12 Disruptive Technology Trends That Impact Marketing Strategy

October 2, 2018
Contributor: Chris Pemberton

Use this simple framework to stay ahead of 12 emerging technology trends that fundamentally impact marketing.

“A mixer of ingredients”…That is how Harvard professor James Culliton described marketing leaders in his 1948 article that set the stage for the classic “Four P’s” marketing model of price, product, promotion and place. Fast-forward 70 years and the marketing leader of 2018 is a modern alchemist, competing on a mixture of programmatic advertising, conversational bots and dynamic pricing models executed by personal virtual agents.

“Technology is set to unleash another wave of disruption on marketing.”

Emerging technology now impacts all four “Ps” across consumer behavior, operational technology and the entire marketing ecosystem. “By identifying and prioritizing new technologies that will have a transformational effect on your business, you can secure a leadership role in innovation initiatives,” says Andrew Frank, Distinguished VP Analyst, Gartner for Marketers.

Use three principles to lead technology-driven strategic innovation and stay ahead of emerging trends: Model and explore future scenarios, distinguish improvements from disruptions and take a holistic, outside-in view. Apply these principles to 12 emerging trends across the four P’s:

No. 1: Conversational agents will mediate transactions

As voice search grows, it will completely upend tried-and-true practices around paid search and organic content strategy.

No. 2: Atomic content will make marketing more adaptive

Atomic content represents the building blocks of more advanced and comprehensive forms of personalization. This next wave of personalization will customize multiple dimensions of a consumer’s experience based on demographic, psychographic and behavioral data.

No. 3: Programmatic placement will put brands everywhere

Programmatic advertising has been growing its share of the media pie for almost a decade and continues its steady march beyond the web into native mobile formats, television, radio and out-of-home media.

No. 4: Shopper bots will find the best bargains

A new generation of shopper chatbots go beyond immediately answering simple queries. Tomorrow’s agents will be immune to marketing tactics that draw on human frailties such as price discounts expressed in terms of inflated list prices.

No. 5: Real-time pricing will bring AI and advanced analytics to the masses

Dynamic pricing algorithms are now used across large and small enterprises. Pricing is an important and increasingly dynamic element of marketing strategy.

No. 6: Smart contracts will create new virtual marketplaces

Smart contracts can be fully executed in computer code without the requirement of physical documentation, and they enable autonomous negotiation among smart agents of buyers and sellers. Their emergence suggests a radical change in the way goods and services are sought and presented to consumers.

No. 7: Platform loyalty will challenge brands for consumer allegiance

Platforms from digital giants consume consumer attention and mediate the decisions that people make, particularly when it comes to what they buy and from whom they buy it. Consumers have a lot invested in these large platforms, and virtually all industries will be affected by them.

No. 8: Privacy-friendly data exchange will augment the flow of data

The advent of new privacy regulations such as GDPR presents a significant challenge to the free flow of personal data on contemporary data exchanges. As marketers seek links between anonymous web visitors and the set of known — but not identified — customers available to target and personalize ads for, they will also need to ensure compliance with the consent preferences associated with this data.

No. 9: Decentralized apps will open up app markets while preserving security

Decentralized apps are open-source applications built atop blockchain technology that motivate participation and lack a central owner. These apps have the potential to challenge the integrated app platforms provided by Apple and Android and to support new cooperative economies globally.

No. 10: The sharing economy will disrupt our notion of sales and ownership

The sharing economy is already here. Every industry needs to look ahead and see how and where sharing dynamics will have an impact, and how this may change their basic value proposition.

No. 11: Digital products and the Internet of Things (IoT) will explode the number of digital touchpoints

The flood of new, connected IoT devices holds the potential to deliver far more detailed and timely customer behavior and preference details to their makers than previously possible. Marketers must identify where IoT presents near- and long-term opportunities.

No. 12: Product concept optimization will create more diverse, dynamic markets

3D printing and the use of artificial intelligence tools to optimize the functional aspects of product design dramatically increase the variety of products a brand might offer. Freed from the constraints of assembly-line manufacturing, products can be fabricated to individual tastes and preferences. Marketers must have a plan to know which products to offer and which features to highlight.

“Technology is set to unleash another wave of disruption on marketing, and marketing leaders need a consistent, structured approach to evaluate the impacts,” says Frank.

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