Transformative Marketing Technologies on the Horizon

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A list of the TOP 10 most transformative technologies for marketing in the next 12 months according to 350 industry leaders, influencers, and experts as surveyed by John Koetsier.

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Artificial Intelligence, Deep learning, machine learning: 37.4%

The winner by a LANDSLIDE!

The common belief is that AI will put big data to work those surveyed highlighted possible shifts in targeting, in understanding the customer journey, and in driving optimal ad-spend decisions.

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Big Data and Personalization: 16.8%

Marketers have a deep and earnest longing to communicate intimately with their customers like best friends, a million or two at a time. Using big data to — among other things — personalize communications — is high on the list. A few are making it happen.

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Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality: 12.2%

AR, VR, and XR or mixed reality are super-exciting to marketers who want to hit the next big thing. Think websites in the 1990s. Nothing says cutting edge like funky goggle helmets and real-time insertion of virtual objects into actual scenes.

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Bots, chatbots, messaging: 10.1%

Communicating with millions individually while taking a coffee break? It’s easy to see why chatbots on messaging platforms are popular. It’s also easy to see some limited success in early adoptions of the technology.

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Mobile, with a focus on geolocation: 10.1%

Mobile was the most interesting thing about just a few years ago. Now, it’s even more important, but much less visible. Why? It’s the setting where all the other interesting things happen.

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Rest of the TOP 10

  • Voice: search, assistants, commerce, user interfaces: 9%

    Amazon’s Echo, Google Home, Apple’s Siri
  • Blockchain, cryptocurrencies: 8.4%

    How we might transact all business in the future.
  • Messaging and brand: 8.4%

    Not all top technologies are technologies.
  • Performance marketing: 8.4%

    ROI, A/B Testing, and Conversion; Data enabled creative decisions.
  • Customer databases and Data Lakes: 6.1%

    Data management platforms for all prospect and customer interaction. Marketing has never had a single system of record but that’s about to change.

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Clearly, A.I. is the big winner.

Because even if executives didn’t pick Artifical Intelligence as the most transformative marketing technology of 2018, they picked a technology that requires artificial intelligence, or benefits greatly from its application.

A.I. + Data = 2018 and beyond marketing success

Credit: Tune.com

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Technology meets Small Business

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[dropcap]I[/dropcap]ncreasingly, small-business owners count on technology to start and scale their brands. Tech touches everything from the way consumers find and purchase products and services to the way small businesses market and even transportation is influenced by new technologies.  See some of the national trends among consumers and businesses below and afterward access the full report here.

TECHNOLOGY+ SMALL BUSINESS = SUCCESS! 

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In order to better understand the impact of digital tools and social media on Main Street in America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber Technology Engagement Center, partnered with Morning Consult, a research & technology firm, and Facebook to explore how small businesses are not only using but also shaping social media and digital platforms.

First and for most customers are moving online to make their purchasing decisions. According to a recent Pew Research Survey, the proportion of Americans who shop online grew from 22% in 2000 to nearly 80% in 2016.

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You cant be afraid to take a risk. You can’t be afraid to take a risk because you think you might fail. -Linda McMahon

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Given the uptick in online consumerism, an online presence is a critical component of a successful business plan. In a 2017 report, Deloitte found that the most digitally advanced U.S. small businesses earned two times as much revenue per employee, experienced revenue growth that was nearly four times as high, and were almost three times as likely to have created jobs compared with the previous year.

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Even when customers do business with a physical store, they increasingly expect to access online options as part of their experience. Businesses that successfully build and implement a strategy of online customers, vendors, and employee engagement will likely see the most success in coming years.

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The growth and use of social networking by small businesses across the world continue to increase. Of Facebook’s over two billion monthly active users, more than 1.5 billion are connected to a business on the platform. Of those 580 million are connected to an American business. The global number of social network users worldwide is projected to increase to over three billion by 2021.

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“Never before in history has innovation offered promise of so much to so many in so short a time.”
– Bill Gates

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The size of small businesses, once an obstacle to reaching global markets, now offers benefits. With the internet and related technologies, small businesses can be based in a range of locations even as they connect with customers around the world. Small business owners must customize technology to the needs of their businesses. Online tools are inexpensive and easy to use and have become routine parts of how business owners operate.

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Comment below and let us know some of the ways your brand has used technology to stand apart.

