Artificial intelligence (AI), customer data platforms (CDPs), blockchain and real-time marketing are four technologies Gartner predicts will have the capability to transform how marketers run their technology ecosystems.

Gartner has released its 2019 hype cycle and digital marketing and advertising, which plots 28 technologies on four stages of maturity.

The analysts have selected four technologies which have the capability to transform the martech landscape and, ultimately, how marketers deliver meaningful customer experiences.

“Event-triggered and real-time marketing will have the biggest impact on marketing activities in the next five years. However, before marketers can realise the benefits of these technologies, they must first become proficient in predictive analytics and delivering personalised communications,” said Mike McGuire, a vice president analyst in Gartner’s Marketing practice.

Customer data platforms

According to Gartner, marketers’ expectations for CDPs remain at an all-time high, but the reported use of the technology differs from the advertised capabilities. Half of enterprise marketers surveyed by Gartner who have deployed a CDP say it’s their CRM system, which indicates a misperception of its purpose and unique differentiators.

However, CDPs movement through the Hype Cycle has slowed due to mounting confusion on the saturation and variety of vendors, and feature overlap with similar technologies.

Attempts to differentiate based on auxiliary features — such as customer journey design and optimisation, rule-based attribution, final-mile campaign execution, and website personalisation — highlight redundancy with other, more mature marketing technologies.

AI for Marketing

In its two years on the Hype Cycle, AI for marketing has quickly risen to the Peak of Inflated Expectations. The analysts note AI continues to be the buzzword used to describe a host of features to augment the functions performed by marketers — from automated content tagging to real-time personalisation.

AI is set to be transformational over the next 20 years, driving pervasive shifts across the marketing technology ecosystem, effectively transforming the marketing practice, Gartner says.

Blockchain for Advertising

Blockchain for advertising holds tremendous promise for marketers. However, significant challenges with scalability, performance and adoption must be overcome before blockchain can alter the status quo. Dozens of companies have launched experimental blockchain platforms for advertising, but none have been able to demonstrate ongoing viability.

Gartner notes that despite the skepticism, the technology is gaining momentum through support from organisations such as the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and emerging innovations from technology companies such as IBM, Comcast and Amazon, which are working with industry leaders on the buy and sell side of media.

Real-time marketing

Leading brands — in travel and hospitality, financial services and insurance — are combining behavioural analytics and marketing automation to serve up the right offer or message at the right time based on specific customer behaviours. To date, most real-time marketing use cases focus on demand generation, advertising, promotion, sales and service.

However, Gartner argues many multichannel marketers still struggle for relevance in core customer engagement moments and lack a clear business case for real-time engagement.

Gartner’s 2019 Multichannel Marketing Survey showed that less than half of respondents (44 per cent) use predictive modeling or rigorous testing to determine if a real-time response is warranted when designing event-triggered marketing. To close the gap, marketers must look to revamp processes and make greater use of marketing technologies for customer data gathering, analysis and activation.

In addition, Gartner guides marketers to continue to monitor and be aware of other technologies such as conversational marketing and multitouch attribution, which are high impact and moving forward.

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