The Future of Marketing 2017: Part Three

March 15, 2017 Marcus Varner

In a recent webinar, four marketing thought leaders—Mark Schaefer, marketing author and speaker; Ann Handley, chief content officer at MarketingProfs; Ian Cleary, CEO at RazorSocial; and Alex Shootman, CEO at Workfront—shared their visions for the future of marketing in 2017. What follows is the third in a three-part recap of the webinar. If you want to watch the entire webinar on demand, click here.


Ian Cleary: What I’ve started focusing on really is things that are happening at the moment that you need to be aware of and need to pay attention to, rather than things that might happen.

1. The first thing is email versus messenger box.

Mark mentioned earlier on the growth of messenger apps is bigger now than social networks, and that continues to grow. People are spending more time within messenger, like Facebook Messenger, as opposed to being in their email box or in social networks. This is really important, this growth.

I’m a big supporter of email marketing, but this is the first time I’m looking at an alternative for Messenger to be a replacement for email marketing. This tool called Many Chats, what this does is allows you to build thoughts. So basically instead of somebody signing up to your email marketing and getting regular emails, you sign up to Messenger. For people to sign up to Messenger through Facebook, you need to provide a very useful service.

So you provide a service, and then out of that service you generate business as a result of that. The service could be, if you’re an airline, a service for checking flights. So you can go to the app on Facebook, you can put in information about the flight, and you get answers back through this bot. An automatic bot is providing these answers. Or you’re a restaurant and somebody’s looking for availability of the restaurant. You put that into the bot, and then an automatic answer comes back

I think we’re going to be building more and more of these. You can go to Many Chats at the moment now and built a bot for free that you can put onto Facebook, and on your website people can subscribe to it and then you can provide information.

This is an example. This is Mixergy. Mixergy sells courses online so now when you go to their website, you can sign up to their bot and then get the information through Messenger.

I think this is extremely important to look at this and keep an eye on where this is going, because this is actually really, really important. That’s no. 1.

2. Talking about small data instead of big data; we always talk about big data.

But now it’s actually breaking that down and looking at individual behaviors. For marketing, we need to understand people on an individual basis. So over time, we’re getting more and more information from the platforms that allows us to do much better targeting.

I’m going to talk in a minute in terms of offline and online and how that’s going to work in the future. But look at retargeting where retargeting is going. For example, it’s not just going “I want to retarget visitors to my website;” that’s not enough. I want to start retargeting visitors to my website that visited my website two or three times in the last month, that watched 90 percent of a sales video related to a product, and then I want to build a small list and retarget based on that list.

This more advanced retargeting is something to really pay attention to and start focusing on much smaller audiences when we target our marketing. Again, Facebook is doing great work in this area. Look at their targeting. Recently they started introducing engagement retargeting, where I can retarget based on people liking or interacting with content.

Because of all this information, we can start predicting what demand will be in the future by analyzing all this information.

3. Big integration between offline and online.

So Amazon Go recently announced this store where there are no cashiers in the store. You walk in, you check in with your mobile phone. You go around and pick up products off the shelves and walk out, and it’s automatically charged to your account.

When you go and you put your hand up to take a product off the shelf, Amazon recognizes that you’ve taken it off the shelf. Then you either buy it or put it back. Now it’s time to understand in a retail store what you’re doing, as well as online. Because there are going to be more and more advances in this area of this connection between retail offline and retail online. And that’s going to be a huge growth area over the next year.

4. Another trend I see a lot of is a shift from your PC to voice-activated devices.

We see the growth of devices like Amazon Echo in the home, or we see Google Home, another voice activated assistant. And we’re seeing people using their mobile phones for voice queries. In 2016, one in every five queries through an Android mobile phone on Google was voice related. This is growing really quickly.

Mark talked earlier on about conversation marketing; this is like conversation queries. Because we’re not giving queries in terms of keywords; we’re giving full sentences, and we’re giving full sentences to Google now looking for queries. So how we produce our content and how we optimize our content is going to have to change for this conversational marketing and conversational queries through these types of devices.

5. I see big growth in artificial intelligence; that’s going to continue.

This is an example of a company called Chorus who recently raised a lot of money. What they’re doing is analyzing sales conversations real time, and then providing advice during the conversation. So before somebody gets to the end of the conversation, the workflow may change or the path a sales agent goes down may change based on the conversation already happening.

It’s really interesting to see this, and it’s exciting in terms of this level of software that’s coming out. This is going to make a big impact for sales, for example, within this area.

6. Live streaming tech, we know that video is going to increase.

We know that live videos are going to increase. But what’s really interesting is the technology is available to us, we’re not spending thousands and thousands of dollars anymore to get really good technology. Like this camera SOLOSHOT, you could be a few hundred feet away from this camera and it will actually track you when you move.

So for example, imagine if you’re on a surf board and surfing, you’d set this camera up, click "go" on the camera, and it will follow you as you’re surfing back and forth. Now, when you think of it, even if you’re in an office and you want to record some live video just in an office, you could be moving around the office and this camera is following you and tracking you.

This technology is getting cheaper and we’re going to be able to go live much easier, and we won’t need all of the big camera skills, and the camera equipment, and the people behind the camera. We’ll be able to do it ourselves, which is really interesting. This is under $1,000 to buy this sort of camera.

7. I love the way marketing automation is going to go, as well, and how it’s getting smarter and smarter.

As I look at this level of marketing automation, on the left if I’m browsing through this camera, and I’m on the website and I browse through the camera, there’s things out there now that when you’re sending your newsletter, it will dynamically build a product list at the end of your newsletter based on what you were browsing. So it’s detecting what you’re browsing on the website, and then automatically building parts of your newsletter with offers related to those products.

This is great targeting that we talked about, like the retargeting. It’s really understanding what are customers or potential customers engaging in, what are they engaging in, and then automatically building your newsletter based on this.

You could also do things like, for example, if you’re in Facebook browsing and say you subscribe to one of these Messenger bots. And it was a service provider, and you start asking product queries; again you can automatically build a newsletter based on what that conversation was within Messenger. This is advanced marketing automation that’s available now.

8. Productive marketing.

Marketing is so complicated. I remember Scott Brinker, who is a marketing technology guy, had done this report on marketing tools in 2011, and there were 150 tools. In 2016, there were 3,474 tools. Marketing is complicated.

With so many tools and so many tasks involved in it, every company is going to need a project management tool to manage their managing. Something like Workfront is required. And I think more and more companies will have to move in this direction because we have to be more efficient in our marketing and more organized with our marketing.

That was my eight tips and trends of things that are happening now that we need to be made aware of and pay attention to immediately.


To watch the entire "Future of Marketing" webinar on demand, featuring Ann Handley, Ian Cleary, and other thought leaders, click here.

About the Author

Marcus Varner

Marcus is a content strategist and producer who loves helping brands craft content that improves customers' lives, builds brand credibility, and demands to be shared. For the last 10 years, Marcus has worked in every type of content—from writing to video production to design—and is currently a senior content marketing manager at Workfront, where he oversees all corporate- and awareness-level level content. When he's not producing content, he's consuming it, in the form of books, movies, and podcasts.

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