Exploring futuristic technological trends in marketing (Blockchain, VR/AR, and more!)
The world is rapidly changing, and every technological move we make shapes the future in a whole new way.
Like every other industry, marketing cannot escape the winds of technological advancement as we have already seen in the past, which makes it important to ask, what is the future of marketing technology?
This article will discuss the relationship between marketing and tech, emerging technologies expected to change marketing in this decade, and some more exciting, and futuristic stuff.
Let’s get right into it!
The Relationship Between Marketing and Tech
Technology has become the bedrock of modern-day marketing, the love story between tech and marketing has been growing stronger and stronger since the last decade.
Fundamentally, the relationship between marketing and tech has existed to make a marketer’s life easier and marketing processes more seamless.
The marriage between these two fields has given birth to the digitalization of marketing.
Digital marketing is the use of digital technology to carry out marketing functions.
According to Wikipedia, digital marketing is the component of marketing that utilizes the internet and online-based digital technologies such as computers, mobile phones, and other digital media and platforms to promote products and services
Digital marketing has been widely successful in the last decade with global digital marketing spend forecasted to reach $308 billion by the end of 2020.
Gartner’s CMO spend survey report shows that CMOs remain bullish on technology, and technology accounts for the largest percentage of marketing budgets at 26.2%.
The Gartner research also shows that marketers use only 58% of their existing technology capabilities, which means that there’s more to do with technology in the marketing sector.
In this decade, with the advancement of technology, more brands will look to raise the bar and expand the horizon from traditional digital marketing to how emerging tech can be used to disrupt the marketing landscape — and this can potentially change digital marketing as we know it.
Emerging Technological Trends in Marketing
The advancement of technology introduces us to new and exciting developments that can potentially disrupt industries.
Several emerging tech trends can change how marketing is carried out, this is not just exciting for marketing technologists but also for their target audience who deserve to be introduced to brand new experiences.
Here are emerging tech trends that can change marketing in this decade;
Blockchain is the underlying technology that powers cryptocurrencies but it doesn’t just stop at revolutionizing finance, blockchain has several use cases that extend to disrupting other industries including marketing.
Before we jump into how blockchain can shift the marketing landscape, let’s discuss blockchain at its core.
Blockchain is a publicly distributed network of computers that collaborate to maintain a shared secure database.
Think of blockchain as a ledger with its pages chained together, whenever an entry is entered on one page, it also has to be entered on every other page, and before any entry is made all the pages have to agree.
Now each computer in the network or page in the ledger is called a node, and each node or page has a copy of the database (cryptographic hash) from the last node or page.
This technology makes the blockchain system difficult to manipulate or alter, unlike regular centralized databases, new information can only be added on a distributed consensus.
Blockchain is characterized by:
- Immutability: Data on the blockchain cannot be changed or altered
- Security: Data in each block is cryptographically encoded and the blocks are all chained together on a peer-to-peer network, making the blockchain almost impossible to hack.
- Anonymity: Transactions on a blockchain can be verified, but the users’ identity remains anonymous, only represented by a generated address.
- Decentralization: Its distributed ledger technology (DLT) allows peers in the network to share control without having a central data storage system.
- Transparency: Transactions on a blockchain are easily verifiable as data on the blockchain can be verified with a public address.
In marketing, blockchain technology can change the way trust is perceived.
Every marketer understands that trust has become a vital social currency in the digital age, and people will only do business with people they trust.
Blockchain enhances the trust between marketers and their target audience, by creating a transparent environment where one party doesn’t feel exploited.
Here are a few ways blockchain technology can revolutionize marketing:
• Data Privacy
Blockchain technology perfectly gives the problem of data privacy in marketing a solution. With blockchain technology, data is cryptographically encrypted, giving individuals control of their own data and authorizing who can have access to that data.
- Bullseye Targeting
Blockchain technology will give marketers the power to interact with their audience on a peer-to-peer network, this can enable businesses to accurately target their audience.
A decentralized ledger technology solves the problem of middlemen, brands can cut out middlemen completely with blockchain technology and interact with their audience directly.
This means brands will no longer have to rely on app stores, they can create decentralized applications (Dapps), brands will also no longer have to renew domain hosting every year — decentralized web hosting services like Unstoppable Domains only require a one-time fee, and your domain can be stored in your crypto wallet.
- AD Fraud
According to a survey by Invesp, digital ad fraud takes $1 for every $3 spent on digital ads, and online advertisers were estimated to lose $7.2 billion globally in 2016.
Another survey by Statista shows that in 2020, advertising fraud inflicted economic losses of 35 billion U.S. dollars worldwide.
Blockchain technology solves the problem of AD fraud in marketing as it fosters transparency.
Advertisers can be able to verify who saw their ads and increase the accuracy of their targeting.
The decentralized nature of blockchain also means cutting out middlemen and getting ads shown directly to your target audience.
Drone Light Shows
Drone light shows are increasingly becoming popular in this decade, especially in Asia.
This emerging trend in the marketing landscape can potentially change how guerilla marketing is done.
Guerilla marketing is usually carried out using unconventional methods to boost brand awareness and increase sales.
In this decade where CMOs are actively seeking new ways to get the attention of their target audience to increase word of mouth, drone light shows could be the answer.
In 2017, Intel used 500 shooting star drones to dazzle the crowd during Lady Gaga’s Superbowl performance but since then brands have taken that move steps further.
In April 2021, luxury car brand Genesis broke the world record for the number of drones used in a single drone light show.
Genesis sent 3,281 drones to light up Shanghai's International Cruise Terminal’s night sky.
With the company’s entry into the Chinese market, it needed to do something unconventional to spread brand awareness and promote sales — what’s more unconventional than thousands of light drones in the sky?
