If the 1982 film Blade Runner and its dystopian depiction of what the world would appear like in 2019 have been correct, that is what we’d have been dwelling via final yr:
Needless to say, our predictions of society’s future state, and expertise’s long-term evolution, are usually not all the time on the cash. While sure elements of Blade Runner’s imaginative and prescient may’ve been frighteningly correct, Los Angeles just isn’t but inhabited by flying vehicles or big video commercials projected onto everything of skyscrapers.
With that mentioned, right now’s entrepreneurs can far more simply stay up for 2021 — all of a sudden just a few brief months away — and make educated guesses about what the yr will maintain. Many of the advertising applied sciences that can rework enterprise and drive methods are already on the rise, if not gaining mainstream traction.
Martech 2021: 5 Trends to for B2B Marketers to Watch
Businesses and advertising departments could be going through spending restrictions and finances cuts amidst the turmoil of 2020, however advertising expertise just isn’t an space that’s broadly being affected. On the opposite, in truth: The newest Pulse Survey from ClickZ discovered that advertising expertise finances shares rose from 32% to 42% between May and late July.
Where are organizations investing, and which applied sciences will rule the roost in the approaching yr? Here are 5 evidenced tendencies I’ll be following:
1 — Content experiences are on the forefront
In ClickZ’s analysis, that is the class that was main advertising expertise’s progress right here in 2020.
“People being indoors and looking for new ways to educate themselves about the current climate and consumer content can safely be considered as one of the reasons businesses are tirelessly looking to enhance their target audiences’ experience,” wrote Kamaljeet Kalsi.
This isn’t such a novel idea — TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden was amongst these preaching experiences as the way forward for content material advertising a few years in the past — however expertise is regularly bettering our capability to ship content material in methods which might be extra interactive, immersive, and impactful.
I believe again to final week’s weblog publish on storytelling, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s assertion that video video games provide probably the most promise on this entrance. Technology will proceed to convey extra capabilities to the desk in phrases of gamification, interactivity, and innovation.
Making content material shoppers really feel like individuals relatively than onlookers holds the important thing to heightened engagement.
2 — Facilitating a socially distant world
Will there be in-person occasions in 2021? It’s doable however doesn’t really feel very possible proper now — definitely not on the scale of annual conferences and summits we’ve come to like. As manufacturers maintain working to construct relationships with prospects and clients from a distance, expertise might want to do a lot of the heavy lifting.
We’ve already seen some nice new instruments and capabilities come up this yr in phrases of teleconferencing, live-streaming, and digital occasions. What else may emerge, with a litany of tech corporations now centering their focuses on what has all of a sudden turn out to be a ubiquitous want?
In a manner, this improvement helps to stage the enjoying area for smaller companies. While it will not be possible for a startup gross sales enablement store to prepare an enormous gathering like Dreamforce, bringing folks collectively via interactive digital occasions is a special story. In truth, this format can really make it simpler to comply with up, convert, and attribute outcomes concretely.
It’s not nearly expertise that helps have interaction clients from afar. It’s additionally about expertise that helps entrepreneurs collaborate and work collectively in distributed settings. And adopting these instruments will profit corporations and businesses long-term, as a result of the distant work pattern was already on the rise lengthy earlier than COVID struck.
In 2021, entrepreneurs will really equip themselves for the way forward for work. We’re already effectively on our manner; in line with a current survey, “companies reported that responding to the new circumstances of the pandemic accelerated their digital communications strategy by 6 years on average.”
“As brands keep working to build relationships with prospects and customers from a distance, technology will need to do much of the heavy lifting.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN Click To Tweet
three — Data privateness and cybersecurity acquire urgency
Data exploitation grew to become an enormous story after the 2016 election, and I remorse to tell you it’s prone to bubble up once more this fall. Even outdoors of that, cybersecurity has been a rising concern for a few years and turns into all of the extra pertinent as buyer information is more and more decentralized and cloud-based.
While these issues have typically fallen beneath the purview of IT in the previous, advertising must have a seat on the desk and a voice in the dialogue. Sending a convincing message that it’s protected to do enterprise together with your model — delicate information received’t be shared, misplaced, stolen, or misused — and backing it up is crucial to constructing belief in the brand new world of enterprise.
four — Simplicity and synchronicity are important
In its newest advertising expertise panorama visualization, Chief Martech charted some eight,000 completely different options in the wild. Eight thousand!
The great thing about this huge panorama is that advertising applied sciences now exist to deal with virtually any want possible. The draw back, in fact, is that the sheer quantity and vary of choices can really feel utterly overwhelming. The stability between not sufficient martech and an excessive amount of martech is a fragile one.
In the close to future, streamlining can be the secret. How are you able to carve down your tech stack to the true necessities? Which options can cowl a number of wants on your crew? How are you able to solicit a steady suggestions loop so customers are capable of overtly talk when a instrument isn’t working for them, and motion is taken quickly?
Finding the solutions to those questions will assist advertising organizations discover better effectivity and effectiveness with martech in 2021.
“The balance between not enough martech and too much martech is a delicate one.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN Click To Tweet
5 — Artificial intelligence retains rising and embedding
The buzz round advertising expertise appears to differ from month to month, with a brand new class or area of interest getting into after which exiting the highlight. One that by no means appears to lose its luster, nevertheless, is AI. This is as a result of the expertise is highly effective and endlessly relevant.
We already see AI being broadly leveraged in fashionable advertising methods — chatbots, predictive analytics, deep studying, and so forth. — however the potential stays a lot better, and I consider we’ll proceed to see it realized in the approaching yr. One threadline I’ll be maintaining a detailed eye on is formative AI, cited as a pattern driving Gartner’s hype cycle of rising applied sciences in 2020.
“Formative AI is a type of AI capable of dynamically changing to respond to a situation,” in line with Gartner. “There are a variety of types, ranging from AI that can dynamically adapt over time to technologies that can generate novel models to solve specific problems.”
How might formative AI come into play for advertising in order to drive extra customized and memorable B2B advertising experiences? Go forward and dream on it. That’s what separates us from the machines, in any case. (Or not less than one of many variations contemplated by Blade Runner and its supply materials.)
Marketing Technology Will Always Have Its Place
This chaotic yr of 2020 has served to bolster the immense worth of expertise in my day-to-day. Without having easy accessibility to talk apps, video-conferencing platforms, shared paperwork, and different digital instruments, a day in the lifetime of a content material marketer throughout the pandemic could be far more difficult and inefficient. Instead, I’m mainly capable of do my job seamlessly with out a lot disruption, aside from the dearth of seeing my coworkers’ faces IRL.
I do miss that very a lot, and for all of the discuss applied sciences to observe in 2021, I’m most eager for a return to semi-normal human interplay and bodily proximity. Up till then, and after, martech will assist us proceed to maintain audiences (and ourselves) educated, entertained, engaged and linked via the digital area.
I don’t find out about flying vehicles or skyscraper billboards, however I can say with confidence that the way forward for advertising and its applied sciences goes to look much more like 2020 than any years previous.
For extra perception into what the subsequent yr might maintain, click on over to our publish from Lane Ellis on eight Things B2B Marketers Need To Know About Reddit in 2021.