Hype, by definition should make us all a little wary. Gartner Hype Cycles are designed to help sift, sort and qualify hype and manage our attraction to all those bright shiny marketing objects. The ultimate aim is to support decisions on where your valuable attention and marketing resources should be directed.
For 2016, Gartner combined the Digital Marketing and Advertising Hype Cycles into a single report responding to a more integrated marketing approach and the need for a more complete, single view of the technologies and practices shaping modern marketing.
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There are 40 specific technology profiles featured within the report, each and every one worthy of your focused attention. In the interest of a more summarized view, I’m offering a wider perspective and looking at some of the meta-trends emerging from the report.
- Design your customer base – The ultimate embodiment of “Begin with the end in mind.” savvy organizations start with a detailed, data-driven understanding of what types of customers will provide the most business value, now and in the future, and use that information to design strategies to attract and retain those target customers. This idea of optimal customer modeling as the foundation of marketing can provide radical clarity and streamline decisions on strategy and resource prioritization.
- Know me, or else – Customers expect you to know their preferences and context and failing to do so may have a very direct business impact. This customer knowledge expands beyond just intelligent use of data, incorporating expectations around location and proximity factored into messaging, offers and overall communication strategy.
- No time like real time – Related to the above, all this laser-targeted interaction and communication is expected to take place in real-time, or even predicted ahead of time. Consumers have set the bar high in terms of what they expect, and how quickly they expect it.
- Mobile is mainstream – Most consumers own smartphones and providing an effective, relevant mobile experience is table stakes. Yes, you can still differentiate by having a better experience than others but mobile is now an innate marketing element. Mobile analytics, mobile commerce, beacons, AR and other mobile technologies are all part of the emerging mobile story.
- The machines are coming – but Skynet is still a ways off. General purpose machine intelligence, virtual personal assistants and other technologies leveraging artificial intelligence are real and will increasingly play a role in the life of modern marketers. For the moment these types of technologies will take on repetitive tasks that lend themselves more easily to automation. As the technologies improve the potential applications will expand and play a larger marketing role.
- Talk to the hand – You will be blocked! Ad blocking and advertising technologies are locked in an arms race as advertisers strive to assure they can continue to target and deliver based on increasingly discerning requirements while consumers work to protect their privacy and minimize advertiser invasion of their digital experiences. Ad blocking has very different implications across the spectrum of consumers, but it is a real, and potentially disruptive factor.
- The measurement mandate – Increasing business pressures and vendor promises of a quantified marketing utopia converge to create very high expectations for marketing leaders to meet around marketing performance measurement. Being data-driven as the foundation for any marketing activity and effectively capturing and optimizing performance is simply expected. As the scope of marketer responsibility continues to expand the expectations around measurement will expand accordingly.
The Gartner Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing and Advertising, 2016 (subscription required) should be required reading for every marketing leader. Embrace the era of the empowered consumer, leverage data wherever you can and be thinking ahead about integrating the incredible tools and technologies coming down the road.