In less than three years, advances in marketing technology will move beyond human intervention to streamlining and scaling activities that currently require manual interactions with audiences. Intelligent technologies will do more than automate repetitive operations — they will investigate, evaluate and make decisions on behalf of both marketers and customers. These tools will provide machine-written verbal treatments for personalized messaging at very high volumes, and billions of dollars of online shopping will be performed exclusively by mobile digital assistants.
1. Content is automated and in tune with audiences in real time
Automated content development technologies will enable content creation based on the reader’s location, higher-velocity authoring, and improved quality, consistency and format of business content through automated editors. Tools exist to proactively assemble and deliver information through automated composition engines. Already, 70% of brand marketers use automated decision engines to determine part of the content on their websites and in emails.
Recommendation: Shift creative teams and agencies toward more modular and template-driven creative that can be manipulated by machines as creative “elements.”
2. Digital assistants deliver exceptional, differentiated customer experiences
Top technology for customer digital assistants will include facial recognition and voice identification, emotion detection, natural-language processing and audience profile data. Assistants will be trainable and capable of learning from each customer interaction.
Promising mobile digital assistant technologies will start anticipating and delivering stages of the customer’s buying process, such as need/want assessment, information gathering, evaluation and transactions.
Recommendation: Put customer digital assistants on your technology planning agenda. For marketers, customer digital assistants have the opportunity for an opt-in “pull approach,” exchanging relevant information for a focused purpose, rather than interruptive engagement or a one-sided data gathering exercise that can be perceived as a privacy threat.
3. Algorithms replace surveys with better customer insight
In lieu of surveys, marketers can detect attitudes and opinions entirely from online behaviors using social analytics, voice of the customer and neurometrics. In the age of mobile, long surveys don’t work. They are viewed as spam, and they will continue to lose their effectiveness and adoption.
Recommendation: To get started, investigate what social analytics, voice-of-the-customer or other sentiment analysis applications are in use within your company Determine if their use can be extended to brand or marketing research.
4. Intelligent talent sourcing quickly gives marketers capability
Content marketing capability will be outsourced to vibrant freelancer populations and marketing-talent communities to commission original content and curate and cultivate third-party and user-generated content. Even data science will be crowdsourced, with communities like Kaggle offering a bounty for custom algorithms created on behalf of marketers through competitive challenges.
Recommendation: Determine which marketing programs you’ll need to scale up over the next few years and how you can split the work between your staff, freelancers, agencies and business partners.
5. Mobile “apps” expand into the mobile Web
Marketers will shift more of their attention and investments from apps to the mobile Web due to disappointing mobile app performance and the extensive functionality and wider audience of mobile Web.
Developing and building apps can cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. At the same time consumers tend to use their mobile browsers, not apps, when searching or researching products or services.
Recommendation: Get your websites mobile-optimized and device-agnostic. Explore authoring tools that can help you with responsive design for your mobile sites, particularly tools that can help with real-time site edits and automating development.
Gartner for Marketing Leaders clients can read more in Predicts 2016: Intelligent Marketing Technology Will Bring Generational Change.