Recently, we entered the seventeenth year of the twenty-first century. If we take a look at the world today and compare it to what we would have found just seventeen years back, we see remarkable changes across the globe, especially in the way emerging technologies has impacted every aspect of our lives. From the rise of social media with its immense power to influence and shape our behaviour, opinions and actions, to the dethroning of desktop computers and the transition to a mobile first world, technological advancements continue to bring about radical shifts in the way we work and live.

Marketing is no exception.

When the world entered the third millennium, social media was still in its infancy1. Salesforce and cloud computing had taken birth just a year back2. Though digital marketing was slightly older3, except for a bit of search and display marketing, the marketing spend in most companies happened in traditional marketing. In the US, spend on digital advertisements in the year 2000 was a mere $ 900 MN – less than 0.5% of the more than $200 BN total ad spend4.

But the last sixteen or so years have been transformative. Sample the following figures. A 2016 Forrester report on US Digital Marketing Landscape found that digital ad spending as percentage of total ad spend rose to 30% in 2016 and this figure is expected to climb to 35% by the year 20195. Even in India, spend on digital ads rose from almost zero in the year 2000 to 12.6% of the total spend in the year 2016 and is expected to reach to 20.2% by the year 20206.

The marketing world is changing fast and some say it is just the beginning. A 2013 Mckinsey article from writers Jacques Bughin, Michael Chui, and James Manyika identified ten pivotal technology trends that would influence businesses in the coming decade – the list included trends like Social Matrix, Big Data, Internet of Things, the Sharing/Renting Economy, AI and Automation, Omnichannel Experiences, Marketplaces etc7. To this list, we can add other transformative trends like Mobile First Economy, On-Demand Economy, P2P Economy, CrowdSourcing, Virtual and Augmented Reality, 3D Printing, Hyperlocal Economy, Distributed Ledgers and Blockchain to name a few that are shaking up markets and business models across the world. Marketers who can keep pace with these stunning changes in the technological landscape and shape their marketing strategies and tactics accordingly are the ones who will help their organizations survive and prosper in the ensuing volatile environment while waves of disruption could swallow the laggards.

So what are some of the ways in which these disruptive technologies are moulding the marketing world in its choice of tactics, strategy and vision – sometimes all three?

Let’s find out in part II of the article by taking a look at the top three technologies having the most impact on marketing: Big Data, Artificial Intelligence & Internet of Things.

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