Also in April, Chinese entertainment company BiliBili put up about 1,500 drones in the Shanghai skies to celebrate the first anniversary of a Japanese video game’s launch in China.
The amazing drone show brought the characters of the game “Princess Connect! Re: Dive” to life and narrated how the game worked.
Bilibili took the show up a notch when it introduced something no other drone show has done before, the drones formed a giant scannable QR code in the sky, prompting viewers to scan and install the game on their smartphones.
This trend just exhibits how technology can change how guerilla marketing can be done.
The adoption of drone shows by brands in different countries of the world can foster the mainstream adoption of this technology as a method of doing guerilla marketing, this could even potentially change how billboards are used.
Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality
According to Investopedia, Virtual reality (VR) refers to a computer-generated simulation in which a person can interact within an artificial three-dimensional environment using electronic devices, such as special goggles with a screen or gloves fitted with sensors.
Augmented reality, on the other hand, is an immersive digital experience in which digital objects are placed on top of real-world objects, think about Snapchat filters.
VR unlike AR creates a simulated artificial environment, for users to have almost realistic experiences through the use of technology.
Virtual reality and augmented reality have many use cases, but we are particularly interested in the marketing use case of these technologies.
Virtual reality marketing has been on the rise since the late 2010s but will be adopted even more into the marketing strategy of brands in this decade.
Some brands are already actively infusing these technologies into their marketing strategies.
Shoe brand TOMS, which is known for its charity works, recently adopted virtual reality marketing into their strategy — the company let users who come into its stores use VR headsets to experience its charity initiatives.
Customers who visited their retail stores experienced the TOMS Virtual Giving Trip — giving out shoes to underprivileged kids in Peru, this created unique first-hand experiences for their customers.
This is a perfect example of what brands can accomplish with virtual reality and what is possible in delivering emotional connections and empathy to their customers.
Luxury brand Gucci, also recently started using this unique AR technology in their marketing, Gucci lets users of their app point the camera at their feet and see how different styles of their sneaker would look.
The app tracks movement, so they can see the shoes from multiple angles — this reduces the need for customers to return products after purchase.
Furniture brand, IKEA has also adopted augmented reality marketing by allowing their customers to use their app to see how furniture would fit into their space before buying — adopting this technology has positively affected the user experience for their customers.
This decade is ushering in the rise of Virtual Reality platforms, if you have ever seen the movie Ready Player One then you should be excited.
This means marketing can be done in the real world and virtual worlds, shifting the entire marketing paradigm as we know it.
Fundamentally, as virtual reality continues to evolve in the future, marketers will find a way to leverage this technology to get their audience’s attention with unconventional technological methods, perhaps via virtual billboards or even interactive avatars.
According to the father of AI, Professor John McCarthy — AI is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs. It is related to the similar task of using computers to understand human intelligence.
Artificial intelligence was a futuristic thought in our heads, fueled by sci-fi movies, but today AI is revolutionizing industries and being integrated into different areas of our life.
A study by Statista shows that global AI market revenues are expected to grow from 7.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2018 to 89.85 billion in 2025 — this means we are living in the decade of the rise of AI.
AI marketing uses machine learning algorithms to automate processes based on data collected and analyzed to create tailored experiences for customers.
Artificial intelligence marketing has been on the rise since the last decade and in this decade we will see more brands adopt this technology in their strategy as CMOs aim to make marketing processes more seamless.
AI in marketing has been successfully used to automate processes in email marketing, social media marketing, allowing marketers to ramp things up and take away the stress of manual decision making.
In this decade, with the proliferation of artificial intelligence in marketing, we will see more of the technology used in the following ways;
A chatbot (chat robot) is an AI-based computer program that simulates human conversation, via voice or text communication using natural language processing to convert the text or speech inputs of the user into structured data, the data is further used to choose a relevant answer.
In the 2020s, more brands will implement chatbots into their strategy to deal with customer requests and provide instant answers at any time of the day to reduce the workload for marketers or customer service teams and provide a quicker response to customers.
- Content Automation
Content automation is the use of artificial intelligence technology to automate manual processes in content marketing.
AI improves the productivity of marketing teams and allows them to focus their attention on processes that need human touch while AI-powered content marketing software takes care of the rest.
AI-powered content automation software helps content marketing teams to identify topics to write about, generate content, proofread, and even updates content.
- Understanding Consumer Behavior
The proliferation of Artificial intelligence in marketing will allow marketers to predict the behavior patterns of their audience with greater efficiency and accuracy.
Understanding the behavior of customers in each stage of the buyer’s journey is crucial for marketing teams, and with AI and machine learning algorithms implemented in marketing strategies, marketing teams can understand their audiences better.
Technology is changing everything, brands in every sector have to remain flexible in order to adapt to the swift advancement in this decade and beyond.
In marketing, emerging technologies is every marketer’s dream, because it takes the efficiency of your marketing efforts to the next level.
We have established that blockchain technology will help marketers create trusted relationships with their audiences without a middle man.
While drone light shows are revolutionizing how brands capture the ever-decreasing attention spans of their audience, with futuristic guerrilla marketing techniques.
We have also established that the use of Virtual reality and augmented reality technology in marketing brings customers closer to brand initiatives and changes shopping experiences for consumers.
Artificial intelligence is making marketing smarter with machine learning and natural language processing algorithms analyzing and processing data quicker than the average human mind to make marketing processes super seamless.
Ultimately, technology is the present and the future and it will continue to transform industries globally.
This decade is the future we talked about in the past — get ready for mind-blowing, next-level technologies that can change our industries forever.
This article was written by TK Princewill. TK is a freelance tech writer who writes at the intersection of marketing, the creator economy and emerging technologies. When he isn't writing or thinking, he is building a community of blockchain enthusiasts.