Sometimes the word disruption has a negative connotation. I don't believe digital marketing today is being disrupted by any modern technology, I believe it's being enhanced by it.
Marketers who adapt and adopt newer technologies are able to personalize, engage, and connect with their prospects and customers in much more meaningful ways. The batch and blast days are shifting behind us as systems become better at targeting and predicting the behavior of consumers and businesses.
The question, of course, is whether it will happen in time. Digital is such a cost-effective channel that poor practices are abusing consumer privacy and slamming ads in front of them whether they may be in a decision cycle or not. Let's hope that regulatory conditions don't overreact and companies can work to minimize the abuse on their own. I'm not that optimistic that it will happen, though.
According to the World Economic Forum, the four key drivers of these changes are mobile reach expansion, cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Internet-of-Things (IoT). However, newer tech like Big Data and Virtual Reality (VR) are predicted to change the landscape even more.
These new technologies are primarily expected to bring more connectivity to the world through multiple touchpoints, which means that internet giants won’t have as much control over consumer data anymore. More importantly, it will help marketers create more holistic and targeted campaigns in the future.
Spiralytics put together this outstanding infographic, New Technology Disrupting Digital Marketing, that details 10 of the technologies that are accelerating our efforts, and changing the landscape of digital marketing.
- Big Data – Cloud technology has opened up doors to both big and small businesses to gather massive amounts of customer data, in part giving way to big data. Today’s corporations know more about customers than ever before, helping them to create accurately targeted and personalized ads.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) – cognitive and reasoning applied to computer and algorithmic processes hold the promise of making faster, more accurate marketing decisions and predictions. This will unleash our industry's creativity.
- Machine Learning – intelligent audience segmentation and analytics can execute and test millions of data points to assist marketers in adapting and optimizing their campaigns in real-time.
- Bots – Chatbots are a relatively inexpensive and flexible way for brands to improve customer service as they can quickly give data-related answers and take requests. It can easily be integrated into a website, app, or social media platform, and can gather information to use in marketing strategies.
- Voice Search – voice software is now being utilized more than ever to search, comprising almost 1/3 of the 3.5 billion Google searches performed daily. This change will likely upend paid and organic search strategy practices in the future.
- Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality – AR and VR offer a visceral try-before-you-buy customer experience, allowing them to explore a product, engage with the brand, and buy at the same time—even making them go through a range of senses and emotions.
- Internet-of-Things (IoT) and Wearables – The increase in the number of connected devices will result in a web of linked objects that marketers can harness to learn consumer information, including their likes and dislikes.
- Blockchain – Marketers can use blockchain to track and keep audiences engaged in advertisements.
- Beacons – led the market in proximity marketing technology, accounting for 65% and beating out WiFi and NFC. Around 14.5 million beacons have been in use as of 2017 and may hit the expected 400 million units by 2020.
- 5G – 5G’s increased spectrum chunks, bigger carrier aggregation, and beam-forming and tracking capabilities can significantly improve throughput and efficiency, and provide up to 100 times faster connectivity than 4G with latency by a factor of five.