2020 #MarTech predictions? We got ‘em right here!


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We’re at that time of year where prediction articles are more abundant than needles on a pine tree. Some may think there are too many (articles, not pine needles), but personally I enjoy reading my fellow marketers’ prognostications: some leave me bewildered, most are recognizable, and a few are pioneering.

Famed theoretical physicist and futurist, Michio Kaku, said. “I predict that technology will enable people to transmit their neuronal, actual feelings over the Internet.” I reckon we’re on the cusp of that journey and may eventually get there. Imagine the implications for marketers.

In the interim, I discern three themes that underpin most Martech predictions for 2020:
• Smart, immersive consumer technology—think AR/VR/MR/XR, digital twins, and such—will be commonplace in 2020 to further enhance the customer experience;
• Data privacy and security becomes top-of-mind for marketers; and
• AI-powered automation will be central to successful targeted campaigns at scale. A few of my favorite prediction articles this year include 6 Digital Transformation Trends for 2019-2020 from Brian Solis, and Predictions: 10 technology trends in marketing for 2020 from CMO.com.

We’re entering a new Roaring 20’s era where the pace of change is going to be faster than ever. Here are my predictions for marketers in 2020.

Data privacy & personalization become C-suite priorities
In 2020, marketers will raise the personalization bar by raising the data privacy bar. In a recent study on the future of CX from Futurum Research 73 percent of consumers believe the use of their personal data is “out of control”. Brands must work to balance the CX they can deliver as a result of the data they collect with the trust concerns of the consumer. Topics such as data governance, data security and data management will be escalated to C-suite and boardroom level discussions—as the balance between customer privacy and personalization becomes a strategic differentiator for all brands.

Blockchain paves a path to advertising transparency 
In 2020 blockchain technology combined with AI will start to gain traction to help businesses combat digital advertising fraud and waste. The advertising technology (adtech) ecosystem has been characterized by complexity and lack of transparency. With a distributed digital ledger technology, advertisers can exactly see how each cent of their ad dollars will be distributed across all participating entities—allowing comparisons between actual expenditures with estimated or contracted costs. That’s exactly what blockchain initiatives in adtech aim to tackle: who gets paid and for what.

Identity management takes center stage
Identity management will be a primary goal (and struggle) for marketers in 2020. Marketers must be able to identify and track specific digital visitors across a range of channels, devices, platforms and environments as they journey around web, tablet, mobile apps, voice assistants, and AR/VR. To this end, hybrid-cloud architectures—mashup of on-premises and cloud IT resources—will gain momentum in 2020 to provide dynamic customer data to MarTech applications, offer management and decisioning engines, analytics platforms and the channels themselves in both real-time and batch capacity.

AI fuels increased automation
In its annual CMO survey Deloitte found that despite marketing analytics budgets increasing over the next 3 years, perceived contributions from analytics remain weak.  In 2020 to compete on analytics, companies must turn to AI-driven automation to help operationalize those analytics. With the deluge of data and proliferation of customer contact opportunities, it is no longer humanly possible to make the thousands of decisions per second necessary to deliver great CX without automation in the mix. And the sooner brands get their arms around this the better.

The SAS-Futurum survey found that by 2030 67 percent of customer engagement between a brand and consumer using digital devices will be completed by smart machines. And by 2030, 69 percent of decisions made during a customer engagement will be completed by smart machines.

AI powers dynamic pricing and fulfillment
AI already helps marketers with dynamic pricing as it relates to product availability, demand and forecasting. But it can go much further in 2020. AI could further integrate with the company’s resource planning systems and supply chain inputs to access cost optimization, inventory, and economic forecasting data to achieve both dynamic pricing and fulfillment into campaigns and customer interactions.

So, wherever 2020 marketing predictions take us, I wish all my fellow marketers a Happy New Year and continued success!

Wilson Raj
Wilson Raj, Global Director of Customer Intelligence at SAS, has over 25 years experience building brand value, engagement and loyalty through expertise in traditional and integrated marketing. He has held global lead marketing positions for Fortune 500 companies and digital agencies such as Microsoft, Medtronic, Philips, Novell and WPP (Y&R).


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