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Understanding Marketing Automation

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[dropcap]M[/dropcap]any marketing departments have long realized they need to automate repetitive tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions. It’s nearly impossible to personally reach out to each and every new lead, but a giant, impersonal email blast is pretty much destined to be ignored. The secret to solving the mysteries of the untouched email, the unclicked call to action, and the once-promising lead that simply went MIA, may be marketing automation. Marketers should be looking to develop relationships with buyers at all stages of the sales funnel, and use marketing automation to create highly personalized relationships with new and existing leads. Let’s face it, we’ve all got pretty jam-packed inboxes, and even perfectly personalized emails offering incredible, highly relevant deals sometimes get lost in the shuffle or the “spam” folder.

The Landscape as it is

At its best, marketing automation is simply software and tactics that allow companies to buy and sell effectively, to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers. The practice has shown amazing results for both B2B and B2C businesses. A 50% increase in overall conversion rates have been reported on average. However, most won’t have the ingredients they need for effective marketing automation because they first have to have a steady flow of organic leads coming through their funnel. Many invest in marketing automation before they have fertile ground for lead nurturing campaigns to blossom. It’s an uncomfortable truth in the marketing world that most leads go nowhere. Too many marketers spend their time figuring out how to take the tiny fraction of the market they already have as leads and squeeze more out of them. While they’re doing that, their competition is figuring out how to get more out of the 99.99% of the market that’s still out there. The efficient implementation of marketing automation technology can effectively increase operational efficiency by allowing for more precise use of all your companies data.

Makreting Automation

Marketing automation allows a brand to send the right message to the right person at the right time, in a way that’s scalable.

 

Automation uses every bit of a customer engagement to trigger the right touch for the right customer at the right time. How many nudges did it take before you decided you had to have your last online purchase: a targeted ad on social coupled with an email reminding you of the sale price or was it a push notification letting you know there were only a few left in stock? Now does it seem weird to rely on automation to create more personalized relationships with leads? Absolutely. However, think of all the information about clients that is gathered as they sign up for newsletters, click through web pages, or even view items online. Marketing automation allows a brand to consolidate all that data in order to produce meaningful, personalized pieces of content that will help convert leads. Imagine you’re trying to grow a plant. First, you need fertile soil for the growth of your plant. Next, you need seeds, and last you need water and light in order to nurture those seeds into a lush, blooming plant. It’s not foolproof, but it’s not impossible. In essence, effective marketing automation looks just like nurturing this plant does. At the end of the day, the hope is we’ve nurtured our leads the seeds well enough to produce actual paying customers or a lush, full-grown plant.

Use Automation to Get Personal

While it’s become standard practice to begin by asking leads for an email address, using marketing automation to analyze total customer data can lead to much more beneficial relationships for both buyers and brands. Now let’s say you have 5,000 new leads. It’s highly unlikely that all 5,000 are interested in the same aspects of your business. Most automation is based on analytics measuring the impact of an entire campaign across the various segments and channels. The practice could potentially set off a chain of responses, from a welcome email to a call from a member of your sales team. Marketing automation done right typically generates significant new revenue for companies, and provides an excellent return on the investment required. Though it’s not the easiest marketing initiative to execute on, marketing automation is certainly not impossible. With the data, you already possess you can identify segments and opportunities you never dreamed existed. Why stop at obvious factors such as demographics, when you can instead break your prospect base down according to how they use your site, the offers they accept, the articles they linger on. Through your strategy begin to customize landing pages, widgets and other elements of your website; identify customer’s needs based on their interest rather than simply asking for an email address.

makreting automation

The term “marketing automation” has become a buzz-word, where marketers seek out marketing automation software under the impression that all of the digital marketing tools necessary for growth, including those needed to generate new leads, roll up under the hood of marketing automation. This misconception leaves many marketers with sophisticated tools to automate the middle of their funnel, but no solution to generating new leads to nurture in the first place. The consequence is that marketers begin buying lists of email addresses to nurture instead of generating inbound leads. Digital marketing automation has its bloodline in simple email marketing. However, it is way beyond the email marketing.

It takes personalization far beyond blasting a coupon or special offer to every lead on your list, regardless of where they are in their purchase journey.

