What are the top tech trends that will impact marketing in 2018? To find out, I turned to experts in the industry--from CEOs to Chief Technology Officers to a Chief Video Officer and Chief Application Architect. What follows are prognostications regarding the tech trends that will matter most next year.
Voice Will Disrupt Marketing Campaigns. Gregg Johnson, CEO, Invoca
Marketers have made huge strides with respect to omnichannel attribution in recent years thanks to tools that provide visibility across channels and devices. But offline channels like voice will disrupt attribution models yet again as the popularity of home devices and smart speakers continue to surge. Brands should ready for that reality in 2018. The good news is that marketers can have the cross-channel campaign data they need—even as the distinctions between offline and online blur like never before.
Fast and Easy Global Payments Will Become Expected. Todd Latham, CMO, Currencycloud
Next year, we will finally see a massive shift to digital payments. This will be driven by instant ACH — the technology that allows the digital transfer of money from one bank account to another — and embedded card payments in e-commerce apps, such as Uber and Amazon. Businesses will be under pressure to facilitate payments from or to anywhere, at the click of a button.
Machine Learning Will Help Deliver Personalized Content at Scale. Peter Cassidy, Founder and Chief Product Officer, Stackla
Although personalization tools have been at marketers’ disposal for years, most struggle to produce enough content to support truly personalized experiences at scale. In 2018, marketers will use AI to discover and recommend content experiences for each customer at every touchpoint. By combining the efficiency and intelligence of machine learning with the constant stream of social content 60% of consumers say is most authentic and influential, marketers will be able to scalably create more relatable and personalized customer experiences.
AI Will Improve HR. Adam Rogers, CTO, Ultimate Software
Top businesses are harnessing AI to drive financial and operational strategy. I expect this trend to continue gaining steam in 2018 with people-focused business functions like human resources. By leveraging natural language processing and advanced machine learning algorithms, leaders can predict critical workforce behaviors, keep pulse on employee sentiment, and actively improve their leadership and culture with timely recommendations; all key factors with substantial impact on the bottom line.
Sales and Marketing Will Join Forces. Keith Richey, Sr. Director of Global Marketing Communications, LinkedIn Marketing and Sales Solutions, LinkedIn
We’ll see greater convergence between sales and marketing technologies, dramatically increasing alignment between these functions. Two factors drive this convergence. First, organizations see the value of a single view of the customer to enable collaborative strategies. Second, organizations are surfacing more signals about engagement with sales teams and marketing content to enable coordinated action. It’s therefore easier for sales and marketing organizations to better engage the right buyers, close more deals and build stronger relationships.
Data-Driven Marketing Decisions Will Reign. Carl Tsukahara, CMO, Optimizely
There will not be a single technology that will have the biggest impact on business in 2018, instead we’ll finally see a major shift to insight and evidence-based programs. The marketers who win will approach programs with a collaborative, data-driven view across the business, focused on utilizing facts and evidence to drive revenue and growth. This will have a powerful impact on the bottom line by driving personalization and digital experimentation, thereby ensuring outcomes by optimizing the customer experience.
Effective Marketing Will Come Down to Individual Moments. Brett Caine, CEO, Urban Airship
Marketing needs a mindshift: Customers are increasingly impatient and tone deaf to broad-based promotions that don’t speak to their interests or behaviours. One-to-one marketing will rapidly become one-to-moment marketing, where real-time data, automation and AI enable responding to and anticipating customer interactions to enhance their experience. The pressure is on brands to earn this level of customer intimacy as first-party data becomes critical due to increasing privacy/data regulations, adblocking and AI/machine learning advancements.
Voice Will Change the Meaning of Omnichannel Marketing. Amit Sharma, Founder & CEO, Narvar
This year, voice took off with brands and consumers alike. As voice becomes more integral in our lives, leading brands will make voice a key part of their marketing strategies, and figure out ways to personalize their customer communications across voice, mobile and stores. For example, a shopper could ask Google Home to recommend running shoes, get personalized recommendations via chatbot, then pick them up in-store.
