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Delfino Marketing Communications, Inc.

Technology and the Future of Marketing:

5 Trends to Watch

by PD   |   Posted June 30, 2016   |  technology

It’s been said that within two years, CMOs will be spending as much on IT as CIOs. Think about that for a minute – marketing departments spending as much on technology as the technology departments. That’s an amazing concept, but also a telling one for those of us responsible for marketing. It means our reliance on data (and on those who analyze data) will continue to grow. It means more emphasis on mobile apps. It means new tools and new channels, some of which will be radically different than what is currently in vogue. So in the spirit of trend watching, I thought it might be a good time to take a look at a few technology trends we should all be keeping an eye on.

  1. 3D Printing. While this technology is not exactly new - stereolithic printing has been used in certain types of manufacturing for years - the mainstream application of 3D printing is coming fast. For marketers, the heaviest impact will be in the relationship between design and production. Design changes will be instantaneous and constant, while production control will begin to move from the manufacturer to the user. Some business applications will be affected for the long term by 3D printing technology. In the case of the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, that change could literally be life-saving. 3D printers will aid in the development of personalized medicines based with unique dosage forms, and it is even possible that artificially created human organs will be created with 3D printing. Scientists speculate we are no more than 20 years from the development of a fully functioning, 3D printed artificial heart. In the food industry, creative 3D printing is already off and running, both commercially and industrially. Do a search on Jeffery Lipton of the Cornell Creative Machines Lab and you’ll find some fascinating reading and a look at really interesting applications in foods. And for those of you with an adventurous culinary skill set, have at it: there are even some consumer devices retailing at less than $300.
  2. GPS Enabled Couponing. This merger of existing technologies has great potential for consumer products. The best way to describe it is via example; here’s one I heard at a marketing seminar a few years ago: suppose you’ve been thinking about buying a particular style of jeans and searching options on the internet. You have looked at colors and sizes and maybe even put one in your cart. You may have even visited a number of retailers and seen the item in person, but you have not purchased yet. Later, while walking down the street and passing a GAP store, your phone buzzes and you have a notification…the jeans you’ve been looking at are available in the store right there, they have your size and color choice, and if you come in right now you’ll get 15% off the purchase. That’s GPS enabled couponing.
  3. Intuitive Search. This is another scenario best described by example, and I’ll give you my own. A couple of years ago our washing machine broke and we chose to do our due diligence on a replacement online via Consumer Reports, followed by a look at options on the websites of a number of big box retailers. As anyone who has done this kind of thing knows, we were then flooded with ads and emailers for washing machines from every brick and mortar and digital outlet you can think of. Which in and of itself is not a bad thing, until you buy your washing machine. After that, you don’t want any more of those ads. But what if the technology was smart enough to know, “hey, this guy bought his washing machine so now let’s sell him a dryer.” This has been described as the Holy Grail of online marketing and it’s a prime example of why data has become so vital.
  4. Virtual Reality. This concept is one you may have been fortunate enough to get a taste of recently via promotions from Google and the New York Times, among others. Virtual reality graphics that run via mobile device create a deeply immersive user experience. If you can promote your products well through video, imagine the impact you can make on a consumer when you simulate their participation right in a VR app. While there are obvious sweet spots for this tool like the automotive and entertainment markets, many B2B segments can also take advantage of the unique promotional opportunities that VR can offer. Consider a VR cooking experience or a VR tour of a lab or manufacturing space. The possibilities for this medium at trade shows are endless. One thing to keep in mind: production costs to develop VR content are currently very high but they should quickly settle into a more reasonable range.
  5. Content. The need for quality content is not likely to slow down. Ever. But the type of content will change, with the emphasis on visual media growing exponentially. User-generated content is likely to expand dramatically as brands and marketers allow their customers to take some control of their messaging. While this sounds a bit scary, it is inevitable, so it should be embraced. Establishing positive brand imagery and messaging in the minds of your customers is going to be more important than ever. This is true for the B2B market as well as the consumer market. Here’s another story for you...while watching hockey on the MSG Sports Network I regularly see “France is in the Air” TV spots for Air France. These are very creative, very European-styled ads with waif-like models on swings and other imagery that while beautiful, is not exactly the kind of thing the typical hockey fan can relate to. So I tweeted about it, something to the tune of “Hey Air France, really creative spot guys, but your media buying strategy needs some work.” Within seconds they replied to my tweet directly. So I gave them kudos for their monitoring of user-generated content (but not for their media buying).

Happy marketing!