 

In our plant analogy, it’s sort of like using artificial chemicals or enhancers to make your plants grow faster. Sure, it seems like a good, quick fix–but it doesn’t set you up for future, long-term success. While using automation platforms, many marketers must still create exciting, multi-tier lead nurturing campaigns. Successful multi-channel efforts generally include marketing automation, email marketing, retargeting, social media, and sales outreach. In a world where customers feel more empowered to make purchase decisions than ever, using marketing automation to offer solutions before they ask can be crucial; today’s digitally empowered consumers are loyal to the companies that address their needs most effectively. The most effective marketing automation not only collects data from multiple channels but also uses those various channels to send their marketing messages as well. That means the success of your campaign relies less on the email and fully utilizes the various channels that influence a buyer’s decision.

Amazon is the King of Marketing Automation

From their amazing retargeting that never lets you forget those jeans, you were undecided on a couple weeks ago, to their spot on suggestions based on previous purchases. Amazon will even let you know what your neighbors are buying, so you’re never the last in the know. Amazon’s marketing makes it easy for its customers to buy things, to the point where some Amazon customers don’t realize they’re out of toothpaste until they get a reminder to buy more. Amazon is second to none at listening to their customers through passive actions such as web browsing, to purchase history, to actual feedback through surveys and customer service.

Makreting Automation

An automation update for your brand requires integrating new technology into your day-to-day business operations, which obviously comes with a few pain points. However, once you’ve got your automated marketing system running like clockwork you will see the value in letting your marketing automation system do the heavy lifting. Remember marketing automation isn’t simply a quick fix for finding new leads. Instead, it’s a long-term strategy that enables growth. In nonprofessional terms, marketing automation is all about optimization. Make sure that when your automation pays off, and you are getting those leads you’ve been looking for; your marketing strategy calls for even more personalized lead nurturing which never feels robotic. The scope of marketing automation is beyond simply automating the marketing department’s repetitive tasks, it optimizes the time of your staff. It can even hint at which new avenues your sales team concentrates their endeavors.

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Technology for the Odyssey

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[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hether by plane, train or automobile; over 50 million Americans will take a week or longer vacation in 2018. Spring break season was just a preview for the upcoming summer travel blitz. Memorial Day thru Labor Day weekends and then on into the holidays millions will look to get away from home. A good vacation is one of those concepts that is as American as apple pie. Imagine it is 1999 and a cross-country trip tops your bucket list; well then a vital and pretty much the only step was to find a good travel agent and let the expert take over from there. Fast forward to 2019 and the entire process has been revolutionized. Travel Tech is moving at the speed of a bullet train. The planning, the packing, the travel and the destination selection all come with their own distinct challenges and rewards.

Previously; a quick google search was the full extent of technology usability the traveler had to worry about.  Finding the best local deals, activities and hot spots opened a far too complicated minefield for the average traveler to navigate. NoirBnb, Lyft, and thousands of other new companies have developed and emerged within the travel space and they are completely revolutionizing traveling at every level. It can be said that Uber, scandals and all; has been the single most successful agents of change in the travel industry since the launch of the Model T in 1908. The company has now launched yet another moonshot with the hopes of disrupting the entire travel market once again, but we will discuss that a bit later. 110 years ago Henry Ford’s factory changed the world; today all types of technology are reshaping the way we travel and vacation from start to finish. The landscape of the travel and transportation industry is seeing rapid advancement and this is only the beginning.

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Times have changed and all travelers want is as much knowledge as possible to make the most informed travel decisions. Travelers also want that welcoming feeling which Airbnb realized they could provide. In 2014 Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s Co-founder & CEO said “At its core, Airbnb is about belonging.  If we are to be understood as a brand and more importantly as a community we need to communicate this idea of ‘belonging’ to the world.” Thus ‘Belong Anywhere’ the company’s slogan demonstrates a dynamic shift in the mindset of travelers; traveling should be personal. Your trip should fit you perfectly. Disney since its inception has been a brand and a place that has aspired to make dreams come true. Founder Walt Disney was a man who prided himself on reaching for the cutting edge of innovation. Guest at a Disney park never wants for much. Anyone familiar with Disney knows the story of Walt himself trailing behind guest in the park to see how often trash was dropped to better position trash receptacles. They are within 30 feet of each other if you were wondering. It is that type of attention to detail that Disney has reinvented with its new MyMagic+ experience. Per Disney; “If you choose to participate in MyMagic+, we will collect information from you online so when you visit our resort, you are provided with an experience even more immersive and personalized.” Now while this may seem extreme, this type of immersive experience will establish a baseline of expectation for the future of travel.

