Another year in martech has passed at a blistering pace—with the discussion of new trends, technologies, and issues consuming our days.
As I look back on 2023, the martech predictions I delivered at the end of 2022 turned out to have mostly come to fruition. In fact, I am going to build on them with a sequel of sorts in this article.
These were my 2023 martech-trend predictions:
- AI for customer experience starts to take off.
- Data governance and security is center stage.
- The Metaverse gains momentum.
My three 2024 martech-trend predictions take each of those areas a step further.
1. Back-to-Front to Widespread AI for the Customer Experience
Last year's predictions included the move of AI from being primarily based in the back office to taking its role in the front office.
In 2023, chatbot experiences improved because of better natural language processing and improved sentiment/text analytics capabilities. Voice and visual recognition tech for the customer experience was much improved as well. Brands even started using more AI-based optimization to improve conversion outcomes.
In 2024, that progress will be taken further. As generative AI and other AI-based technologies continue to evolve and populate the "AI for marketing and customer service" scene, organizations will start to approve the usage and rollout of those technologies.
Expect things like visual and voice recognition-based chatbots, IVRs, point-of-sales terminals, and kiosks. Automation of low-level customer service tasks will continue to occur via the use of technologies like robotic process automation (RPA) and large language models (LLMs).
For some brand-to-consumer interactions, the line between what is human and what is machine will become very blurry.
2. Compliance Issues Will Test Governance
You've heard the saying, "It's going to get worse before it gets better."
In last year's predictions I talked about data deprecation (the first-party cookie demise) and the ways the new use of zero-, first-, and second-party data sources such as data clean rooms, networks, and exchanges were coming online—and how as a result, brands were having to consider and reconsider their data governance, security, and privacy practices.
Well, unfortunately, although some brands met a lot of those data compliance timelines, others haven't and won't.
In 2024, global, country, federal, local, and regional data compliance regulations—from the new EU AI Act to GDPR down to laws like CCPA—will test organizational data governance practices. And, undoubtedly, a handful of organizations will fail the test.
By not implementing responsible marketing practices—that is, using marketing and customer data in a responsible manner—companies will incur mounting fines.
The record of this year will be marked with mounting data compliance missteps and fines.
3. Metaverse Migration
Metaverse as a topic has certainly died down, but not gone away. In fact, in the background, a lot of tech providers and end consumers of metaverse platforms have made some significant moves.
For example, only recently Meta released the progress it has made on "photorealistic avatars." In just 13 months' time, the pixelated avatar has become an avatar that you have to look at twice to realize it isn't a photo.
2024 will mark the year that brands start moving from "collabing" with metaverse providers (Balenciaga and Fortnite, Gucci and Roblox, etc.) to standing up white-labeled metaverse platforms for their consumers.
Of course, those new adjacent environments (not just another channel) will introduce a whole new set of data, analytics, and engagement challenges that we will talk about in next year's predictions, I'm sure!
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