Marketing and advertising leaders are challenged to adapt their brand strategies at a time of great disruption. The Gartner Hype Cycles for digital marketing and digital advertising highlight emerging innovations that can help drive more brand resilience in a volatile environment.
In particular, the innovation profiles described in the Hype Cycles can help marketers identify the areas that matter most and will help drive tangible business value.
Gartner Senior Director Analyst Colin Reid and VP Analyst Mike McGuire sat down to discuss a few concrete ways organizations can use insights from the Hype Cycles.
This article recaps the key points, edited for brevity and clarity.
Learn more: About the Gartner Hype Cycle Methodology
Leverage Hype Cycles in your marketing plan
People get excited about new products. The Hype Cycle synthesizes research on a technology, technology-enabled process, tactic or topic in its early-stage life cycle — as it emerges from development, gains popularity, gets refined and moves onto the Plateau of Productivity.
It’s critical for marketers to identify where, when and how to make the investment in some of these emerging innovations (“innovation profiles”) — and how they fit into the marketing plan.
Customer data ethics
The first innovation profile that Gartner highlights for marketing is customer data ethics. Consumers have a rather large distrust of both big tech and some large brands. A lot of that stems from how marketers use the data they collect about consumers. The abuse or overuse of customer data has caused consumers to push back. Regulatory bodies are taking stock of this situation and looking to weigh in.
It's an important capability of a marketing plan and even a requirement for brands to develop a position regarding customer data ethics. It matters how brands align their use of customer data and their use of technology with the practices and moral and ethical policies that reflect their brand values and what they stand for as a company.
This is becoming increasingly important because of the massive amount of data that marketers are able to collect from website traffic, especially from smartphones, and the datasets are being used constantly.
Organizations today have moved beyond just being focused on profits — although profitability is crucial. Companies need to instead show that they can be trusted stewards of their customers' data. This is going to require a full company effort, not just one or two individuals making promises about being an ethical company.
Download report: Top 5 Marketing Trends and Priorities for CMOs
Data clean rooms
Data clean rooms are secure, isolated platforms that link private, anonymized advertising data from multiple parties. They represent an opportunity for agencies and advertisers to bring a granular impression-level set of data. This doesn’t mean trends but rather specific granular information for teams to do some analytical algorithm modeling. Sure, you can measure, but what’s more interesting and more impactful in the long term is that marketers can test and deploy against live campaigns.
This also opens up the ability to start to experiment — not only measuring exactly what is going on but also very quickly and accurately to improve ad performance. When building a marketing plan, that's a huge opportunity — looking from planning to execution, optimization and measurement. These platforms represent an opportunity for agency planners and advertisers to be better.
Opt for independent providers
Many of the large providers have produced data clean rooms, but look for an independent one where it’s easier to build commonalities, experiment and execute across all the networks where you’re spending.
Make sure your team can run it
Data clean rooms are complex and require data scientists. They are statistically heavy algorithmic systems that you have to get into and play with, so make sure you can run it.
Be ready for the market to change
Prepare to be agile. You can get some wins from this — you can build advantages — but because it is early stage, you will need to be ready to experiment, handle some trial and error, and be willing to absorb the impacts and benefits that it can provide.
Real-time marketing is essentially a set of technologies and practices that allows marketing teams to respond to opportunities and behaviors in the many touchpoints they have with their customer bases. With the right use of systems, you can take that information and monitor and analyze it so that you can react in real time to a customer's behavior or a particular set of actions taken on a customer journey.
Getting those data points in in real time is increasingly important because you can blend that kind of behavioral analytics with a lot of the automation you have already built into your marketing system. That gives you the ability to act as if you were reading your customers’ minds and responding precisely at the right moment.