Keep An Eye on these Nine Martech Trends this Year

Our Martech Trends 2019 report is All About Helping You Enhance your Brand’s User Experience

365 days means 365 opportunities.

For us marketers, this means 365 new opportunities to enhance the customer engagement for our respective brands.  So that’s what the start of 2019 means. No wonder our inboxes and wishes get cluttered with the words #Resolutions, #Planning, #Strategy, and more.

In our digital world though, all our social media platforms, be it Google or Facebook or Twitter, point us to trends as they develop in real time. Yet, nothing beats the fervour of Trends for the New Year. Simply because it marks a universal milestone. So here it is, a discussion on the Martech Trends 2019 report last week. This list is compiled on the basis of our regular interactions with our client partners spread out across the globe and should serve you, the modern marketer, as a list of guidelines as we find ourselves hurtling into an AI-first future.

So, if you’re a modern marketer, or let’s now call you a Martech-er, you have to have at least a few of the following on your Marketing Bucket List, before this year passes us all by:

The Bucket List: Martech Trends for 2019

1. AI-First Martech

In 2019, your business, especially your marketing should be going Intelligent, not just smart. Large or small, businesses around the world are adopting Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a means of increasing relevance to their customer engagement. It is fast becoming a general purpose technology but it is being used extensively in data-driven marketing. 

AI helps marketers ‘understand’ the customer better than ever before possible. You can take a leaf out of this success story where Kotak Securities saw its email open rates go up by 25%. It used Smartech’s Send Time Optimisation feature of Machine Learning, which is a subset of AI.

Know How Machine Learning Module on Smartech helped Kotak Securities boosts Open Rates by 25% using ML based Time Optimization

AI is bringing the following to your marketing:   

  • Responsive Paid Search Ads: Google lets Machine Learning optimise creativity in terms of ad copy and relevance to the user, even crafting the ad that suits your potential consumer’s search terms, profile, etc.
  • Predictive Lead Scoring: AI creates lead scoring models based on your business needs, working on a pre-set criteria for qualifying leads. This is how marketing and sales interface on an ROI-based engagement.
  • Trigger-Based Campaigns: Marketing automation with AI is hitting sophisticated notes with real-time behavioural analysis, which helps with smart segmentation; coupled with Send Time Optimisation & subject line optimisation, it really has deepened the scope of personalisation available. It’s time to go further with trigger-based campaigns, wherein behavioural events trigger a particular kind of communication and / or content. This is the next step.
  • Dynamic Content: AI is helping marketers optimise their email marketing content that features or blocks pieces of content based on the user’s preferences and behaviour. In real time.
  • Detailed Customer Journeys: AI-enabled customer journeys deepen personalisation by aggregating all the data collected from all of the customer touchpoints involved (ranging from AI-led devices such as Alexa to traditional channels such as email) onto one platform. We are moving away from last-click calculation attribution models. Finally!
  • Conversation analytics: While Voice-based search & other applications are gaining ground, Voice never lost the favour of the Indian audiences. AI-driven solutions help you analyse customer conversations by picking up on keywords and the type of calls, enabling marketers to attribute conversions to sales performance.

2. Customer Data Platforms (CDPs)

CDPs are marketer-based platforms that integrate customer data and ‘talk’ to various engagement platforms such as web-based channels, apps, etc. This is unified view of the customer and smart segmentation in real time. What does it mean to be marketer-based platform? It means that using CDPs will not require the kind of technical skills one needs in areas such as data warehousing, analytics, and other related areas. AI will play a huge part here too. CDPs will take in data that is be internal or external, structured or unstructured, batch or streaming, and the sources could include transactional, behavioural, profile, or product data. It will create a unique, persistent identity of the user that the marketer can take action on in real time.

3. Data Management Platforms (DMPs)

The marketing world is fast moving towards an AI-led future but leveraging AI requires focusing on information augmentation. We heard about ‘Garbage in, garbage out’ right? As per Gartner’s Marketing Technology Survey, more than 50% of enterprises currently use a data management platform (DMP), either directly or through an agency partner and the need is going to rise further. Let’s take an example of growth of programmatic buying, which is one of the reasons why the market for DMPs is growing. Marketers needs core insights of their audience for sharper targeting with hyper-personalisation as the media buying shifts from placement to audience. DMPs are acting as a platform for bringing together marketers, advertisers, and publishers, helping to build ‘audiences’ for marketers that can be defined using various parameters for precise targeting.

4. Dynamic Website Personalisation

Dynamic Web Personalisation ensures that your website displays the content that is just right for your particular audience. This is the step that follows all the data collection & management you have already accomplished with your CRM, DMP, and such. Once you have the right tools to build the exact persona of your user, you want to make sure s/he sees only those things that are most relevant to them. Dynamic website personalisation does this for you.

