2018 Predictions: Moore Stephens

Damian Ryan, partner at Moore Stephens shares his top 10 martech sectors and technologies to look out for in 2018.

The marketing technology (martech) industry has grown rapidly in recent years. In a recent report, developed in conjunction with WARC, Moore Stephens established the size of the martech market at £34bn. Driven by a wealth of consumer data and the real time nature of marketing and consumer purchase decision-making, martech tools have been developed to help marketers optimise and automate the delivery of their marketing messages at scale. So here are my picks for the sectors and technologies that look like winning out in 2018.

Data as a Service players providing understandable, compliant and intelligent data to fuel engagement with consumers. There’s so much talk about AI and ‘big data’ but in practical terms, relating this to ROI and investment into true data science is absolutely the way forward in 2018.

Companies that can demonstrate revenue in specialist niches of the VR B2B space. While VR (and AR) have been around for a very long time, witnessing the games sector driving the use of VR is surely going to mean more immersive experiences on the horizon for players in the B2B market too. Devices are dropping in price; technology is allowing for faster production cycles; and educators are getting on board.

Agencies and service providers supporting the harmonious collision of people, data and devices through measurably rewarding experiences. It’s been said for some time that advertising is dead and only CX will be required. I’m not so sure about that, but I think what’s really important in the digital world is that the responsibility for and ownership of CX is placed firmly into the laps of individuals who understand marketing and not just IT.

Everything seems to have some suggestion or element of AI these days. Is it really AI? Do we even care what it’s called? If we’re talking about a circular exchange among machines, data and other machines with no human interference, this is probably AI.

Product placement
A very slow burner, but perhaps now is the time when companies who can help brands align with content in a non-intrusive manner either via vloggers, bloggers or good old-fashioned telly, will come to the fore.

Not just fake news but all manner of digitally-delivered content is set to grow in 2018. We like native and other content that can ‘learn’ from user habits. Personalisation is also hot and has been for some time. The whole area really hovers around the swing towards customer experience.

Managing the messaging mire
WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram – we’re watching companies that are helping to create order and invitational style promotions across the messaging market.

Driving offline and online together
It’s not just about attribution – that’s what the CFO is focused on. We’re interested in businesses that can demonstrate greater customer and brand experience through clever integration of the two worlds. We’ve all seen the ad on YouTube mysteriously popping up while we see the same ad on the TV…but it goes much further than media. Being able to link mobile with location, and preferences and customer history and instantly tailor this to in-store and online experience is surely inevitable.

Quality content
I think this should really be called ‘quality experience’ but, as brands and media owners fight to generate cut-through, they owe it to the valuable customer to present news and content in a far more engaging and immersive manner (irrespective of device). This does not mean a new shape of banner ad! Here we could be talking about haptics, video, instant engagement and sharable experiences. Brands are realising that it’s not just about value for money…it’s about value for time too.

Companies that can help consumers understand and monetise the value of their data. If I have to slip blockchain in anywhere it is here. Whether or not the web will ever be trusted as the right channel for this opportunity remains to be seen. The decentralised nature of blockchain is certainly a step in right direction, but to guarantee real adoption from consumers, I believe this has to be through channels which are insulated from the web.