What will be the marketing trends for the year 2017?
Questioned by a journalist about the emerging trends spotted by ACTITO on the marketing automation landscape, we decided to continue with our annual tradition of getting out our crystal ball to predict the future. This is not an exact science and while the trends may be clear, there is no guarantee that they will turn into practical applications for all marketers in 2017. However, it is useful to have them in mind when launching a marketing automation project.
1° Chatbots and the return of “dialogue marketing”
Popularized by Facebook Messenger and Slack, chatbots are a typical example of how an old technology can be recycled. They were born with the first messaging services and minitel. New chatbots incorporate more advanced language processing technologies (Natural Language Processing (NLP)), which makes them "smarter" and able to hold a conversation that actually makes sense. Particularly suited to an environment where wearables (connected watches, glasses, etc.) have become commonplace and where the main interaction mode is no longer the screen, even tactile, chatbots offer a host of new possibilities to marketers.
Previously used for after-sales services to effectively manage incoming enquiries, chatbots have evolved into a universal search interface. For many consumers, SIRI and ALEXA (Apple and Amazon respectively) are the first places to look for products or information. As soon as these chatbots start applying the consumer’s purchasing history, the marketing possibilities will be exciting to say the least...
It is no coincidence that the chatbots feature first in our “predictionary": there is no doubt that everyone will be talking about it in 2017, but we will probably not see any powerful applications for a few years yet.
On the other hand, they are paving the way (or repaving the way) for a new way of interacting with consumers based on a dialogue rather than a monologue. Today's marketing automation is often a new spin on yesteryear’s "push" marketing. Marketers must allow consumers to interact much more with their marketing programs. Today’s technologies enable that, which is why this invitation to dialogue must lie in the underlying message.
2° “Deep personalization”
Often, personalization is only used as a selling point for marketing technologies within certain channels and suffers from the lack of flexibility of the tools available to marketers. While email, for example, has taken advantage of the possibilities offered by the headway made by personalization (product recommendation in particular), certain channels, such as the web, remain lagging behind. The result is a rather mixed experience for consumers who are confronted with varying degrees of personalization throughout their digital journey. For a truly "customer centric" company to appear, personalization technologies must trickle down through all channels. A consumer must be given coherent messages at every point through their digital journey.
It is of fundamental importance to have a tool centralizing both the content and the data that can orchestrate the personalization through the different channels (web, email, mobile, etc.).
This is why ACTITO is continually modifying its data management and personalization engine to make life easier for marketers.
3° Machine learning and AI
Leading on from the above, artificial intelligence is set to become of paramount importance for marketers. The biggest players in the technological world have started offering cutting-edge recommendation tools accessible through web services for example. Here again, the aim is to offer a more personalized experience to consumers, but based on algorithms capable of detecting and predicting consumer behaviour.
The most common example is product recommendation in e-commerce. Existing systems adopt a rather mechanistic approach based on the analysis of the behaviour of consumers who are considered to be similar to a particular consumer. Systems based on machine learning are constantly adapting to make more accurate predictions.
ACTITO has teamed up with several market players to offer personalization solutions integrating the latest advances in machine learning. New features will appear in 2017.
4° API New Year
Replacing heavy data synchronisation, APIs (Application Programming Interface) are becoming the main channel for data integration in the marketing sphere. All the elements of the marketing stack will communicate through them, in real time.
For a number of years now, ACTITO has been offering well-documented connectors to marketers wanting to interface the solution with their e-commerce platform, CMS, etc. In 2017, this library of connectors will continue to expand and give access through API to all of its rich data model.
Moreover, integration platforms such as Zapier or IFTTT are booming. They make it possible to select the most appropriate tools and to integrate them without technical intervention. Attention does need to be paid however to the impacts in terms of security and protection of personal data. Transferring data between two European tools, via such a platform, generally American, has legal impacts that should not be underestimated.
5° The big return of the agencies
Marketing automation remains a rather complex discipline and few marketing agencies have ventured into it. Worse, many agencies have not succeeded. Many technology providers have lured them, with little to show for it, often nothing more than unnecessary certifications bought at premium prices.
A new generation of marketing solutions has dramatically lowered the access threshold to the world of marketing automation, making the technology only a secondary consideration. This allows the agencies to roll out their wealth of creative and storytelling talents.
ACTITO has clearly embarked on this path by offering agencies the right mix of technology and support, enabling them to offer their customers powerful and innovative concepts.
6° 2017: the year when marketers really begin worrying about privacy
In a state of blissful recklessness, especially since the advent of the social networks and third party DMP that have largely contributed to tarnishing the image of personal data protection, in 2017 marketers may have a rude awakening. Why worry about personal data in fact when consumers share them shamelessly on Facebook and it is so easy to buy third party data to feed DMP. What is the point of complying with the CNIL recommendations when none of the American players cares about data security?
The entry into force of the European Regulation in 2018 is a game changer. For the first time, there will be a harmonised legislation at European level that strengthens consumer rights. And for the first time, the provisions of this Regulation will go hand in hand with intimidating sanctions. In other words, it will no longer be possible to ignore them.
7° The revenge of the CTO
For years several analysts have claimed that the CMO has more power within organizations than the CTO, especially in terms of budget. However, they failed to take into account the growing complexity of marketing automation. As we have seen above, the issue essentially relates to data; their availability, standardisation, understanding and protection … all areas in which marketers tend to be poorly equipped in terms of their education and empathies.
The era of BYOMT (Bring Your Own Marketing Technology) will soon be behind us. CTOs will once again play a central role in the choice of marketing technologies. However, they will have to adapt and take on board the reality of the technological landscape and the company by giving priority to agile cloud solutions.