Your website intelligently adapts its content to the matched user persona. An excellent example of this is Amazon. You don’t see the website as I do. You will have a different set of offers, products, and product recommendations etc. on display. Amazon employs AI extensively to help map out detailed user personas and to detail out the customer journeys. 

5. AR/VR in Experiential Marketing

Last year fashion industry has seen one ultimate use of technology to make your customers feel special and valued. The leading British fashion retailer brand, TopShop, offered its customers a “virtual” seat (that too – a front row!) of their London fashion show by wearing a Virtual Reality (VR) headset connected to the event as it was happening. 

IKEA, has been using VR gaming technology since 2016. With its shopping app, IKEA VR Experience, its customers can try out different IKEA solutions before buying them. There are many other big players who are leveraging AR/ VR in a big way includes Nivea, Starbucks, and Volkswagen. This is experiential marketing letting the consumer experience the product before purchasing it. It is also creating immersive moments for consumers to share, especially in the field of travel, cookery, and more.

6. Programmatic Advertising

This used to be a niche thing for an even more exclusive set of digital marketers, looking into digital media strategy. Not anymore. Programmatic is now the mainstream of digital advertising. This is because it guarantees impressions. Note that we now live in a world where people are willing and quite enthusiastic about using ad-blockers. This is why programmatic is even more important – you don’t want to waste your advertising efforts on a user who will block you out forever. Finding the right audience was never more important. Programmatic allows you to do that.

Programmatic is nothing but buying of digital advertising space with the help of computers using data to work out which ads to buy and at what price. It’s like buying real estate, only the brokers are machines and not humans, so that reliability is built into the system. A lot of this costing is fixed on a real-time basis (Real-Time Bidding), making it perfectly easy for marketers to track the ROI. Google is one of the key programmatic platforms and it says that it is now fully possible for marketers to analyse the purchase path and understand which audience touch points are most likely to translate into action.

7. Within Content Marketing Video Is Shining

The video marketing B2C has already seen the exponential growth over the last year but even B2B marketers were very actively leveraging this trend. The recent example of PC manufacturer Lenovo’s campaign is a great reminder of the maxim that videos should be produced for your audience and not for your company. Its use of humour and empathy will strike a chord with long-suffering IT manager.

That’s not all, marketers, influencers, are all getting on the video bandwagon even when it comes to personal branding. This is still a growing medium and trust me, it has a lot of wind left.

8. Conversion Rate Optimisation

CRO is how you work on systematically improving the performance of your website. It’s not a product, a tool, or a platform. It’s a process. And it is crucial for any business that has a digital presence. Broadly speaking, it’s crucial for anyone who has a digital presence through a website, be it for a business purpose or otherwise.

Because, conversion refers to any action that you intend your users to take after accessing your content. It could be subscribing to your blog or buying your product. Your conversion rate is the single-most important outcome, or shall we say, the reason for being for your business.

Like they say all roads lead to Rome, they should say all marketing efforts should lead to Conversion. And this is what separates the result-oriented marketer from the one that indulges digital marketing, content marketing as a means of showing a bunch of metrics but without a determined outcome – that of conversion.

In CRO, you consistently measure everything that’s measurable, you make measurable all that you can make measure; you consistently perform conversion testing, either through A/B or multivariate tests; you test… test… and test some more. Until it becomes a hygiene practice. A good, sustained CRO programme should lead you not only to higher profits but also to discovering newer categories of consumers and understanding the existing ones even more closely in order to zero in on their intent.

9. Progressive Web Apps

As the name suggests, these things retain certain core characteristics of web pages / websites, carry a lot of the functionality of apps, and are progressive – agnostic regarding devices, platforms, browsers you use to access them. They bring you the best of both worlds – website & apps.

PWAs are served through HTTPS, shareable through a URL, and are discoverable, like websites. They are engage-able with push notifications, installable like apps, and have a user interface just like apps. And, these can have continuous updates.

For example, the Twitter Lite version of social media platform Twitter is a PWA. It requires less than 3% of the storage space compared to its Android counterpart. The launch of Twitter Lite garnered 65% increase in pages per session, 75% increase in the Tweets sent, and a 20% decrease in bounce rate.

In fact, PWAs are termed as a kind of a ‘User Experience’ (yes, that word again), rather than an entity like a platform or a solution.

2019 will be about better customer experience with AI-first automation, analytics, and hyper-personalisation. It will be about guaranteeing a great User Experience on all fronts.

Here’s a compilation of these 9 Martech trends in this eBook for you to refer to & share with fellow marketers, or shall we say, Martech-ers?

We wish you a great 2019 ahead! 


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