Blending marketing and technology has never been as widespread and vital as it is today. Marketers failing to explore and experiment with all things digital will quickly find themselves behind the growth eight ball. With the first quarter of the year behind us, we took a look at some of the popular Martech trends to watch.
Keep up with AI
There are several Martech product areas to watch in 2019, but few will compare to AI-powered marketing personalization platforms.
Erik Mason, a communications expert at IBM Watson Customer Engagement, said that the major challenge for marketers is aggregating the treasure trove of customer data across the Martech stack and gaining actionable insights by recognizing patterns and preferences. AI-powered marketing personalization platforms will help guide marketers to improve campaign performance in real-time.
“The proliferation of data and compartmentalized marketing stacks has squarely put AI and machine learning-based marketing tools at the center of deep personalization,” Mason said. “This will change how marketers make decisions and deploy campaigns as AI analyzes and delivers personalized content with massive scale.”
Rise of Video
Vidyard VP of Marketing Tyler Lessard believes that in 2019, more businesses will embrace episodic video series content. The smartest ones, according to Lessard, will plan ahead to ensure that audio tracks from long-form video series content can be easily turned into podcasts.
“Interactive videos have become fairly common, but not in the flashy ‘shoppable video’ kind of way,” he said. “We’ve had annotations, cards, and end screens in YouTube players for years; many brands are now taking things one step further by using engaging calls-to-action (CTAs) to drive immediate conversions from videos on their own websites and within their social feeds.”
Additionally, Lessard said, as video becomes more prevalent as a tool for lead generation and deal acceleration, more marketers will add interactive CTAs to their video content to drive immediate action. Meanwhile, bleeding edge marketers will continue to experiment with videos designed to offer a more interactive experience using overlaid annotations and “choose-your-own-path” capabilities.
Products Making Noise
Products that stood out in G2 Crowd’s latest Momentum Grid included Exponea and Drip – two marketing automation platforms geared towards eCommerce marketing automation, explained Alan Santillan, a marketing specialist with G2 Crowd.
“Ease of administration and implementation are some of our heavier weighted factors in the G2 Crowd ranking algorithm, and marketing software that offers easier administration and independence from IT really does provide an advantage when moving into 2019.”
Voice vs. Vision
By 2020, more than 24 billion internet-connected devices will be installed globally, creating billions of new opportunities for marketers to connect with potential customers.
As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to develop and integrate into everyday life, Samantha Bonanno, marketing analyst for Capterra, believes we’ll see an upswing in virtual or conversational agents (like Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri) mediating commercial interactions between people and businesses.
In fact, Gartner research reveals that one in five online consumers in the U.S., U.K. and Germany already use these conversational agents and that among these users, more than one-third engage with a virtual assistant at least once per day.
“This new mode of transaction poses new challenges and opportunities to marketers from businesses of all sizes who are trying to capture and convert consumer attention,” she said. “The way consumers communicate with a voice assistant is fundamentally different than how they text search. This will lead to changes in SEO, as voice search tends to be longer and more conversational.”
Given this, marketing teams should consider how customers talk about their goods and services, adjusting their SEO tactics accordingly.
Shopkick’s CEO, Adam Sand, expects computer vision to dominate voice as the ultimate search tool in 2019.
“The advancements in visual search and increasingly intelligent smartphone camera technology will enable shoppers to access product-level details and comparison shop while in the aisle,” he said. “Item-level purchase data will be the Holy Grail: this specific product information will reshape the way companies structure their loyalty programs.”
Meanwhile, Tara Kelly, CEO of Saas platform SPLICE, argues in favor of Martech products that utilize Human Voice on Demand (HVoD).
“Brands can increase customer retention by 30% if they use a real voice, and I expect HVoD will be a top marketing trend in 2019,” she said. “HVoD allows businesses to create, manage, optimize and store voice audio that is contextually aware and emotionally relevant to the conversation in a voice specific to their brand.”
As one example of HVoD in action, consider a Progressive customer asking Alexa when her bill is due. Using Flo’s voice to respond on the Amazon Echo, Progressive responds with “On January 21st.”
“Imagine the customer relations and sales improvements businesses can make by having their own brand talking directly with their customers – leaving them feeling comfortable and in good hands,” Kelly said. “Those embracing HVoD will have a leg up on the competition; those without may just get left behind in 2019.”