Marketing technology or MarTech is a key part of any business's marketing today. This is thanks to the massive developments in AI and machine learning. AI-based marketing tools are more affordable than ever before and can support every important marketing activity.
Advertising has also benefited from AI advancements and Ad tech is already used to automate advertising bidding and personalize ad displays.
MarTech and ad-tech tools and platforms enable better personalization, detailed analytics, and accurate reporting. It’s helpful for marketers to stay in touch with the latest trends in the tech space related to marketing.
So, what can we look forward to in 2020 and beyond? We're already heading towards the fourth quarter of the year and are still feeling the impact of the current pandemic. The following sections will shed light on major trends that will alter how we do marketing in the future. Let's dive in and explore the top changes and technological drivers that will impact how we win customers.
The convergence of MarTech and ad tech
There are more than 8,000 MarTech solutions in existence this year and the number is only growing. This availability of a number of tools and solutions gives marketers plenty of options to choose from. But this creates problems too.
Marketers need to work with different platforms that offer unique solutions. Having to work with so many solutions means:
There's no comprehensive analytics and reporting. Each platform will present data differently, which makes it hard to compare information
It's expensive to use multiple platforms.
Multiple platforms lead to data silos within teams as one department depends on certain solutions and other departments work with different tools.
According to a study by Sizmek, 28% of marketers think that it's critical to reduce the number of vendors they use. Another 36% find it urgent to use fewer tools for their marketing activities.
What are the types of marketing tools being used? Here’s a brief list of the types of tools marketers need. These are broad categories with a short description of their subcategories. The reality is that there are thousands of solutions all together making up the MarTech ecosystem.
Advertising and promotional platforms, under which come solutions for PR, video ads, print ads, search advertising and more
Data platforms. This includes CDP (customer data platforms) and DMP (data management platforms), privacy and legal compliance tools, and data visualization and dashboards
Social media tools that consist of influencer marketing platforms, review sites, social media management tools, chat tools, conversational marketing and others
Sales and e-commerce. Here, marketers use affiliate marketing tools, e-commerce platforms, sales automation and more
Content marketing and management tools. These include video creation tools, interactive content platforms, design applications and much more
It's evident that marketers need fewer tools that do more. Fortunately, technology is converging to bring together advertising and marketing technology. This convergence is being referred to as MarTech. We're currently seeing more and more startups and businesses come up with solutions that bring different solutions together.
As this develops in the future, you'll be able to get streamlined reporting and analytics. And you will be able to manage multiple activities from a single dashboard.
Contextual intelligence in marketing
It's been clear, ever since the implementation of the GDPR act, that businesses cannot rely on user-behavioral data and third-party information to personalize their marketing campaigns.
This is a major issue because personalization drives engagement and conversions. A business that can't personalize is one that won't win customers.
However, the need to find alternate solutions is paramount. Google has announced that it will depreciate third-party cookies, and Apple's new Safari update already blocks third-party data collectors.
All these are signs that the previous and current way of depending on user data and behaviors to drive marketing is coming to an end. So, what's the answer?
Contextual intelligence is poised to replace advertising based on user data. Instead of tracking users, a business can display ads based on the content of a page. This can kind of sophisticated technology is based on artificial intelligence and natural language processing, which can scan and understand the context of a webpage.
You'll be able to post relevant ads based on the content rather than a user's information. This protects your audience's privacy and keeps your business in good standing with authorities. There are businesses that have already built contextually intelligent advertising tools. For example, Oracle bought Grapeshot and Moat to make contextual advertising a part of its portfolio. We're moving toward greater data privacy, and you can stay on top of this by watching for new tools and platforms.
We've mentioned how using third-party data is already on its way out. Third-party data refers to data collected by a business that's not related to you. Other platforms gather information on user behavior from a number of sources and consolidate it, making it available for businesses to display ads more effectively.
Second-party data is the first-party data you get from other businesses. And first-party data is the information you directly collect about your audience using analytics, feedback, CRM and more.
It's clear that relying on any data that you've not collected yourself is going to be a poor choice in the future. You need to get explicit consent from users before collecting and using their data. And this is often done by creating cookie notifications and adding a check box to forms asking users to agree to share information.
Today, we're looking at zero-party data collection. This is a lot like first-party data except the user is more involved. They clearly, explicitly and deliberately give you information about themselves with the expectation that they will get a benefit in return.
These benefits come in the form of personalized content and a better user experience. Zero-party data is different because it's self-reported (by users), fluid (it can change over time), and there's a conscious intent to get a benefit out of the information shared.
In the creation of zero-party data, you're having a conversation with your audience and building a relationship with them. You can use surveys, questionnaires, and feedback forms to ask your users what they want to see.
If you have a membership site, you can ask new members for their topic preferences when they sign up. You can also gamify the experience of collecting zero-party data by creating a giveaway contest.
The idea is to understand your audience and provide them with content and benefits that matter to them. This is the most powerful way to meaningfully engage your audience and see business growth.
There you have it. We’ve just looked at some interesting MarTech trends for 2020 and beyond. As expected, these trends rely on AI and its related technologies. In a survey, 29% of marketers said that consumer personalization is the next big thing, followed by 26% voting for AI and 21.23% for voice search.
Even as AI helps us get more data and information about our audience to serve them better, we need to exercise caution. Internet and data protection regulators have given businesses substantial time to change how they collect and use data.
From 2019, we've seen strict reinforcement of the GDPR act and can expect similar regulations to follow. In this article, we've looked at top MarTech trends that will help you improve your relationship with your audience while being compliant with the data protection laws.
Keep yourself updated with the latest trends, and you're sure to save money, help more customers, and grow into a more profitable business.