their prospects and potential. A lot of experts believe that if revolutionary change is to come any time soon, they will be prompted by integrating several technologies at once.
The core of the issue is that businesses use dozens of marketing tools in their day-to-day operations, and the number of professional software solutions for it is rising at an exponential rate. This is what hinders the progress of new technology.
However, persistent effort has been deployed in this direction, new cloud solutions, web applications, integrated software and devices are being introduced on the market. Everything seems to suggest that in 2020-2030 the industry will enter the market consolidation phase, with new leaders arising in large corporate software segments. Google can be among these leaders as it continues to expand its marketing platform capabilities that the company seems to be putting hopes on. There are grounds to assume that: the more tools are integrated into one convenient window, the higher the overall efficiency is.
This is where the potential for a new marketing revolution lies for the next decade: such integration will result in a significant boost to marketers’ productivity. The very nature of their work may shift from outsourcing IT and design tasks and instead move towards a more independent approach to launching ad campaigns and analysing data hypotheses. As such software solutions mature and spread, marketers will have to learn new ways of working that may resemble programming – with a creative twist. This will make marketing more measurable, and turn it into a profit center rather than cost.