Martech has long been seen as the principal avenue used by companies to optimize marketing strategies against changing consumer expectations and digital innovation.
Technological development is relentless however, and there are now also over 8,000 martech tools to choose from (Chief Martech).
Given this, it can be hard for marketers to know which software solutions to go for, make predictions about how the martech landscape will change, and how to best future proof their own stacks.
And, while marketers should always prioritize current business challenges, it’s still important to keep an eye on the key trends that are most likely to define the future of marketing.
This article separates the wheat of reliable future trends from the chaff of fads that will be disappear quickly, and runs through the key predictions for digital marketing in the years to come.
Migrate to the Cloud
The future is the undoubtedly the cloud, a term which refers to the provision of storage, computing power or software. It is accessible through the internet, rather than being located in-house, and is maintained by the service provider.
It brings a range of benefits for marketers – from operating costs and ease of use to data security and disaster recovery.
Indeed, the migration to cloud technology is already well underway, and 67% of all company infrastructure will be cloud-based in 2025 (IDC).
It’s up to marketers to decide how to best leverage the potential of the cloud to enable great customer experiences, but this is a key technology to implement as companies move forward.
Optimize Martech With Training
The modern world is saturated by advancing tech and the data that drives it, and martech is becoming both more necessary to success, and more complicated.
In this environment, marketers that don’t fully embrace technology risk providing a poor customer experience and falling behind the competition.
However, 72% of marketers believe that their colleagues are poorly trained in martech, meaning that martech is being underused (Clevertouch Marketing).
One option here is to hire an outside expert, but these are few and far between, and fees are high. As such, it is better to instead consider developing employees so that companies have an in-house expert or champion – both for individual martech and for stack integration.
Prioritize Data Privacy
Data has long been the lifeblood for digital marketers, increasing the sophistication of campaigns through user targeting and personalization.
However, there have long been concerns that industry regulations were too permissive and allowed companies to exploit personal data – putting internet users at risk.
The European Union introduced it’s GDPR law in 2018, and placed real limits on what companies could do with the personal data of EU citizens. Those that are found to not adequately protect this data now risk huge reputational damage, alongside fines of up to €20 million or 4% of global turnover for the previous financial year – whichever one is higher.
The arrival of this law marked a new dawn of stricter data privacy regulations; governments around the world have followed the EU’s lead, and modelled their own privacy laws on GDPR – today, 137 out of 194 countries have now put in place legislation to better protect data and privacy (UNCTAD).
What this means is that data privacy laws are here to stay, and will continue to be amended and improved. As such, it is vital that marketers collect, store, and utilize personal data in a way that respects these regulations.
This is complicated, time-consuming task. Martech exists for the moment that can help companies meet some of their responsibilities, but their usefulness will only increase in the future as tools become more sophisticated.
Hyper Personalize the Customer Experience
Given the prevalence of elements like chatbots, live chat and bespoke products, the customer experience is already higher personalized today.
However, personalization must continue to grow in the future to meet ever higher consumer expectations, with users now expecting companies to acknowledge their unique preferences and engage with them as individuals.
This is made possible by delivering tailored messages, offers and products to each person.
Crucially, companies that excel at personalization generate a faster rate of revenue growth than competitors (McKinsey & Company).
Adopt Virtual Reality
Companies looking to hyper-personalize the customer experience should also consider virtual reality.
Thanks to specialised headsets that fully immerse consumers in the virtual world, this technology bridges the divide between the real world and the virtual one, and is a great avenue for companies looking to market themselves in an eye-catching way.
And although virtual reality isn’t yet a conventional channel for marketers, the market is already worth $3.7 billion (Statista); many companies are already experimenting with it because of its capacity to provide companies with an engaging and personalized experience.
Integrate Web 3.0
Web 3.0 – otherwise known as the Internet of Things – is now upon us. This refers to the growing network of smart appliances and devices, and the data that enables marketers to personalize communication with users.
It is estimated that there will be 75 billion devices attached to the internet by 2025 (Statista), and this translates into a mind boggling amount of data that marketers can use to predict user behavior and improve the customer journey.
This is creating new marketing opportunities for businesses, with the data from these devices enabling companies to better predict trends and formulate strategies to boost revenue.
Leverage Your Available Data
If there is a theme running through these future martech trends, it is undoubtedly how technology will enable marketers to better capitalize the data they have available to them.
Given this, analytics tools will only become more important as time goes by, as will artificial intelligence and machine learning – two technologies that can be harnessed to quickly analyze big data and automatically integrate information into systems and processes.
If you’re looking for more information on how to future-proof your marketing strategy, we’ve created a free downloadable PDF.