With so much month-to-month and year-to-year change and uncertainty, it’s a well known fact that predictions are never absolute or finite. This is especially true in the world of marketing.
However, trends can be defined and mapped – helping the industry to understand what’s coming up and where they need to be.
Historically, technology trends are grouped into the themes that have emerged within each decade. For Martech, the 2010s, for example, were all about the adoption and implementation of marketing technology for the first time. Then the 2020s were (well, are) all about market consolidation, with organisations migrating to and from different platforms that best suit the changing nature of their businesses.
So, in the seven years leading up to the next decade, what trends should marketers be on the front foot for?
Trend #1: Increased concentration on a smaller number of Martech platforms
Right now there seems to be a mentality of ‘keep upgrading’. Keep adding new platforms, keep integrating new capabilities, keep upgrading your tech stack. The Martech landscape is constantly growing, and, unfortunately, this is driving chaos, confusion and cost for marketers.
Existing Martech stacks are huge and need to shrink. And quickly. It’s time to regroup, reassess, and decide that if you’re going to add a new platform or integration, you should consider taking one away. Martech platforms are being purchased for the sake of specific features rather than the overall suitability use cases that it needs to fulfil. This is reflected in usage statistics, which tell us that only a third of martech platform features are being utilised (a stat which has been declining for the last three years) and is frankly unsustainable.
Over the next seven years, organisations will need to implement processes to stabilise their Martech. It will be all about quality and impact, not quantity. Fewer solutions will meet wider needs, with more concentrated investments.
Trend #2: Mission critical martech
Martech is, of course, integral to the marketing team. But is it mission-critical for the wider business? Does any other department access and benefit from your Martech capabilities?
The 2030s will see Martech being used beyond just marketing use cases. For example, BT’s regulatory and contractual communications are built into a company’s enterprise architecture. It isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.
In the leadup to the next decade, organisations need to assess their existing technology and determine whether it’s siloed to only marketing. If so, you need to research what tech you can embody or buy to move to mission-critical Martech. This brings with it the opportunity to increase budget and improve the visibility and impact of Martech.
Trend #3: The rise of the revenue function
Moreso than right now, revenue will come to the limelight as a key function in the 2030s. It’s a natural extension of the usual sales and marketing alignment, but more than that – it’s about convergence under one goal.
In fact, today’s demand waterfall sees ‘awareness’ at the top and ‘purchase’ at the bottom. However, there will be a trend that moves away from demand generation and moves back towards brand awareness as an essential driver.
In many organisations, the marketing function will sit under a Chief Revenue Officer role, with marketing driving deal velocity and success through Deal Based Marketing. As this happens, outbound sales activity will increasingly look like personalised marketing. We’re already seeing this trend in the market.
Trend #4: Overcome personalisation headwinds
Similar to sales activity becoming more personalised, we also expect to see a desire for 1-2-1 journeys moving towards personalised experiences, too. In fact, already, 86% of marketers want to create more personalised journeys. This will become possible as 1-2-1 journeys move from theory to practice, as data, skills, platforms and ideas finally align.
Unfortunately, the current accessibility of non-marketing data is slowing this. This includes investment data, inventory data, and other wider business data. If you have a data science and analytics team, it’s time to use them. Both marketers and data teams seem to be sitting on the other side of a fence from each other. You’ll thank yourself for reaching out and aligning your efforts.
Trend #5: Embedded AI
It wouldn’t be a trends piece without mention of artificial intelligence. However, this is about productivity gains rather than generating an increasing amount of content.
While marketing is being consolidated, AI Is expanding at a rapid pace. The amount of data and info consumers are handing over is incredible, and marketers need to utilise this data. This links back to Trend #4 (personalisation) too.
However, keep in mind that it’s certain that there will be legislative and compliance changes by 2030. From trademarks and copyright to data privacy and protection, you need to be prepared to pivot as required. You also need to understand how your Martech will be using AI, and to use AI to augment your workflows, processes and capabilities of your team.
The bottom line
The 2030s will be a time of stabilisation, with Martech fully embedded and integrated. But what marketers do right now is important. Use the next seven years to consolidate your Martech, focus on data and personalisation, and keep a revenue mindset.