 

Travel destinations globally have slowly tried to embrace the concept of personalization. They’ve begun to collect even more extensive information about their guest in order to provide a customizable experience second to none.

 

Advances in technology have allowed travelers to handle more of the travel workload. Inevitably this means less work for travel agents and in fact, a total redefinition of what an agent of travel is and does. A Google search may still be the first action a trip planner takes to get the ball rolling. The second is to ask our friends; they have become a vital resource and point of contact when researching a trip. In 2018 a travel agent may be no more than someone who we have never actually met but rather a social media personality whose recommendations we have grown to trust. Whether its friends we have known since high school or that Twitter friend you have followed since 2009. A friend’s endorsement of a place they’ve been to elicits a perceived higher level of tangible experience than a traditional travel guide could ever hope to offer.

Travel bloggers and influencers; like in many other voices of industries such as fashion and makeup, have seen this growing trend. They are harnessed their own digital following and voice in order to provide insight to their ever-growing base of potential travelers. Travel influencers have all but supplanted the classic travel agent. Travel influencers are also the ones collecting missing pieces of data to aid travel destinations with personalization. Some of the best Influencers have learned how to make their readers believe any destination is approachable, doable, and worthy of the additional cost. Using techniques such as listicles of cheap places to eat, dos and don’ts, and their top recommendations for the perfect Instagram-worthy photo – travel blogs simply answer the questions many want to ask but don’t want to pay a travel agent to answer.

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Click here to see some of today’s better know Travel Influencers

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Those who provide the actual travel are riding the technology wave as well. A number of major freight companies have begun to take advantage of advances in Intelligent Transportation Systems. The entire commercial freight industry is truly at the forefront of a number of different initiatives, including connected and autonomous vehicles, alternative fuel sources, keyless fleet management and traffic pattern analytics. Transportation companies as a whole will continue to expand and innovate in the years to come. “It’s push a button and get a flight,” said Jeff Holden, Chief Product Officer for Uber, in his keynote at last year’s Uber Elevate Summit.  Remember when we said Uber would look to evolve and maintain its disruptive status. Uber Elevate is the company’s attempt to provide an aerial component to its already existing service model. The 2nd Annual Elevate Summit happening May 8-9 in Los Angeles aims to bring together over 700 aviation leaders from the worlds of industry, government, and academia.

Trailblazing travel hubs such as Miami International Airport will also look to roll out their own version of beacon technology in the same way Disney has done with their parks. Now while it is not feasible to affix a wristband to every traveler, strategically placed beacons connected to a shared app could be used to capture “Big Data”. Which is essential and needed to better improve travel experiences throughout the airport. Imagine being able to track luggage and travel companions throughout the airport in the same way one can currently follow a pizza delivery.  Electronic passports are already being implemented in customs checkpoints at major international ports. The goal is to have an international electronic passport system making the paper stamp book a thing of the past. All the technology exist today and will in the near future be as synonymous with the airport as the moving walkway. The next few decades of innovation will forever reshape every aspect of commercial transportation as we know it. New transportation technologies are emerging to meet challenges on the road, on the rails and in the sky.

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The Lack of Trust in Tech

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[dropcap]H[/dropcap]umans trust other humans more than they trust computers and technology. We see it daily as people struggle to interact with technology, from “failure to adopt” to “problems keeping up”, people trust people, not computers. Which to me is very, very telling. Consider the number of people you actually trust. I bet you that circle is small. I bet some of the people you say you trust, you are actually skeptical of, or keeping them close because you, in fact, don’t trust them. So for a human to trust another human over a computer, telling!

A self-driving car was involved in fatal crash on a Sunday evening and the Arizona governor was banning the use of self-driving cars by Monday morning. Human-driven cars were involved in 8 fatal crashes on November 8, 2016, in Arizona, but they have yet to ban human powered cars. Matter of fact, they have yet to even enact distracted driving laws, making them one of THREE states lacking such laws. Thrillist ranked them the 17th most likely state to die in a car accident, and second only to the state of Florida in yearly pedestrian deaths. But according to the State of Arizona, self-driving cars are less fit for the road than a distracted driver.

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People trust people, not computers. Which to me is very, very telling. Consider the number of people you actually trust.