CMOs and CSOs Will Partner for Better Security Communications. Alan Cohen, Chief Commercial Officer, Illumio
Chief Marketing Officers and the Chief Security Officers will partner in creating cyber breach response plans because the headline risk of incidents is enormous. In the words of advertising legend David Oglivy, ‘five times as many people read the headline as read the body.’ A modern response program no longer simply accounts for remediating the hack, but now entails quickly communicating to stakeholders without destroying brand equity -- requiring collaboration among communications and technical staffers alike.
Decision Makers Will Rely on Dev Ops. Renaud Deraison, Co-founder & CTO, Tenable
DevOps has evolved to enable companies to be more competitive, which means that Fortune 500 will now embrace DevOps not just for pet projects, but for projects that are core to their businesses. Elastic computing and containers, two integral components of DevOps, will see an acceleration in adoption in 2018. Unfortunately, this also means that the risk of a break-in has moved from “some employees get spied on” to “everything has been stolen.”
2018 Will Be the Year of Customer Data Infrastructure. Peter Reinhardt co-founder and CEO, Segment
Consumers now interact with businesses on an endless amount of channels and this creates a new problem. While businesses now have more data than ever before, they are restricted by their own technological capabilities to pipe all this data in one place and synthesize it. Turning around and activating those insights in an optimized, channel-agnostic manner is the holy grail of marketing.”
AI Will Grow, But Not in the Way You Think. Gil Elbaz, Founder & CEO, Factual
The potential of AI is widely recognized, but expectations of it are often misplaced. The goal of AI should not be to match human intellect, but to exceed it, and humans should not be the bar against which AI is measured. AI’s largest impacts over the next ten years are likely to be in domain-specific use cases that will require speedy algorithms that can process increasingly massive amounts of data. Nearly every industry and aspect of business will benefit from digital reinvention, and AI processes that people are not humanly capable of performing will power the shift.
Developer Services Will Become the Latest Cloud Wars Battleground. Jevon MacDonad, CEO, Manifold
The success of independent services like MongoDB, SendGrid and Twilio, has proven that the best developer services don’t always live on one of the Big Three’s cloud platforms. And with Kubernetes eliminating the complexity of creating multi-cloud applications, the industry will continue to shift towards cloud-agnostic solutions.
AI and Machine Learning Will Become Embedded in Everyday Business.Derek Choy, CIO, Rainforest QA
In 2018, decision-makers will push to make their business run more efficiently, and will turn to AI and machine learning. These technologies will move from the scientific/abstract concept phase to more practical applications that help scale and perform jobs without requiring additional headcount. Consequently, businesses will use AI and ML to push the limits of maximum efficiency and more work will be done using the technologies.
Machine Learning Will Go From ‘In Vogue’ to ‘In Production’. Ted Dunning, Chief Application Architect, MapR
Machine learning will become a normal part of business rather than an anomaly, as more enterprises start reaping its benefits and experiencing real business value from it. AI will continue to get a lot of buzz, but it will be a much broader set of machine learning approaches that deliver valuable insights across many enterprises in different sectors.
In Marketing, Connections Will Be More Important than Transactions. Jason Hsiao, Chief Video Officer, Animoto
Websites will become less relevant for brands in 2018, serving as little more than a home for transactions. As social platforms allow marketers to target and connect with customers directly, marketers will be able to win consumers over long before a website visit. Marketers that wait for consumers to find them will be left behind; those who excel will already be where the conversation is, taking their message to people that want to hear it.
In Marketing Teams, Creatives and Quants Will Come Together. Tal Kedar, CTO, Optimove
2018 will see marketing departments continue to undergo a fundamental organizational change, moving away from a channel-oriented structure towards bringing together in a single team creative folks with data-savvy "marketicians", focusing on distinct customer-journey stages. The latter have the skills for operating modern, sophisticated marketing automation platforms - while their colleagues focus on coming up with emotionally intelligent, effective communications. This new makeup of the marketing department makes recruiting in 2018 an even bigger challenge.