Marketers are undaunted by the technological challenge of managing today’s digital touchpoints, eagerly awaiting new tools such as VR to innovate campaigns in 2017, according to new research.
The global study, from Marketo, looked at the future of technology and its effect on marketers. Respondents from the UK, France, Germany, Australia and the US, identified the top technologies they and their customers will leverage in 2017, but disagree on which to prioritise first.
For UK marketers, both the Internet of Things (42%) and virtual reality (39%) top the list of technologies they plan to include in their marketing strategies for 2017. The ranking is as follows:
1. Internet of Things (IoT) – 42%
2. Virtual Reality (VR) – 39%
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) – 24%
4. Predictive analytics – 24%
5. Machine Learning – 20%
In terms of technologies UK marketers anticipate customers will be using within the next year, VR dominates expectations, with nearly half of respondents (45%) anticipating greater adoption in 2017. Powering that growth is an estimated 271% increase in investment in AR and VR companies.
Looking beyond the UK, there are plenty of parallels in the kinds of technologies that are causing a stir in EMEA.
• The focus for 2017 strategies places VR (29% France and 40% Germany) and IoT (47% France and 42% Germany) top.
• However, nearly a third (31%) of French marketers admit they are unsure how new touchpoints will affect their ongoing customer relationships in 2017.
• Similarly, a fifth (19%) of German marketers are worried they haven’t yet mastered all of the touchpoints they currently have.
Results between EMEA and the US differed around predictive technologies.
• US marketers not only see predictive analytics as the technology they are most excited about (38%), surpassing VR and IoT, predictive analytics is also forecast to be in 70% of US marketing strategies for 2017.
• By contrast, only 7% of UK marketers named predictive as the most exciting technology for them, a number that drops to 4% in Germany.
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IHS forecasts that the IoT market will grow to 30.7 billion devices in 2020. Despite such a large proliferation in the number of connected devices feeding into the customer journey, 71% of UK marketers are excited by the prospect of more touchpoints, believing these positively affect how they’re able to engage with customers.
Conor Shaw, managing director of EMEA at Marketo comments, “There’s clearly a lot of excitement around emerging technologies. Marketers are focusing more on their role as storytellers and exploring the ability of these tools to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships with customers. As they fall under the marketer’s digital ownership, the next great challenge will be how these elements coalesce to deliver an end-to-end immersive experience.”
Interestingly, the area many marketers are also looking for support with is managing the data being generated by digital interactions.
38% of UK respondents said that a platform to keep up with the speed and volume of interactions was the single most needed solution to successfully maintain customer relationships in 2017. Tied to this, an equal number placed better reporting and analytics top. A further 16% emphasising that better cross-channel communications would make or break their customer performance.
Technologies planned on inclusion in 2017
Top 5 for US
1. Predictive 77.14%
2. Internet of Things 25.71%
3. Machine Learning 22.86%
4. Artificial Intelligence 20.00%
5. None 10.00%
Top 5 for France
1. Internet of Things 46.67%
2. Augmented Reality 37.33%
3. Artificial Intelligence 36.00%
4. Virtual Reality 34.67%
5. Machine learning 26.67%
Top 5 for Germany
1. Internet of Things 44.44%
2. Virtual Reality 42.22%
3. Artificial Intelligence 24.44%
4. Machine Learning 21.11%
5. Predictive 18.89%
Top 5 for Australia
1. Virtual Reality 45.16%
2. Internet of Things 35.48%
3. Artificial Intelligence 35.48%
4. Machine Learning 32.26%
5. Augmented Reality 32.26%
For more on the results of the Future Technology Survey results, click here.
The survey included responses from 620 marketers worldwide that included a mix of Marketo customers and non-Marketo users. The survey was hosted by Qualtrics during November 2016.