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Let’s consider the recent Autonomous Uber accident; In which a woman was fatally struck by the autonomous vehicle while crossing the street with her bike. The vehicle did have a safety driver behind the wheel, who in the event of a malfunction or issue, could take control of the vehicle. Because again, humans trust humans more than technology. Except in this scenario, the human was unable to, for whatever reason, prevent this fatal accident. I could give you a million reasons why a human would not be able to take over from an autonomous vehicle in time to properly correct an oncoming accident, but I’ll just say distracted driving & leave you with this link.

According to police, the woman was crossing the street mid-block when she was struck. To which Tempe Police Sgt. Ronald Elcock reminded citizens to use crosswalks, “None of us ever want to go through this ever again, using crosswalks will definitely limit this from happening again.” To some this may come off as strange, a bit rude to the deceased, victim blaming; but to me, it simply signals he clearly believes following the laws will help save lives, and I would argue autonomous cars are better at following laws than humans. Computers are better at following the rules than humans, that is literally what they do.

So how did the accident happen? User error. You can only compute a program, and thus a self-driving car, to follow a certain (sometimes strict) set of rules. The rules of the roadways are set, and they say you should only cross the street in the crosswalk or yield the right-of-way to vehicles. Jaywalking has caught up plenty of people lately. Arizona professors & pedestrians alike.

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So maybe humans don’t want computers taking life. Valid concern. But you can’t be on the side of the human in this trust fall if you are a stickler for the rules. You can’t be against the autonomous car if you too are annoyed by the jaywalkers who don’t yield to your green light. Who knows, maybe a little rule following by some, like autonomous cars; could lead to a lot of rule-following by all pedestrians & bikers on the roadway. If nothing else it’s better than beating the jaywalking out of people!

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Orlando Tech Association Meetups

[vc_row row_height_percent=”0″ overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ shift_y=”0″ css=”.vc_custom_1495992903366{padding-top: 25px !important;}” row_name=”content”][vc_column width=”2/12″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”8/12″][vc_gallery el_id=”gallery-153524″ medias=”55117,55118″ gutter_size=”2″ screen_lg=”1000″ screen_md=”600″ screen_sm=”480″ single_shape=”round” single_overlay_opacity=”50″ single_padding=”2″ lbox_social=”yes” lbox_no_tmb=”yes” items=”e30=”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/12″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/12″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”8/12″][vc_column_text]These Orlando Tech Association (OTA) Meetups have been great. A guaranteed packed house, full of varying levels of tech knowledge; this group is always ready to learn and connect. Since January we have seen presentations monthly at Church St Exchange on automated car innovation, Women in Tech and Fintech (financial technology). The latest OTA however took us on the road and was focused around makerspaces. This is the concept of bringing creatives of all different skill sets and talent levels together to reach a common goal. In order to accomplish this members of these spaces must work together. Whether the goal is a quick thermometer build with a raspberry pi or a ten foot tall Star Wars game, makerspaces are the breeding ground for some truly amazing work. Collaboration in the Orlando tech market is vital for growth, and this was abundantly clear standing in the middle of 75 creatives in this collaborative space. Thanks Orlando Tech Association.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/12″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

“Browning” the Tech Scene

[vc_row row_height_percent=”0″ overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ shift_y=”0″ css=”.vc_custom_1495804814737{padding-top: 25px !important;}” row_name=”content”][vc_column width=”2/12″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”8/12″][vc_gallery el_id=”gallery-446749″ medias=”55103″ gutter_size=”3″ screen_lg=”1000″ screen_md=”600″ screen_sm=”480″ single_width=”12″ single_shape=”round” single_overlay_opacity=”100″ single_image_color_anim=”yes” single_padding=”2″ items=”e30=”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/12″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/12″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”8/12″][vc_single_image media=”55106″ media_lightbox=”yes” media_width_percent=”100″ alignment=”center”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/12″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/12″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”8/12″][vc_column_text]Without a plan to scale you clearly have a plan to fail. Clear vision on how to grow your business is one aspect many small business owners forget to map out. Embracing the resource centers, tech tools and markets around you will help you ensure success. Having a community around you that can educate and nurture your brand in terms of not only scaling but also in every aspect of business is vital to survival. There are programs nationwide dedicated to helping minority founders do just that.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/12″][/vc_column][/vc_row]