Marketing-technology opportunities for 2017.

What last year’s successes may tell us about this year’s successes.

By Gareth Roberts19th January 2017

It’s a brand new year. A period of marketing plans and strategies. Where marketing teams assess and decide where to allocate budget spend for the next twelve months. To do this with effect requires knowledge of what worked, and what didn’t work the previous twelve months. Maybe more importantly, what showed glimpses of success that may take off during the year ahead.

Customer behaviours and marketing technologies evolve all the time. Which makes predictions difficult. But these five marketing-technology opportunities, based on their impact in 2016, will steer you in the right direction.

Live-streaming a giant puddle.

Around this time in 2016, 20,000 people tuned in to watch locals in Newcastle, England attempt to cross a puddle. Okay, it was a big puddle. Bigger, though, was the mark that Periscope left on the live video industry. Facebook Live followed suit in what was a year that brought live-steaming to a wider audience thanks mostly to social media and mobile.

Customers are taking to mobile in swarms. Faster connection speeds make it even easier to reach these customers with rich content. Which should prompt marketers to consider using more "in the moment" video. Yes, there’ll be implications where advertising will play a part in its development, sustainability and suitability (as it always does). But videos won’t go stale for some time. And you can expect your customers to want to discover your live events this way, this year.

Intelligent apps and Baxter the Bot.

Messaging apps are increasing in popularity. In work and away from work. At Sequence, we use Slack for internal communication between projects. Here we’ve created Baxter, our in-house, artificially intelligent Chatbot. He’s on hand to help with our processes. But if he can help teams, he can also help customers and potential customers, and it doesn’t need to just happen within messaging applications. Apple’s Siri wasn’t.

So look at your business' analytics and data. Here lie the opportunities for increasing engagement and getting the right message to the right person at the right time. In real time. Virtual personal assistants, like Baxter, could be the answer. You could also save money by doing so.

Smart decision-making by means of machines.

As the industries and markets we operate within get more competitive – and will keep doing so in 2017, the need for marketers to be smarter increases. More data means we’re able to further improve the effectiveness of interactions with customers. We can do that like never before with machine learning. Because it can solve problems and identify patterns we can't always see.

In real world situations, this is predicting purchasing across channels, forecasting loyalty, making recommendations as well as identifying future risks. Providers in the travel industry could, for example, introduce dynamic pricing, analyse traffic patterns and congestion to schedule aircrafts or other means of transportation. All decision-making processes can be optimised - to an extent - with clever algorithms in this manner. At a base level, it can tell you what’s not working with your marketing campaigns. Which by itself, isn’t a bad thing.

Pokémon GO: Augmented reality goes mainstream.

By August 8th, Google Play recorded 100 million downloads of Pokémon GO. At its peak, it also made $10 million (dollars) in daily revenues. What’s interesting is that it was a game far from polished - bugs were in abundance. But that wouldn’t stop it. Players got a taste of Augmented Reality, and players loved it.

Be it games, apps or even ads, there’s no doubt that AR will appear more prominently this year. In what capacity is anyone’s guess, of course. People may not want their days completely digitalised by robotic environments, but people are more than happy to integrate technology within their daily activities. Thinking this way about engaging with customers - and how to - is a good start.

Immersive is providing new content experiences.

Immersive experiences have been around for some time. With 360-degree videos and Virtual Reality taking us closer to creating digital experiences like those in the real world. This is technology in its infancy. So there’s much more to come in terms of what they can offer brands and their customers.

The signs, once again, are that people want to feel like they’re living in the moment. They want content via different means and methods. BBC’s highly anticipated Planet Earth 2 aired in December, and alongside it a series of 360-degree behind the scenes videos. Just like the TV series, they proved immensely popular. Can you offer something where people can interact with you, and feel part of something bigger?

So however unusual, new marketing technologies can be used to great effect to bring customers closer to brands, their products and their services. But the successes and failures will also depend on those varying factors. Either way, these five successes from last year are good indicators of what may resonate with users.